Linux Hardware Reviews, Open-Source Benchmarks & Linux Performance

A Nice Overview Of The ROCm Linux Compute Stack

It's easy to get confused by the Radeon GPU compute stack / OpenCL driver support as there has been multiple offerings over the years from the no longer supported Clover Gallium3D OpenCL driver to a still-maintained PAL-based OpenCL driver to their modern ROCm compute stack. When it comes to ROCm though, besides OpenCL there is also their HCC and HIP approaches and from there support for a variety of frameworks, libraries, etc. Here are some overviews of the current ROCm compute stack those interested.

99 Minutes Ago - Radeon - ROCm
Intel Interim CEO Comments On CPU Supply Challenges

There have been rumors going on in recent days about Intel hitting supply challenges with their current-generation 14nm products. Intel CFO and Interim CEO, Bob Swan, wrote a public letter today outlining those challenges.

118 Minutes Ago - Intel - Short Supply
Q3 Was Exciting For Linux Enthusiasts With Threadripper, Mesa, Steam Play & Kernel Drama

The third-quarter was extremely busy to say the least... There was so much going on from the notable Linux 4.19 kernel merge window, the exciting material queueing ahead of Linux 4.20~5.0, continued open-source graphics driver advancements, Valve announcing Steam Play / Proton, many Vulkan milestones, and countless other reasons for Linux and open-source fans to celebrate. On the hardware front was also extremely busy with the AMD Threadripper 2 launch, the recent GeForce RTX graphics card launch delivering great performance for Linux gamers but at a significant cost, and continued hardware testing around Spectre mitigation.

4 Hours Ago - Phoronix - Q3-2018 Highlights
Heterogeneous Memory Management Is Maturing, AMDGPU Support Coming

For the past four years now we have been monitoring the development of Heterogeneous Memory Management (HMM) for allowing the mirroring of process address spaces and other functionality particularly designed around modern GPU compute needs but also applicable to other devices/drivers. The HMM kernel code was merged to mainline last year while haven't seen much activity by the DRM drivers but that now seems to be changing.

9 Hours Ago - Linux Kernel - Heterogeneous Memory Management
There's A New Libre GPU Effort Building On RISC-V, Rust, LLVM & Vulkan

Over the past decade and a half of covering the Linux graphics scene, there have been many attempts at providing a fully open-source GPU (or even just display adapter) down to the hardware level, but none of them have really panned out from Project VGA to other FPGA designs. There's a new very ambitious project trying to create a "libre 3D GPU" built atop RISC-V, leveraging Rust and LLVM on the software side, and would also support Vulkan.

13 Hours Ago - Hardware - Very Ambitious Libre GPU
ARMv8.5-A Support Being Prepped To Battle Spectre-Style Vulnerabilities

Earlier this month Arm began publishing details of the ARMv8.5-A instruction set update, which is expected to be officially documented and released by the end of Q1'2019, while the LLVM compiler stack has already received initial support for the interesting additions.

27 September 02:22 PM EDT - LLVM - ARMv8.5-A
Intel Iris Gallium3D Forming As Their Future OpenGL Driver, Promising Early Results

Last month we noted a new Gallium3D driver in-development by Intel dubbed "Iris" and potentially replacing their existing "classic i965" Mesa driver for recent generations of Intel HD/UHD/Iris graphics hardware. Intel developers have begun talking about this new open-source Linux GPU driver today at the XDC 2018 conference in A Coruña, Spain.

27 September 11:37 AM EDT - Intel - Iris Future
macOS 10.14 Mojave vs. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS vs. Clear Linux Benchmarks

With macOS Mojave having been released earlier this week, I've been benchmarking this latest Apple operating system release on a MacBook Pro compared to Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS with the latest updates as well as Intel's high-performance Clear Linux rolling-release operating systems to see how the performance compares.

27 September 10:30 AM EDT - Operating Systems
BLK-MQ To Support Runtime Power Management With Linux 4.20~5.0

The Linux mult-queue block I/O layer (blk-mq) has been working out well for delivering very fast performance particularly for modern NVMe solid-state storage and SCSI drives. But it turns out run-time power management hasn't been in use when blk-mq is active.

27 September 09:16 AM EDT - Hardware - BLK-MQ Runtime Power Management
FUSE Getting Another Performance Boost In Linux 4.20~5.0

Separate from the recent FUSE performance work talked about for making FUSE faster with the eBPF in-kernel JIT that hasn't been staged for mainlined, "File-Systems in User-Space" are set to see better performance on the next kernel (Linux 4.20~5.0) thanks to other changes.

27 September 06:49 AM EDT - Linux Storage - User-Space File-Systems
HDCP 2.2 Support Updated For The Intel DRM Linux Driver

This year Intel HDCP support was merged into the mainline Linux kernel for those wanting to utilize this copy protection system in combination with a supported Linux user-space application, which for now appears to be limited to Chrome OS. HDCP 2.2 support is the latest revision now being worked on for the open-source Intel Direct Rendering Manager driver.

27 September 05:51 AM EDT - Intel - HDCP 2.2
MoltenVK Updated Against Vulkan 1.1.85, New Features

For developers interested in delivering cross-platform Vulkan games/applications and using MoltenVK for delivering macOS/iOS support, a new release is available that has a number of feature additions.

27 September 05:36 AM EDT - Vulkan - MoltenVK
GNU Shepherd 0.5 Init System Released

Shepherd, the init/service manager of the GNU system with GNU Herd and can be used as an alternative to systemd on Linux systems as well, is up to version 0.5.

26 September 10:51 AM EDT - GNU - GNU Shepherd
OBS Studio Now Supports VA-API For Video Encoding

For those of you using OBS Studio for screen recording on the Linux desktop or screencasting, the latest code now supports GPU-offloading to VA-API for the H.264 video encode process.

26 September 10:18 AM EDT - Multimedia - OBS Studio + VA-API
Linux Readying Spectre V2 Userspace-Userspace Protection

While the Linux kernel has been patched for months (and updated CPU microcode available) to mitigate Spectre Variant Two "Branch Target Injection" this has been focused on kernel-space protection while patches are pending now for userspace-userspace protection.

26 September 07:13 AM EDT - Security - Spectre Variant Two
WireGuard v6 Might Be Ready For The Mainline Kernel, ARM Changes Added

The lead developer of the WireGuard in-kernel secure VPN tunnel, Jason Donenfeld, published his sixth round of patches on Tuesday for getting this important networking code and its related Zinc crypto code into the mainline kernel. It's looking like the code might have baked enough for debut in the upcoming 4.20~5.0 kernel cycle.

25 September 08:34 PM EDT - Linux Kernel - WireGuard For Linux
AMD Picasso APUs To Support VCN Dynamic Power Gating

Earlier this month AMD sent out the initial Linux graphics driver patches for "Picasso" APUs and now a new patch series today sheds some light on a new capability for these new APUs reported to be similar to current Raven Ridge hardware.

25 September 05:26 PM EDT - AMD - VCN DPG
AMD EPYC On Ubuntu 18.10 Putting Up A Stronger Fight Against Xeon Gold

With hitting the home stretch to Ubuntu 18.10, I've started with my usual benchmark process for checking out this next Ubuntu Linux release dubbed the Cosmic Cuttlefish. Yesterday were Ubuntu 18.10 benchmarks on seven desktop systems from Intel and AMD while next on my agenda has been checking out the server performance. Here's the first of those server tests on Ubuntu 18.10 with some initial AMD EPYC and Intel Xeon Gold tests.

25 September 03:55 PM EDT - Operating Systems
Google Open-Sources "GraphicsFuzz" For Helping To Spot GPU Driver Bugs

Remember GraphicsFuzz? That was the effort started by university students for fuzzing GPU drivers via WebGL in the browser and over the course of their research found various OpenGL driver bugs, including for mobile drivers. Last month the start-up born out of that university research was acquired by Google and now their work is open-source.

25 September 10:23 AM EDT - Google - GraphicsFuzz
The State Of Wayland Support For KDE Plasma 5.14

KDE developer Roman Gilg has shared the current state of Wayland support for the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.14 release as well as an outlook to improvements on the horizon.

25 September 09:43 AM EDT - KDE - Plasma 5.14 + Wayland
A Quick Test Of NVIDIA's "Carmel" CPU Performance

NVIDIA's Tegra Xavier SoC is becoming more widely available now that the Jetson Xavier Development Kit has begun shipping. Besides this latest SoC being an exciting design with its Volta-based GPU and having a Tensor Processing Unit / Deep Learning Accelerator, it's exciting on the CPU side as well with NVIDIA's custom-designed ARMv8 "Carmel" CPU cores.

25 September 06:38 AM EDT - Processors
Fedora 29 Is On Track With A Lot Of Changes

With Fedora 29 Beta set to ship today, here's a reminder about some of the great changes on the way with this next installment of the Fedora Linux distribution that is on track to officially release around the end of October.

25 September 05:38 AM EDT - Fedora - Fedora 29 Features
Collabora Had Another Stellar Year For Open-Source Consulting

The Collabora open-source consulting firm whose expertise spans from the Linux kernel to LibreOffice and X.Org had another successful year. The UK-based company last week reported their 2017 financial position last week providing a glimpse at the viability of open-source / free software consulting.

25 September 05:18 AM EDT - Free Software - Open-Source Success
XDC 2018 Kicks Off Tomorrow In A Coruña

Tomorrow marks the start of the annual X.Org Developers' Conference that is not only about the X11 server but also Mesa, Wayland, Linux input, and other areas of the desktop stack.

25 September 04:58 AM EDT - X.Org - XDC2018
Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU1 Released

It's been just under one month since Oracle's long-awaited debut of Solaris 11.4 and now its first stable release update has been issued.

24 September 05:57 PM EDT - Oracle - Solaris 11.4
AMD Posts Updated Mesa Patches For Variable Refresh Rate (FreeSync / Adaptive-Sync)

Earlier this month AMD finally got back on track with issuing new patches for FreeSync / Adaptive-Sync / HDMI Variable Refresh Rate support now that there seems to be a consensus among the Linux DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) driver developers over what this API should look like so it can support the multiple technologies and drivers at play.

24 September 03:56 PM EDT - Radeon - Mesa VRR
Ubuntu 18.10 Performance Is Looking Up, But Clear Linux Still Leads In Many Tests

With less than one month until Ubuntu 18.10 "Cosmic Cuttlefish" releases, I have begun my usual benchmarking dance in checking out how the Ubuntu performance is looking to its current release, in this case the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver". Our first performance look at Ubuntu 18.10 is with a mix of seven Intel and AMD desktop systems while using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with all updates, Ubuntu 18.10 in its current near-final form, and using Intel's Clear Linux as a gold standard reference with it generally offering the leading out-of-the-box Linux x86_64 performance of major distributions.

24 September 03:35 PM EDT - Operating Systems
Windows Server 2019 Reaching GA Next Month

For those running a mix of Linux and Windows Servers or simply wanting to know what the "competition" has going on, Microsoft announced today that Windows Server 2019 will be reaching general availability in October.

24 September 11:16 AM EDT - Microsoft - Windows Server 2019
Valve Has Been Working On A HUD For The RADV Vulkan Driver

It hasn't been merged to Mesa 18.3-devel yet nor even published on the Mesa-dev list for review, but it turns out Valve's Samuel Pitoiset has begun working on a heads-up display (HUD) for the driver.

24 September 07:16 AM EDT - Mesa - Heads-Up Display
Intel IWD Makes Another Step Closer To Version 1.0

The past few years open-source Intel developers have been creating a new Linux wireless daemon to potentially replace wpa_supplicant. This daemon, IWD, continues getting more feature-complete and is well on its way toward version 1.0.

24 September 05:21 AM EDT - Intel - Intwl IWD