A lot of interesting stuff has happened in February starting with the most important one.
NVIDIA contributes to Nouveau once more
Despite the status update report being published which mentions not only some new features which Nouveau received, it also appears that less and less people work on it but then, out of nowhere NVIDIA has stepped in and provided the following contributions to this project
NVIDIA Format Modifiers - Provide better performance in compressed layers. Will be available in the upcoming Linux kernel 5.7
Signed firmwares for GeForce 16 series (1600 and 1650 series)
While this is surprising nice approach it still lacks a specific firmware to deal with poor performance from GTX 900 series to newer and we have yet to receive an open source Vulkan driver which Nouveau still lacks.
Mesa 20.0 has been released + 20.1 work has begun
As stated in the title, Mesa 20.0 has been released which provides the following new features:
Owners of Intel's Broadwell line of CPUs or newer will use the new Gallium3D driver codenamed Iris by default, providing better performance and take advantage of Gallium3D features such as the GalliumHUD or even Gallium3D Nine for use with Wine for a native DIrect3D 9 support (Requires Wine Nine Config) compared to the old i965 driver which is still used for older Intel iGPUs. Additionally Mesa 20.0 now supports Intel's Jasper Lake line of CPUs as well.
Owners of AMD graphics card based on GCN 1.0/1.1 architecture can take advantage of Valve's shader compiler made specifically for AMD called ACO, reducing the shader compiling time (which in turn minimizes stuttering) and provide more FPS as a bonus. Speaking of ACO, it supports even more shaders and some improvements leaving only Tesselation shaders and OpenGL support for last.
AMD's Gallium3D driver, RadeonSI, now supports OpenGL 4.6 due to the NIR being enabled and used by default and now uses the "live shader cache" to reduce the stuttering when compiling shaders in OpenGL games.
The recently added Next-Gen Geometry added by AMD for Navi GPUs has been re-enabled. Previously was disabled due to the issues popping up that were difficult to fix.
As of this release, the work on 20.1 version has begun and it's expected to receive a stable release in May 2020. So far these are the new features that has been presented:
Shader Disk Cache support for Nouveau, to improve loading times in games when using NVIDIA GPUs with the open source driver
NIR support + OpenGL 4.6 support for R600 Gallium3D driver used by AMD HD 2000 series to HD 6000 series.
Disabling (and perhaps removal) of SISched support, as Valve's ACO already beaten it. Used as a shader compiler for OpenGL and Vulkan games.
Performance improvements by Valve for GCN 1.0/1.1 based graphics cards.
AMD's GPU Profiler and SQ Thread Trace support for RadV (Open source Vulkan driver for AMDGPU) made possible by Valve. Normally these features were used by AMD in their own drivers, especially in their own open source Vulkan driver codenamed AMDVLK.
Smaller size for RadeonSI, but even more performance improvements in combination with two compiling options which are LTO and PGO, as mentioned here.
Speculation: OpenGL 3.0 support in Zink, an OpenGL To Vulkan driver.
Some oopsies have happenned
It seems that Windows games that ran through Proton started to count as Windows sale instead of the Linux one for some time until a game developer noticed this, luckily this has been reported to Valve and turns out that despite the system of it works, the filtering did not.
But now time to mention some major issue that is going on. As of the release of Linux kernel 5.5, it turns out that it missed some of the critical patches for Intel Graphics Driver which led to system freezes and other serious issues. Hopefully the point releases included them.
- Besides the release of Godot Engine 4.0 happening in mid 2020, the developers announced that it will include Wayland support along with EGL support, which for latter's case will greatly help for Raspberry Pi devices.
- Wine has reached 5.3 release
- Proton reached 5.0 release
- DXVK received 1.5.5 release which only includes bugfixes. New major release will happen once all the regressions have been fixed.