Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, or happy benchmark season... Regardless of whatever holidays you celebrate or not, it's time for the 2018 Christmas/Winter sale if you wish to join Phoronix Premium to help us out as we approach the 15th birthday of Phoronix.com and see a strong year ahead for Linux hardware performance testing, open-source news coverage, and more. Premium gets you ad-free access to the site, multi-page featured articles on a single page, and other benefits.
Yet another pull request sent in early ahead of the holidays for the Linux 4.21 kernel merge window are the DMA-Mapping updates managed by Christoph Hellwig. Normally the DMA-Mapping changes aren't really worth noting on Phoronix, but this time around it brings some improvements to help offset the overhead incurred by Retpolines for Spectre V2 mitigation.
Performance optimizations are always great presents to see in open-source projects around the holidays (well, any time of the year for that matter). Libvpx today picked up another optimization for helping out with VP9 video decoding.
Should you have some extra time this holiday season and wish to dive into some fun operating system tests, the release candidate of ReactOS 0.4.11 is available. Two decades after its start, ReactOS continues striving to be an open-source operating system that offers binary compatibility with applications/games/drivers from Windows.
Now that Radeon Open Compute 2.0 is shipping with OpenCL 2.0 support and many other improvements around Radeon GPU computing, a new focus by the developers working on ROCm is to make it easier to build and install on more Linux distributions.
In preparing for the Linux 4.21 merge window that is expected to open up over the holidays, the sound subsystem updates have already been submitted. There isn't much in the way of core infrastructure work this cycle, but a lot of sound driver activity.
The media subsystem is seeing a lot of work going into the upcoming Linux 4.21 kernel cycle. Two pull requests of media feature work have already been sent in for this imminent merge window.
The Lubuntu developers have announced today that their LXDE/LXQt downstream of Ubuntu Linux will no longer be offering 32-bit x86 releases moving forward while Lubuntu 18.04 LTS will continue to be supported.
As it's been two months since the Linux 4.20 cycle got underway with the feature-packed merge window and with this kernel expected out just in time for Christmas, here is a look back at some of the biggest and most notable features to this imminent kernel release.
Given the recently release of the PGI 18.10 Community Edition compiler by NVIDIA, I was curious to see how the performance on the CPU is looking for this proprietary compiler on Linux. For those curious as well, here are some benchmarks of the PGI 18.10 C/C++ compiler against the GCC 8.2.0 and LLVM Clang 7.0 open-source compilers.
Earlier this month NVIDIA announced their latest plans for an open-source PhysX and at the time put out the PhysX 3.4 SDK under a three-clause BSD license. Now the PhysX 4.0 release is available.
The Coreboot folks are ending out 2018 with the release of version 4.9 that has 2,610 changes since their previous release just over a half-year ago.
It looks like Intel might soon be launching a new CPU with the onboard Radeon "Vega M" graphics as another PCI ID was just added to the open-source Linux graphics driver.
As the latest from our year-end Linux benchmarks, here are tests when seeing how Mesa's RADV open-source Radeon Vulkan driver performance has evolved for Linux gaming. With a Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics card, the performance was looked at from Mesa 17.3 through Mesa 19.0-devel for showing the driver's evolution.
Greg Kroah-Hartman merged the Binderfs code to his char-misc-next branch on Wednesday, making it the latest feature set to premiere in the upcoming Linux 4.21 kernel.
Released this past summer was SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 while being worked on for its official debut next summer is the first service pack release.
Just in time for Christmas, the Radeon Open Compute "ROCm" 2.0 Linux stack is now available for AMD GPU computing needs with OpenCL 2.0, TensorFlow 1.12, and more.
Sed 4.6 is now available of the popular GNU utility for command-line text/stream editing.
Samuel Pitoiset of Valve's open-source Linux graphics driver team has posted a set of patches implementing support for shaderStorageImageMultisample. These patches are based upon work started months earlier by David Airlie and important for DXVK and for other Vulkan use-cases.
Should you still be utilizing Qualcomm Adreno 200 series graphics hardware, the open-source graphics driver support is getting better for this hardware that was Adreno's first offering a programmable pipeline and clock speeds up to 133MHz.
The latest notes from the Debian anti-harassment team on Wednesday caught my attention when reading, "We were requested to advice on the appropriateness of a certain package in the Debian archive. Our decision resulted in the package pending removal from the archive." Curiosity got the best of me... What package was deemed too inappropriate for the Debian archive?
WireGuard 0.0.20181218 is now available as another test release of this secure network VPN tunnel, but sadly it doesn't look like it will be landing in the upcoming Linux 4.21 cycle.
Microsoft is getting into the open-source UEFI game with today's announcement of Project Mu, which powers their Surface hardware as well as Hyper-V platform.
Last month AMD commented they would be releasing ROCm 2.0 prior to the end of 2018 and it looks like they will make good on their word. ROCm 2.0 is being prepared for release - source code is available albeit the reference Ubuntu/RHEL binaries are not yet out.
The latest Linux desktop environment sought for inclusion in the Fedora package repository is for the Deepin Desktop Environment.
Due to the Linux 4.21 merge window expected to open up next week just prior to Christmas, some kernel subsystem maintainers who won't be around in the days ahead have been sending in their pull requests early. Among those with early feature pulls is David Sterba continuing to oversee the Btrfs file-system development.
The I3C subsystem had sought to be included in Linux 4.20, but ultimately it was rejected for being too late in the cycle for introducing a brand new subsystem. But now it's requested to be pulled into the upcoming Linux 4.21 merge window.
With yesterday's release of Oracle VM VirtualBox 6.0, one of the most pressing changes for Linux guests is the use of the new VMSVGA 3D graphics device emulation by default. VMSVGA is the SVGA II graphics adapter from virtualization competitor VMware, but allows for the mature SVGA Linux graphics driver stack to be used. Here are some benchmarks looking at the OpenGL performance on VirtualBox 6.0.
With the upcoming Flatpak 1.2 release for app sandboxing, the command-line experience will be much better for those that prefer the CLI to the graphical utilities around Flatpaks.
Earlier this week I posted some benchmarks looking at the Linux kernel performance from the start to end of 2018 using an Intel Core i9 7980XE system. Here is the second part of that testing in looking at the same Linux 4.14 vs. 4.20 kernel benchmarking while putting the i9-7980XE performance side-by-side against the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX for seeing how its performance was impacted under the same kernel tests.
With ZFS On Linux (ZOL) being more actively developed than the ZFS file-system code within the OpenSolaris-derived Illumos kernel, FreeBSD will be transitioning their ZFS file-system kernel driver to be based on ZOL.
Linux Mint 19.1 is now officially available as the first update to the Linux Mint 19 stack that debuted back in July and powered by Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
Re-based off last week's second release candidate of Wine 4.0 is now Wine-Staging 4.0-RC2.
Google has rolled out the public beta of the Chrome 72 web browser across all supported platforms. This is a sizable feature release that also packs its share of deprecations.
While FreeBSD tends to be pretty good about security by default, the HardenedBSD downstream derivative is out with their latest release based upon FreeBSD 12.
HandBrake 1.2.0 is now available as the latest update to this popular cross-platform, open-source video transcoder software.
In addition to releasing VirtualBox 6.0, Oracle on Tuesday also released an updated version of their Linux kernel downstream geared for their RHEL-cloned Oracle Linux... Now available is Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5 Update 1.
If you recently installed the Radeon Software 18.50 Linux driver package or recently updated your system's firmware from the linux-firmware.git tree and experiencing GPU hangs with Radeon "Vega 10" graphics hardware, the firmware may be to blame.
Oracle VM VirtualBox 6.0 is now officially available as a big feature release to end out 2018.
After originally hoping to ship this past summer, Purism is announcing tonight that the Librem 5 Developer Kits are beginning to ship for those who pre-ordered these i.MX8 developer boards designed for bringing up their inaugural GNU/Linux smartphone.
Just days after the NVIDIA 415.23 Linux driver release that was published to fix 4.20 kernel issues, the NVIDIA 415.25 driver is now available with new product support.
While Windows users last week were greeted by the Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 driver on the Linux side was the Radeon Software for Linux 18.50 release. The only listed public change for this 18.50 Linux hybrid driver build was RHEL 7.6 support, but I've since been able to test and confirm that the Radeon RX 590 is working with this new Linux driver package. As a result, here is a look at the Radeon RX 590 performance from this "AMDGPU-PRO" driver build compared to the latest open-source driver stack in the form of Linux 4.20 with Mesa 19.0-devel.
The Canonical developers maintaining the Mir display server with its modern focus on being a Wayland compositor have just issued Mir 1.1.
Coming to the next version of the Linux kernel is new sound driver support for the AMD ACP3x (Audio Co-Processor 3.x).
2018 sadly wasn't the year that the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) transitioned to a Git workflow for developing this flagship open-source compiler... But Eric S Raymond does continue making progress on being able to convert the GCC tree from SVN to Git.
As some additional end-of-year kernel benchmarking, here is a look at the Linux 4.14 versus 4.20 kernel benchmarks on the same system for seeing how the kernel performance changed over the course of 2018. Additionally, Linux 4.20 was also tested a second time when disabling the Spectre/Meltdown mitigations that added some performance overhead to the kernel this year.
Fedora's Silverblue initiative formerly known as Fedora Atomic Workstation currently doesn't work with the NVIDIA binary driver, but that soon could change.
Building off the Qt 5.12 LTS release from the beginning of December, Qt For Python 5.12 is now available so Python coders can utilize this latest version of the Qt5 tool-kit for building graphical user interfaces.
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS currently relies upon the OpenSSL 1.1.0 library, but a stable release update will soon be taking it to OpenSSL 1.1.1 complete with TLS 1.3 support.
While it's great that Dell offers the ability to have Ubuntu Linux pre-loaded on select systems, one of their shortcomings is that they are often quite slow in supporting new Ubuntu LTS releases. At least now for select Dell Precision mobile workstation laptops, they have finally switched over to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
While Facebook's HHVM "HipHop Virtual Machine" project was born as a faster PHP implementation, with PHP7 offering significant upstream performance improvements and Facebook pursuing their own Hack programming language implementation with HHVM, the v3.3.0 release is the last release officially focusing on PHP language support.
Months after MIPS Technologies was acquired by Wave Computing, the company announced it's working on open-sourcing the MIPS processor instruction set architecture.
Last month Amazon rolled out their "Graviton" ARM processors in the Elastic Compute Cloud. Those first-generation Graviton ARMv8 processors are based on the ARM Cortex-A72 cores and designed to offer better pricing than traditional x86_64 EC2 instances. However, our initial testing of the Amazon Graviton EC2 "A1" instances didn't reveal significant performance-per-dollar benefits for these new instances. In this second round of Graviton CPU benchmarking we are seeing what is the fastest of five of the leading ARM Linux distributions.
Version 5.5 of the RawTherapee open-source RAW image editor that supports Linux, Windows, and macOS is now available for your photo editing needs.
The Intel DRM "Fastboot" option is what allows skipping a mode-set upon the device initalization during the Linux boot process to allow for a slick and smooth Linux desktop boot experience free of any excess flickers. While Intel Fastboot has been an option for years, it isn't yet the default behavior for this graphics driver.
The GNOME-based Ubuntu desktop continues being tuned for better performance.
Vulkan 1.1.96 is out this morning and while it doesn't introduce any new extensions, it does have a number of corrections and clarifications to this graphics/compute API's documentation.
The recently talked about work to improve/restore Linux networking performance around Retpolines is queued now in net-next for the upcoming Linux 4.21 kernel cycle.