Given the recent release of OpenBSD 6.4, FreeBSD 12 now being in beta, and DragonFlyBSD 5.3 evolving nicely for what will eventually ship as DragonFlyBSD 5.4, here is the start of some fresh benchmarks between the BSDs and a few Linux distributions to see how the performance compares as we approach the end of 2018.
Mentor Graphics announced the availability today of their GNU toolchain based CodeBench Lite Edition that is a development environment intended for HPC application development that now supports targeting for AMD Ryzen/EPYC processors as well as Radeon Instinct GPUs.
The merge window isn't even over yet for the current Linux kernel cycle that will end in late December or early January, but Intel's stellar open-source crew responsible for their kernel graphics driver have already sent out their first set of changes to DRM-Next for what will start 2019 with either the Linux 4.21 cycle or 5.1 depending upon how the 4.20~5.0 versioning is decided.
One of the new Linux kernel features Google engineers have been working on is fs-verity for read-only file-based authenticity protection. Fs-verity is similar to dm-verity with a similar aim but is designed to work on a per-file basis for read-write file-systems rather than at the block level.
Solus, the promising Linux distribution started back in 2015 by Ikey Doherty that led to the creation of its own "Budgie" desktop, has been without its founder since this summer. While the circumstances under his decision to fade away from the project aren't clear, he is well and has shared this message to relay with the community.
With the Linux 4.20~5.0, the kernel is now VLA-free as a step towards being able to compile the mainline code with the LLVM Clang compiler or other non-GCC compilers. Another step in this direction has been merged this cycle and that is cleaning up the compiler attributes code.
With the increasingly popular RISC-V open-source processor instruction set architecture (ISA), there is the possibility for vendor-specific instruction set extensions. At this point the kernel has no infrastructure in place for its RISC-V port to allow for such bits, but that is being worked on as part of bringing up AndeStar RISC-V CPUs under the Linux kernel.
October was very interesting for Linux gaming with no AAA native game ports released but a heck of a lot more Windows games are now running nicely on Linux thanks to Steam Play / Proton / DXVK. So it's quite interesting to see Valve's just-published monthly Steam Survey results for the month prior.
Intel's Open-Source Technology Center (OTC) is now the latest organization making use of the Contributor Covenant for aiming to do more to promote a welcoming and inclusive environment.
Mesa 18.3 feature development is officially over with the code having been branched from Git master earlier today. Mesa 18.3-RC1 should be out soon to kick off the weekly release candidates while now Mesa Git master starts what will become Mesa 19.0.
After Microsoft added support for the WebP image format to their Edge browser last month, Mozilla is finally preparing to ship the Firefox browser with support for WebP. If all goes well, Firefox 65 will support WebP!
As part of the big DRM pull request for the next Linux kernel cycle, the AMDGPU driver enabled GFXOFF and Stutter Mode functionality for Raven Ridge. But this power-savings functionality is already being reverted for the next kernel release.
One year after the release of GhostBSD 11.1 as a MATE/Xfce-focused FreeBSD-based desktop operating system, GhostBSD 18.10 is now available and it shifts over to a TrueOS base.
System76 has finally unveiled the specifications and design for their Thelio desktop systems they have been teasing in recent weeks.
While File-Systems in User-Space (FUSE) have been notorious for being slow, with time FUSE has become a lot faster and with this current Linux 4.20 (5.0) development cycle there are yet more performance optimizations.
While there was a push by its developers to align the I3C subsystem code for the next kernel, it's not going to happen for Linux 4.20.
During the month of October on Phoronix there were 330 original news stories and 26 featured articles / Linux hardware reviews penned by your's truly.
It's been just over one month since the long awaited release of Haiku R1 Beta 1 for reliving the BeOS experience as open-source. While it was a momentous occasion, the developers have continued advancing this free software platform.
It was just in mid-September that NVIDIA introduced its ray-tracing extension for Vulkan as VK_NVX_raytracing with it debuting as an "experimental" feature along with OpenGL/GLSL functionality. Already they seem happy with the design that it's being promoted to stable.
The branching of Mesa 18.3 is imminent and expected to happen anytime now. The Mesa developers of the different drivers have been very busy in merging their last-minute feature work for this final quarterly feature update to end out 2018.
While Chrome 71 is the current release stream, Chrome 72 is set to offer some improvements on the Wayland front.
The x86 platform driver updates were sent in overnight for the Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel cycle.
Valve has ended out October with a very useful Proton beta update for Steam Play for enjoying Windows games on Linux.
It was just earlier this year that Zchunk was announced for producing delta-friendly files with good compression ratios while now the 1.0 stable release is in sight.
In addition to Zink taking shape for OpenGL over Vulkan, the separate and independent effort of CLVK continues marching along for OpenCL over Vulkan. I was experimenting with CLVK today and did some initial benchmarks.
As the first commits to upstream GRUB in one month, this GNU boot-loader now supports reading Btrfs file-systems in RAID5 or RAID6 modes.
SDL 2.0.9 is now available as the latest feature update to this cross-platform, widely-used library to help with abstracting operating system specific bits across operating systems and hardware from mobile devices to gaming PCs. SDL2 continues to be critically important for most Linux games.
The Zink Gallium3D driver that is implementing OpenGL over Vulkan and using Mesa's Gallium3D driver infrastructure is beginning to run more games, work under Wayland, and more. There still is a long road ahead but at least it's becoming usable for early testers and those wishing to experiment with this project.
For those interested in Jolla's Sailfish OS mobile Linux operating system, Sailfish 3 is beginning to roll out to supported devices.
One of the benefits with the recently launched Core i9 9900K is hardware-based mitigations for Meltdown and L1TF/Foreshadow vulnerabilities. but mitigations are still needed for the other Spectre vulnerabilities. In this article is a look at the performance impact of still needing generic Retpolines via IBPB IBRS firmware for Spectre V2 and Speculative Store Bypass disabling (SSBD) for Spectre V4.
GNOME 3.30.2 is now available as the second and final point release to this half-year update to the GNOME desktop environment.
The FFmpeg multimedia library has restored support for HEVC/H.265 video decoding accelerated on NVIDIA GPUs using VDPAU.
Recently in our forums there has been a lot of interest in Threadripper 2 builds using ECC DDR4 memory and the impact on performance, especially now with the Threadripper 2 family being rounded out by the 2920X and 2970WX. So I set out to do some DDR4-2666 ECC UDIMM testing with Threadripper 2, but that hasn't turned out well.
Fedora has finally enabled ClearType sub-pixel rendering in FreeType for providing much nicer font rendering.
With GCC 9 feature development ending in November, AMD today sent out their first patch enabling Zen 2 support in the GNU Compiler Collection via the new "znver2" target.
Over the weekend we reported on the Samsung Open-Source Group reportedly shutting down with many of the former OSG staffers in the US no longer employed by Samsung. We've now received comments both from Samsung in the US and Korea on the matter.
Eric Anholt of Broadcom has provided a status update on his efforts around the VC4 open-source driver stack that most notably works with Raspberry Pi devices and also his efforts on the V3D driver as the next-generation Broadcom graphics driver stack for VideoCore V and later.
A set of eleven patches have been published that fix a number of longstanding bugs in the EXT4 file-system.
The Cedrus VPU driver developed by Bootlin for supporting the Allwinner VPU open-source support via crowdfunding is set to hit the mainline kernel for Linux 4.20~5.0.
System76 is finally announcing the Thelio system on Thursday with plans to begin shipping it in December. Ahead of that announcement they've clarified a bit around their US manufacturing and open-source hardware plans.
With the recent six-way Linux OS tests on the Core i9 9900K there was once again a number of users questioning the optimizations by Clear Linux out of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center and remarks whether changing the compiler flags, CPU frequency scaling governor, or other settings would allow other distributions to trivially replicate its performance. Here's a look at some tweaked Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish benchmarks against the latest Intel Clear Linux rolling-release from this i9-9900K 8-core / 16-thread desktop system.
Various Linux audio stakeholders are in Edinburgh having a PipeWire hackfest following the Linux Foundation events that took place last week.
Fedora 29 is now available as the newest version of this Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution. Fedora 29 has a lot of work on its Workstation/desktop spin, the Fedora Silverblue release has come together nicely for an atomic OS, Fedora Server continues to serve as a great basis for likely what RHEL8 will be looking like, and there are various other enhancements throughout the Fedora stack.
Mark Shuttleworth has yet to come out with his usual blog post at the start of new Ubuntu Linux development cycles to officially unveil the next release's codename and discuss the overarching theme of the next six months, but the Ubuntu 19.04 codename has come out via Launchpad.
The Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) that works for distributing hardware firmware updates from laptop/motherboard UEFI capsule updates to different peripherals is continuing to receive more recognition in this era of increased security concerns.
For those of you running KDE Plasma on Wayland and making use of windowed games (or other apps) that make use of SDL2, the experience is about to become a lot better.
While Wayland/Weston development might be lightening up a bit for now with Samsung OSG closing up shop and they being one of the major drivers in recent years to this stack, fortunately, other developers remain. Tomohito Esaki of IGEL endpoint management solutions has introduced a remoting plugin with output streaming for Weston.
Prolific open-source AMD hacker Marek Olšák has sent out a revised patch enabling support for the yet-to-be-released Raven 2 APUs within the RadeonSI Gallium3D.
The pull requests adding new ARM chip/SoC support and various platforms/boards were merged on Monday evening. For this Linux 4.20 (or 5.0) kernel cycle there is a lot of new hardware support, especially among the popular ARM SBCs. NVIDIA Tegra upstreaming bits is also another big standout for this kernel.
For those looking at an easy-to-use Arch Linux desktop experience, Manjaro Linux -- like Antergos -- fills that void. Manjaro today is celebrating their big "18.0" release.
A Google developer has proposed /proc/pid/kill as a new procfs-based kill interface for killing a process on Linux.
Fedora Workstation 30 will continue to use the GNOME Shell by default (more than likely, GNOME 3.32) but adding to the list of alternative desktop environments could be the elementaryOS' Pantheon Desktop. Pantheon has been available for a few releases on Fedora, but this change proposal is about upgrading the desktop.
While Fedora 29 is cleared for release tomorrow, 30 October, the LXQt and Xfce spins may be delayed a bit.
As a big win for Radeon Linux gamers using the RADV and enjoying Steam Play (Proton) or Wine games and making use of the DXVK library, this open-source AMD Vulkan driver has merged support for transform feedback!
Adding to the big list of changes for Linux 4.20~5.0 is a number of updates within the kernel's staging area.
Beginning today the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX and 2920X processors are shipping and we are now allowed to share our performance benchmarks for these latest Zen+ Threadripper 2 processors. Here's a look at the Linux performance and related metrics for these new 12-core/24-thread and 24-core/48-thread processors.
While Qt's Qbs build system was once planned as the default build system for Qt6 and shaping up to be the de facto successor to QMake, there is a change of course with The Qt Company now announcing they are deprecating this custom build system.
The Chinese C-SKY 32-bit CPU architecture looks now for sure that it will be added to the in-development Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel. This might also be the last new CPU architecture ever to be added to the mainline Linux kernel.
While we still don't know yet whether Linus Torvalds intends to call this next kernel Linux 4.20 or Linux 5.0, we do know that whatever the version ends up being, this is going to be a very big kernel release with a lot of new features.
The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) has a new language front-end! The D language support has finally been merged.
With the in-development Linux 4.20 kernel, it is now effectively VLA-free... The variable-length arrays (VLAs) that can be convenient and part of the C99 standard but can have unintended consequences.