Linux users have long had a love-hate relationship with Nvidia. On the one hand, Nvidia’s proprietary graphics drivers have always been the best-performing ones for Linux gaming. On the other hand, Nvidia has been so hostile to the open-source community that Linus Torvalds literally gave it the middle finger a few years ago. Torvalds also called them “the single worst company” the Linux developer community has ever had to deal with.
To the dismay of linux die hards, the Linux 3.19 kernel only has basic support for the new Nvidia Maxwell GPUs. This includes only the basic mode-setting without hardware acceleration (Phoronix via Fudzilla) in Nouveau. Just in case you don’t already know, Nouveau is the beloved reverse-engineered, open source driver used by the Nvidia-Linux community as an alternative to the proprietary linux driver.
The NVIDIA 349 driver series has been stabilized today for Solaris, FreeBSD, and Linux with the debut of the NVIDIA 349.16 update.
It looks like AMD might finally be close to publishing the code to their new AMDGPU kernel driver that's key to their new unified Linux driver strategy where their open-source stack and Catalyst share a common, open-source kernel driver.
The Linux community's on-again, off-again relationship with Nvidia appears to have soured once more, amid reports that the GPU maker is back to its old tricks – and worse – when it comes to open source hardware drivers.
Nvidia does release Linux drivers for its graphics cards, but they are proprietary and ship in binary-only format, which is unacceptable for many Linux enthusiasts.
The benchmarks in this article are looking at the EXT4 / Btrfs / XFS / F2FS file-systems under the Linux 4.0 Git kernel as well as the Linux 3.19.0 stable kernel. These four file-systems were tested on a 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 solid-state drive. The stock mount options for each file-system on Linux 3.19/4.0 were used during testing.
Simply put, there is no actual official NVIDIA support for Optimus technology for Linux. Or at least, not completely. Until recently, there was none at all. As of 2013, NVIDIA did start to provide initial support for Optimus, but it is extremely barebones and arguably doesn't actually properly implement the Optimus features as it's meant to be.
But let's look at the current options for running an NVIDIA Optimus-enabled computer with Linux...
It's been a while since last running any Linux file-system tests on a hard drive considering all of the test systems around here are using solid-state storage and only a few systems commissioned in the Linux benchmarking test farm are using hard drives, but with Linux 4.0 around the corner, here's a six-way file-system comparison on Linux 4.0 with a HDD using EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, and even NTFS, NILFS2, and ReiserFS.