The nouveau project aims to build high-quality, free/libre software drivers for nVidia cards. “Nouveau” [nuvo] is the French word for “new”.

This project is run by the X.Org Foundation and freedesktop.org was initially based on the obfuscated 2D-only free and open-source "nv" driver.

Most development talk occurs in the #nouveau IRC channel on freenode.

The Nouveau driver suite consists of three major parts: the kernel modules (DRM), the X driver (DDX), and the 3D driver (in Mesa, optional). In addition, libdrm with Nouveau support is required. You can find all these in Source page.

Current Status

Quick overview:

  • KernelModeSetting (KMS) is mandatory
  • Suspend and resume is working for many chips
  • 2D support is in very good shape with EXA acceleration, Xv and Randr12 (dual-head, rotations, etc.). To understand how multiple monitors work in X, see MultiMonitorDesktop.
  • For some Fermi cards, like the NVD9, check the firmware status as it is required for acceleration.
  • Some 3D acceleration exists. Read MesaDrivers carefully. Nvidia Optimus support is not implemented yet, you may not be able to use the Nvidia GPU at all on Optimus laptops.

See the status matrix for functionality supported on each chipset.

Each card specific status here (very incomplete)

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