You don't need to rub your eyes. Or yes, rub them if you want, but the news is real and it is the first thing some of us have seen when we woke up today: NVIDIA has made its Linux drivers open source. To explain it well and speak properly, what they have done is to release the modules for the kernel GPU in an open source version, and these will support the data centers of the GPUs and user cards.
These modules will be under a dual GPL/MIT license, which doesn't sound bad at all. Just yesterday they released Fedora 36, and among its novelties we mentioned that Wayland would be used by default when using NVIDIA drivers. We also discussed that Canonical backed out at the last minute for Ubuntu 22.04, which made one thing clear: not everything was perfect, but it seems that everything will change in the medium term.
What this from NVIDIA means for Linux users
Anyone who moves in different Linux communities will know that something is up with NVIDIA. In those of Arch Linux they even recommend that their drivers not be used, directly. However, nothing is usually read about other GPUs, such as Intel. Now that the modules are open source the interaction between the kernel and the driver will be improved.
Between the First to apply the changes will be Canonical and SUSE, and maybe they backtracked on Ubuntu 22.04 plans because they knew something. The ones who are going to notice the change the most are gamers or developers who have an NVIDIA graphics card. The company explains:
Developers can trace across code paths and see how the kernel event schedule is interacting with their workload for faster root cause debugging. Additionally, enterprise software developers can now seamlessly integrate the driver into the custom Linux kernel configured for their project.
This will help improve the quality and security of NVIDIA GPU drivers with input and reviews from the Linux end-user community.
The first version of these modules is R515, a driver that has been released as part of the CUDA Toolkit 11.7. In the future, and more so considering that the community has access to the code, we can only expect good news, and we hope that from now on we can use NVIDIA drivers on computers with compatible hardware without fear of something crashing .
More information, in official company note.