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What kind of special functions are used such that the open source AMD or Nvidia drivers don't work for any GPU miners?

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GPU miners use the GPU programming framework, which is usually proprietary (like CUDA for Nvidia cards).

Therefore to use the GPU programming capabilities with the open source drivers (probably with the OpenCL framework), the people working on the drivers have to reverse engineer how the card works internally. And so far the open source drivers' support for OpenCL is too immature/slow to be usable for GPU mining.

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