Linux Hardware Reviews, Open-Source Benchmarks & Linux Performance

HP ZBook Studio G7 Aims To Attract Linux Developers, Data Scientists

The HP ZBook Studio G7 aims to attract Linux developers and data scientists by not only offering a powerful hardware combination and by pre-loading Ubuntu 20.04 LTS but in also shipping a variety of tools and other software packages pre-configured for a modern developer and data scientist workload. We have been testing the HP ZBook Studio G7 for the better part of two months for this Linux-loaded mobile workstation and in this article is a look at this new HP device along with plenty of benchmarks, including Windows vs. Linux performance tests and more.

Linux 5.10.17 Backports CPUFreq Patches From 5.11 - Benchmarks

Released yesterday was the Linux 5.10.17 LTS kernel and what makes this point release a bit more notable than usual is that it backports the CPUFreq patches from 5.11 that were used for addressing the earlier AMD performance regression on Linux 5.11 and often leading to net improvements as well over prior kernel series. The CPUFreq patches were back-ported while the AMD frequency invariance support was not, so what does the performance look like for the Linux 5.10 LTS kernel? Here are some benchmarks.

11 Hours Ago - Linux Kernel - Linux 5.10.17 Released
Oracle Releases Linux-Based Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 5 Update 5

Oracle today released their Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5 Update 5 intended for use on their RHEL-based Oracle Linux. Oracle's "Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel" tends to be a newer Linux LTS kernel with extra features compared to what is found in the current RHEL / Red Hat Compatible Kernel builds.

18 Hours Ago - Oracle - UEK R5 U5
OnLogic Helix 500: A Linux-Friendly, Fanless + Reliable Edge Computer

For those either needing a well-built, fanless computer that can run fine as a Linux desktop or are looking for an industrial-rated edge computing system, the Helix 500 is an interesting product from OnLogic (formerly, Logic Supply) that fills the space for a dependable, petite PC and ships with Windows, Linux, or even no OS at all if just preferring to load your own operating system of choice.

17 February 04:20 PM EST - Computers
XWayland 21.1 Release Candidate Offers Split From The X.Org Server

XWayland 21.1 is moving forward as a standalone XWayland release separated from the X.Org Server. Given that X.Org Server 1.21 isn't moving toward release with no one stepping up to oversee that long overdue update, Red Hat engineers have devised the plan for standalone XWayland releases that are separated from the rest of the xorg-server code-base to at least get the updated X11 client on Wayland support out to users.

17 February 01:26 PM EST - X.Org - XWayland 21.1
Intel Releases Updated Microcode For Linux Users To Mitigate Xeon Security Issue

Intel on Tuesday night released the "microcode-20210216" package as the latest update to their collection of CPU microcode binaries. This time around the only changes to the Intel CPU microcode binaries are for Skylake server CPUs and Cascade Lake B-0/B-1 processors in order to address two vulnerabilities that came to light last year.

17 February 07:16 AM EST - Intel - microcode-20210216
Clang LTO PR Submitted For Linux 5.12, But x86_64 Support Not Included Yet

The pull request is pending that would allow Clang Link-Time Optimizations (LTO) to be enabled when building the Linux 5.12 kernel with this alternative compiler. The initial pull request has the compiler optimization work ready for the core infrastructure and 64-bit ARM (AArch64) while the x86_64 support isn't expected until the Linux 5.13 cycle.

17 February 06:05 AM EST - Linux Kernel - Link Time Optimizations
AMD EPYC Performance With FreeBSD 13 Beta

Last week when conducting preliminary benchmarks of the new FreeBSD 13 operating system beta we found broad and significant performance improvements on Intel hardware but how is this popular BSD operating system performing for AMD EPYC? Here are some initial performance tests looking at FreeBSD 12.2 stable to FreeBSD 13 beta on an AMD EPYC 7F52 server.

16 February 03:17 PM EST - Operating Systems
The Vulkan API Is Now Five Years Old And Enjoying Phenomenal Success

Today marks five years since the announcement of Vulkan 1.0. Over the past five years we have seen incredible adoption of this high performance graphics API across multiple platforms, open-source Vulkan drivers that are kept up to date well with the latest spec revisions, exciting new extensions, and the spec continues to receive new extensions and revisions on an almost bi-weekly basis.

16 February 12:33 PM EST - Vulkan - Vulkan Turns 5
Intel Looking To Finally Upstream Linux Driver For Their Gaussian & Neural Accelerator

Found with mobile Intel CPUs across Tiger Lake, Ice Lake, and even Cannon Lake has been the Intel GNA accelerator. This Gaussian and Neural Accelerator is also found with Intel Gemini Lake processors and various development kits. The Intel GNA has been backed by an out-of-tree Linux driver while now the company is finally working to upstream their GNA support in the Linux kernel.

16 February 12:00 PM EST - Intel - Intel GNA
Qt 6.1 Alpha Released

Just two months after the release of Qt 6.0, given the quicker release cycle this year, Qt 6.1 Alpha is already available that follows the feature freeze that began earlier this month.

16 February 08:37 AM EST - Qt - Qt 6.1
Zink With Mesa 21.1 Now Advertises OpenGL 4.6

Mike Blumenkrantz continues to be on a mad roll when it comes to getting all of the Zink patches upstreamed into mainline Mesa... This Gallium3D-based OpenGL over Vulkan translation layer now has OpenGL 4.6 turned on for Mesa 21.1!

16 February 02:49 AM EST - Mesa - Zink OpenGL 4.6
OProfile Kernel Code Slated For Removal In Linux 5.12

OProfile as a system profiler for Linux systems was started twenty years ago during the Linux 2.4 kernel days. While the user-space components are still going strong, the kernel-side support is redundant in an era of the perf subsystem and thus slated for removal with Linux 5.12.

16 February 12:30 AM EST - Linux Kernel - OProfile
Updated FUTEX2 Patches Posted For The Linux Kernel With A Focus On Helping Games

It's approaching one year since the proposal of FUTEX2 for addressing shortcomings of the existing FUTEX system call and allowing the semantics to better match that of the Windows behavior, which is of use when running Windows games on Linux via Steam Play's Wine/Proton. In the end the FUTEX2 system call can lead to lower CPU utilization and in turn allowing for greater Linux gaming performance.

15 February 11:12 AM EST - Linux Gaming - FUTEX2
GNU Linux-libre 5.11 Released With Many Peripheral Drivers Needing To Be De-Blobbed

Building off yesterday's release of the Linux 5.11 kernel, the GNU folks have put out their "GNU Linux-libre 5.11-gnu" kernel that removes support for loading closed-source kernel modules, stripping out drivers/functionality that are dependent upon closed-source microcode/firmware, and other sanitization work in the name of maintaining a fully free software system.

15 February 10:09 AM EST - GNU - GNU Linux-libre 5.11-gnu
Updated Linux Kernel Patches Posted For Bringing Up The Apple M1 SoC

Earlier this month Hector Martin and the Asahi Linux developers posted their initial Linux kernel patches for bringing up the Apple M1 ARM SoC platform for the mainline kernel with devices like the 2020 Mac Mini / MacBook Pro / MacBook Air devices. The second iteration of those Apple M1 Linux patches have now been posted.

15 February 08:06 AM EST - Hardware - v2 Patches
The Dark Mod 2.09 Released With New OpenGL Rendering Backend

The Dark Mod that began as a total conversion mod for Doom 3 but evolved into a standalone game making use of the open-source id Tech 4 game engine is out with a big update. This is one of the few open-source games making use of the public id Tech 4 code-base and with today's v2.09 update is a large rewrite to its graphics back-end.

15 February 05:42 AM EST - Linux Gaming - The Dark Mod 2.09
Google Engineers Propose Adding Linux Kernel Option For ARM SLS Mitigation

Made public last year was the Arm Straight Light Speculation (SLS) vulnerability. SLS with ARM hardware can result in speculative executing instructions following an unconditional change in control flow. The Linux kernel may soon have an option for enabling the mitigation of the Arm SLS vulnerability.

15 February 01:00 AM EST - Arm - Straight-Line Speculation
AMD "Green Sardine" Firmware Published For Linux Users

The open-source Linux graphics driver support for the Ryzen 5000 series mobile hardware has been developed under the "Green Sardine" codename. With the soon-to-be-stable Linux 5.11 kernel offering the initial enablement for the new hardware and Ryzen 5000 series laptops expected this quarter, the Green Sardine firmware blobs have landed in linux-firmware.git.

14 February 01:38 PM EST - Radeon - linux-firmware.git
There Are Big Changes On The Horizon With Linux 5.12

Linux 5.11 should be released today as stable but we'll see if 5.11-rc8 is decided instead given there has been an uptick in last minute changes for this kernel. This will mean either the Linux 5.12 merge window is kicking off at the end of today or could be pushed back by one week, but in whatever case there are many changes that have been queuing up for this next kernel version window.

14 February 09:24 AM EST - Linux Kernel - Linux 5.12 Pending
AMDGPU FreeSync Video Mode Optimization Updated But Too Late For Linux 5.12

Going back to last year there has been work by AMD engineers on an experimental FreeSync video mode optimization to avoid screen blanking around full-screen video playback. Basically avoiding an entire mode-set when changing the timing mode during video playback to bypass any screen flickering/blanking. That work has now been updated to its sixth spin while it's being viewed as a temporary measure until a better solution can be devised.

14 February 05:39 AM EST - Radeon - AMDGPU FreeSync