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in “ Tech news in brief“, 
May 12, 2022.

Nvidia frees its Linux drivers

Nvidia A100 Tensor Core GPU.

A100 Tensor Core GPU. © Nvidia.

Nvidia announced that it will make Linux drivers for its graphics cards freely available under the GPL/MIT license. The source for version R515 can now be found in the NVIDIA Open GPU Kernel Modules repo on GitHub. However, Nvidia does not currently release parts of the driver that run in user space. This includes drivers for OpenGL, Vulkan, OpenCL and CUDA, which are still closed source, in addition to firmware for the GPU System Processor (GSP). There doesn’t seem to be any immediate plan to release open source versions, as the company says these drivers “will remain closed source and published with pre-built binaries.”

Nvidia claims the code is currently production-ready for data center GPUs in the Turing and Ampere families, following the gradual rollout of the GSP driver architecture over the past year. Clearly one of Nvidia’s main goals with these drivers is to improve support and functionality for supercomputers and large data centers. Most large supercomputers run some version of Linux and having closed-source drivers probably doesn’t sit well with those responsible for those installations.

Ars Technica, Andrew Cunningham, “Nvidia takes first step toward open source Linux GPU drivers.”

Tom’s Hardware, Ian Evenden, “Nvidia open-sources Linux drivers.”


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