The first week of the Linux 6.7 merge window began with the surprise of the Bcachefs file-system being merged and now capping off the first week is another surprise… Nouveau GPU System Processor (GSP) firmware integration that allows making use of NVIDIA’s binary GSP firmware on RTX 20 “Turing” and newer GPUs for having improved support. In turn this GSP route also provides initial support for GeForce RTX 40 series support.
The main DRM pull request this week brought stable Intel Meteor Lake graphics and preparations for next-gen AMD graphics hardware. As a secondary pull request was the initial Nouveau GSP support. Back in September Ben Skeggs who was the longtime Nouveau DRM maintainer at Red Hat posted the Nouveau GSP patches that also provided the initial RTX 40 Ada GPU support. Following that achievement though, Skeggs stepped down from his Nouveau activities.
David Airlie helped usher the Nouveau GSP support over the finish line and was merged overnight:
“This adds the initial support for the NVIDIA GSP firmware to nouveau.
This firmware is a new direction for Turing+ GPUs, and is only enabled by default on Ada generation. Other generations need to use
The GSP firmware takes nearly all the GPU init and power management tasks onto a risc-v CPU on the GPU.
This series is mostly the work from Ben Skeggs, and Dave added some patches to rebase it to the latest firmware release which is where we will stay for as long as possible as the firmwares have no ABI stability”
With the NVIDIA GSP firmware taking over GPU initialization and power management, it should mean easier bring-up of future NVIDIA GPU generations. Crucially it should help improve the power management / re-clocking support for Nouveau that hasn’t had good support since the GeForce GTX 700 days… Still though don’t expect Nouveau to suddenly become performant to the proprietary driver.
The downside though is that this GSP firmware is more closed-source blobs from NVIDIA needing to run on this open-source driver. Making matters even worse is that the GSP firmware has no ABI stability with for example the current NVIDIA driver code submitted for Linux 6.7 being what’s compatible with the firmware distributed as part of the NVIDIA R535 series driver package.
In any event this is the first major step forward for the Nouveau DRM kernel driver in several years for improving the more recent NVIDIA GPU support on this open-source driver.