Linux Hardware Reviews, Open-Source Benchmarks & Linux Performance


Intel Clears Up Microcode Licensing Controversy - Simpler License, Allows Benchmarking

Over the past day online there has been lots of controversy following some high-profile sites reporting about Intel's "un-friendly microcode license update" and its "ban on benchmarking", among other catch phrases. It's now been officially cleared up by Intel with a simpler license that doesn't forbid benchmarking, allows distribution vendors to re-distributed these binary files to their users, and doesn't have any other nastiness integrated into the legal text.

3 Hours Ago - Intel - All Good
FreeBSD & DragonFlyBSD Put Up A Strong Fight On AMD's Threadripper 2990WX, Benchmarks Against Linux

The past two weeks I have been delivering a great deal of AMD Threadripper 2990WX benchmarks on Linux as well as some against Windows and Windows Server. But recently I got around to trying out some of the BSD operating systems on this 32-core / 64-thread processor to see how they would run and to see whether they would have similar scaling issues or not like we've seen on the Windows side against Linux. In this article are FreeBSD and DragonFlyBSD benchmarks with the X399 + 2990WX compared to a few Linux distributions.

11 Hours Ago - Operating Systems
DragonFlyBSD Gets Performance Tuning For Threadripper 2990WX Topology, Scheduler Tuning

While it was just days ago that DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon got his hands on a Threadripper 2990WX 32-core / 64-thread "beast", got it working under this long ago forked operating system from FreeBSD, and proceeded to exclaim with joy how powerful this system is, he's now made it even better. Dillon has landed some additional kernel work to benefit the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX.

14 Hours Ago - BSD - DragonFly BSD
UBIFS & OverlayFS Updates Hit The Linux 4.19 Kernel

For the Linux 4.19 kernel there's been a lot of F2FS performance enhancements and more, the new EROFS file-system, low-level Btrfs improvements, and more. Some of the file-system work less in the spotlight are the OverlayFS and UBIFS updates sent in this week.

14 Hours Ago - Linux Storage - More File-Systems
NVIDIA 396.54 Linux Driver Offers Big Performance Boost For Frequent Gamers

Yesterday NVIDIA released the 396.54 Linux driver update and while from being another point release might feel like a mundane update hot on the heels of the GeForce RTX 2070/2080 series debut, it's actually a significant driver update for Linux gamers. Here are some benchmarks showcasing the performance fix that warranted this new driver release.

22 August 05:34 AM EDT - Display Drivers
NVIDIA RTX / Ray-Tracing Support For Vulkan Coming Soon

Given Monday's press conference by NVIDIA where they launched the RTX 20 series and much of the two-hour-long event was focused on ray-tracing for games, you may be wondering about the state of Linux affairs...

22 August 03:48 AM EDT - NVIDIA - NVIDIA RTX
SDL2 Introducing Sensors API

The SDL2 library that offers a cross-platform hardware abstraction layer primarily and primarily used by Linux/Windows/macOS/iOS/Android games now has a sensor API.

22 August 12:04 AM EDT - Free Software - SDL Sensors
DragonFlyBSD Now Runs On The Threadripper 2990WX, Developer Shocked At Performance

Last week I carried out some tests of BSD vs. Linux on the new 32-core / 64-thread Threadripper 2990WX. I tested FreeBSD 11, FreeBSD 12, and TrueOS -- those benchmarks will be published in the next few days. I tried DragonFlyBSD, but at the time it wouldn't boot with this AMD HEDT processor. But now the latest DragonFlyBSD development kernel can handle the 2990WX and the lead DragonFly developer calls this new processor "a real beast" and is stunned by its performance potential.

21 August 01:51 PM EDT - BSD - DragonFly + Threadripper 2990WX
Collabora's Mesa EGLDevice Work To Better Support Multiple GPUs

As covered earlier this month, Emil Velikov at Collabora has been working on EGLDevice support for Mesa. These EGL extensions originally developed by NVIDIA are being pursued by Mesa developers for better dealing with the enumeration and querying of multiple GPUs on a system.

21 August 01:07 PM EDT - Mesa - EGLDevice For Mesa
NVIDIA 396.54 Linux Driver Released To Fix A OpenGL/Vulkan Performance Bug

One day after announcing the GeForce RTX 2070/2080 series, NVIDIA has released a new Linux driver. But it's not a major new driver branch at this time (that's presumably coming closer to the 20 September launch date) with the Turing GPU support, but is a point release delivering a practical bug fix.

21 August 12:06 PM EDT - NVIDIA - NVIDIA 396.54
Three New Security Advisories Hit X.Org's X11 Library

It's been a while since last having any big security bulletins for the X.Org Server even though some of the code-base dates back decades and security researchers have said the security is even worse than it looks and numerous advisories have come up in recent years. But it's not because X11 is bug-free as today three more security bulletins were made public affecting libX11.

21 August 11:35 AM EDT - X.Org - libX11 Vulnerable
Debian Developers Discuss Process For Salvaging Packages

While Debian has tens of thousands of packages in its archive and users often tend to cite the size of a package archive as one of the useful metrics for evaluating a OS/distribution or package manager's potential, not all packages are maintained the same. In acknowledging that not all packages are maintained to the same standard and some ultimately slip through the cracks, Debian developers are discussing a salvaging process.

21 August 10:59 AM EDT - Debian - Debian Package Salvaging
Libratbag + Piper Allow For Great Logitech Gaming Mouse Support On Linux

While Roccat previously backed their devices on Linux that is the case no more and what is left for the time being are various community/third-party applications for supporting gaming mice/keyboard configuration under Linux from Logitech to Razer and various other lesser known brands of gaming peripherals (Razer will hopefully change this, at least). One of the most promising efforts right now for unifying mouse configuration on Linux is libratbag and its GTK3 Piper interface. Ratbag and Piper have evolved into a very competent open-source project for configuring Logitech mice on the Linux desktop.

21 August 09:13 AM EDT - Peripherals
Mesa 18.2 Is Releasing Soon With Many OpenGL / Vulkan Driver Improvements

Mesa 18.2.0 is expected to be released in the days ahead as the latest quarterly feature release to this collection of open-source user-space graphics driver components. As has been the case each quarter for particularly the past few years, these timed quarterly releases are quite feature-packed.

21 August 05:47 AM EDT - Mesa - Mesa 18.2 Features
Freespire 4.0 Released, The Linux Distribution That Originated As "Lindows"

Earlier this year development on Linspire/Freespire was restarted for this Linux distribution that dates back to 2001 when it launched as "Lindows" before having to be renamed due to a trademark dispute with Microsoft. Back in January, PC/OpenSystems who is now developing the distribution, the Freespire 3.0 release debuted while today Freespire 4.0 is available.

21 August 05:03 AM EDT - Operating Systems - Freespire 4.0
The Impact Of The CPU Frequency Scaling Governor On AMD Threadripper 2990WX Linux Performance

One of many test requests we have received concerning the AMD Threadripper 2 Linux performance was to look at the impact of the different CPU frequency scaling governors, particularly for the 32-core / 64-thread Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX. Here are those CPUFreq governor benchmarks for those interested in squeezing slightly better performance out of your HEDT system by changing how aggressively or not the system is shifting power states to higher frequencies.

21 August 12:00 AM EDT - Software
The Next Challenge For Fwupd / LVFS Is Supporting NVMe SSD Firmware Updates

With UEFI BIOS updating now working well with the Fwupd firmware updating utility and Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) for distributing these UEFI update capsules, Richard Hughes at Red Hat is next focusing on NVMe solid-state drives for being able to ship firmware updates under Linux.

20 August 03:25 PM EDT - Hardware - NVM Express SSDs
A Fresh Look At The NVIDIA vs. Radeon Linux Performance & Perf-Per-Watt For August 2018

With NVIDIA expected to announce the Turing-based GeForce RTX 2080 series today as part of their Gamescom press conference, here is a fresh look at the current NVIDIA Linux OpenGL/Vulkan performance with several Pascal graphics cards compared to AMD Polaris and Vega offerings. Additionally, with these latest Linux drivers, the current look at the performance-per-Watt.

20 August 11:31 AM EDT - Linux Gaming
The Performance Hit For A Xeon-Backed Ubuntu Linux VM With L1TF / Foreshadow Patches

Last week L1 Terminal Fault (a.k.a. L1TF and Foreshadow) was made public as the latest set of speculative execution vulnerabilities affecting Intel processors. This Meltdown-like issue was met by same-day Linux kernel patches for mitigating the problem and does introduce another performance penalty but in this case is at least only limited to virtual machines. Last week I posted some initial L1TF-mitigated KVM-based VM benchmark results using a Core i7 CPU but the results for sharing today are using a much more powerful dual Xeon server.

20 August 08:23 AM EDT - Software
Intel's Beignet OpenCL Driver Updated To Work With LLVM 6/7

Intel stopped developing their Beignet open-source Linux OpenCL driver in February to concentrate all efforts now around their new Intel OpenCL NEO platform. But commits landed today with a few improvements for those still using Beignet.

20 August 05:41 AM EDT - Intel - Intel Beignet
Haiku OS R1 Beta Is Finally Happening In September

It's been five years since the last Haiku OS alpha release for their inaugural "R1" release but next month it looks like this first beta will be released, sixteen years after this BeOS-inspired open-source operating system started development.

20 August 05:07 AM EDT - Operating Systems - Haiku OS Beta
Linux 4.19 Had A Very Exciting First Week Of New Features

The Linux 4.19 kernel merge window opened one week ago and there's been a lot of new features and improvements to be merged during this front-half of the merge period. If you are behind on your Phoronix reading, here's a look at the highlights for week one.

19 August 06:00 PM EDT - Linux Kernel - Linux 4.19
A Look At The Windows vs. Linux Scaling Performance Up To 64 Threads With The AMD 2990WX

This past week we looked at the Windows 10 vs. Linux performance for AMD's just-launched Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX and given the interest from that then ran some Windows Server benchmarks to see if the performance of this 64-thread CPU would be more competitive to Linux. From those Windows vs. Linux tests there has been much speculation that the performance disparity is due to Windows scheduler being less optimized for high core/thread count processors and its NUMA awareness being less vetted than the Linux kernel. For getting a better idea, here are benchmarks of Windows Server 2019 preview versus Ubuntu Linux when testing varying thread/core counts for the AMD Threadripper 2990WX.

19 August 11:56 AM EDT - Operating Systems
Kate/KTextEditor Picks Up Many Improvements To Enhance KDE Text Editing

Even with KDE's annual Akademy conference happening this past week in Vienna, KDE development has been going strong especially on the usability front. The Kate text editor and the KTextEditor component within KDE Frameworks 5 have been the largest benefactors of recent improvements.

19 August 08:41 AM EDT - KDE - KDE Text Editors
IBM Scores More POWER Open-Source Performance Optimizations

Following our POWER9 Linux benchmarks earlier this year, IBM POWER engineers have continued exploring various areas for optimization within the interesting open-source workloads tested. Another batch of optimizations are pending for various projects.

19 August 08:31 AM EDT - Hardware - POWER Tuning