With Clang 8.0 due out by month's end and GCC 9 due for release not long after that point, this week we've been running a number of GCC and Clang compiler benchmarks on Phoronix. At the start of the month was the large Linux x86_64 GCC vs. Clang compiler benchmarks on twelve different Intel/AMD systems while last week was also a look at the POWER9 compiler performance on the Raptor Talos II. In this article we are checking out these open-source compilers' performance on 64-bit ARM (AArch64) using an Ampere eMAG 32-core server.
Unreal Engine 4.21 back in November was a big update for Linux gamers in that this game engine now defaults to the Vulkan renderer and also had various other fixes. With today's Unreal Engine 4.22 Preview 1 release, there are no Linux/Vulkan-specific changes mentioned, but some other interesting changes in general.
Earlier this month I reported on how Ubuntu developers indicated they were looking at ZFS support on the desktop as part of their work developing the new Ubuntu desktop installer GUI. It's quite clear now that they are indeed pursuing the work to allow Ubuntu desktop installs via their work-in-progress installer to support ZFS root installations.
In addition to needing a recent version of the Linux kernel and Mesa (ideally, Linux 5.0 and Mesa 19.0 if enjoying the very best performance and features) for using a Radeon VII graphics card on Linux, you also need to have the necessary firmware binaries manually installed if not using the Radeon Software for Linux driver package. Those firmware bits are now in the linux-firmware.git repository.
The KDE community is out with their first big update to the Plasma desktop for 2019.
For years now Google has been designing their own embedded controller (EC) for use within Chromebooks / Chrome OS devices.
The latest Qualcomm driver working its way to the mainline Linux kernel is the FastRPC driver and should arrive with Linux 5.1.
After going through several rounds of patch review in recent months, a patch series providing for tracking AVX-512 usage of tasks and exporting it to user-space is poised to be part of the upcoming Linux 5.1 kernel.
While Fedora 31 was once talked about to never happen or be significantly delayed to focus on re-tooling the Linux distribution, they opted for a sane approach not to throw off the release cadence while working on low-level changes around the platform. A draft of the release schedule for Fedora 31 has now been published and it puts the release date at the end of November.
While IBM has their own in-house XL C/C++ compiler for their AIX operating system and GCC is also supported there too, IBM engineers are looking at adding AIX support to LLVM/Clang.
LLVM has merged its support finally for supporting "asm goto" with this inline Assembly support needed for building the Linux x86/x86_64 kernel.
HHVM, formerly known as the HipHop Virtual Machine and what was born at Facebook as a higher-performance PHP implementation only to shift focus to running their own PHP-derived Hack programming language, has reached version 4.0 as it officially no longer supports PHP.
Right now on most Linux distributions when using higher-end Bluetooth headphones, the low-end SBC audio codec ends up being utilized by default which is subpar for the potential audio quality of the more expensive headphones. Fortunately, there are PulseAudio modules that allow for the higher-end codecs to be used.
Fedora's Engineering and Steering Committee approved new work around the in-development Fedora 30.
At the end of January, Dell announced the Dell XPS 13 9380 Developer Edition laptop as an upgraded version of the XPS 9370 with now having Intel Whiskey Lake CPUs and other minor improvements. Over the past two weeks I've been testing out the Dell XPS 9380 with Intel Core i7 8565U processor with 256GB of NVMe SSD storage and 16GB of RAM. Here are benchmarks of the Dell XPS 9380 compared to several other laptops running Ubuntu Linux as well as looking at the system thermal and power consumption among other metrics.
PyPy, the popular Python implementation alternative to the de facto CPython and often faster thanks to its JIT compiler, is up to version 7.0 as of this morning.
Out today is the second release candidate of the feature-packed Sway 1.0 Wayland compositor that continues to be inspired by the i3 window manager.
Pixman 0.38 is out this morning to kick off a new week of open-source software releases. Pixman is the pixel manipulation library used by the X.Org Server, Cairo, and other Linux software projects.
Vulkan 1.1.100 was published this morning as the latest version of this high-performance, multi-platform graphics and compute API.
After failing to make it out last week due to a boot failure bug blocking the release, Ubuntu developers are working on getting out the 18.04.2 LTS point release this week that will ship a new Hardware Enablement "HWE" stack.
We've been looking forward to the possibility of having a nice 64-bit ARM Linux laptop with decent power and nice build quality. Several major vendors having been rolling out Windows ARM laptops powered by Qualcomm chips and the like with decent specs and quality, unlike some of the cheap ARM Linux laptop efforts we've seen. For those Windows ARM laptops, headway is being made in being able to run Linux on them.
KDE Frameworks 5.55 was released this weekend as the latest monthly update to this collection of add-on libraries to Qt5.
While NVIDIA is no longer active promoting their Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix "VDPAU" in favor of the cross-platform, CUDA-focused Video Codec SDK with NVENC/NVDEC, the VDPAU library still sees some rare activity from time to time.
Linus Torvalds has just issued the sixth weekly release candidate for the upcoming Linux 5.0 kernel, which should debut as stable around the end of the month.
GreenWithEnvy v0.11 has been released, the latest version of this third-party, open-source utility for altering the power limits of NVIDIA graphics cards on Linux as well as more overclocking information/controls than what is exposed through the NVIDIA Settings panel with the NVIDIA proprietary driver.
It's been a number of months since last trying the RadeonSI NIR back-end, which is being developed as part of the OpenGL 4.6 SPIR-V bits for this AMD OpenGL driver, but eventually RadeonSI may end up switching from TGSI to NIR by default. Given the time since we last tried it out and the increasing popularity of NIR, this weekend I did some fresh tests of the NIR back-end with a Radeon Vega graphics card.
With the feature freeze for KDE Applications 19.04 happening next month in order to meet the planned 18 April release date, KDE developers are busy getting their new features ready and reviewed for this next round of application updates.
If you missed out on last weekend's FOSDEM event for your fix of Linux technical talks or are just looking for a Linux/open-source event taking place in the beautiful Scandinavia, FOSS-North is coming up now in less than two months.
The Apple MacBook / MacBook Pro laptops of the past few years have been notoriously bad on Linux at least as far as the mainline / out-of-the-box support is concerned. The current MacBook's keyboard and touchpad don't even work out-of-the-box on Linux. There has been an out-of-tree driver available for changing that while coming soon it might finally be merged to the mainline kernel.
Gfx-rs Portability is the library being developed within the Rust programming language that implements the Vulkan Portability Initiative as an effort akin to MoltenVK for easily getting Vulkan applications running on macOS and other platforms where Vulkan API support may not be natively available.
Like GCC, Debian, and other leading free software projects, Wine is hoping to have a few interested students take on some interesting summer projects this year thanks to the annual Google Summer of Code.
This week NVIDIA's research engineers open-sourced StyleGAN, the project they've been working in for months as a Style-based generator architecture for Generative Adversarial Networks.
One bit of Intel consumer hardware support not currently handled by the Linux kernel was for their Cherry Trail Whiskey Cove PMIC LEDs -- that's for the LEDs connected to their power-management IC on various laptops.
RISC-V remains of a lot of interest to open-source/Linux users for being a royalty-free and completely open CPU architecture. In part due to the lack of affordable RISC-V hardware limiting developers from working more on this architecture, the state of RISC-V support by Linux distributions varies but at least has improved a lot in recent years.
The long-awaited OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 distribution update entered alpha for Christmas and this weekend was finally succeeded by the Lx 4.0 Beta 1 milestone.
Back in our NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier benchmarks from December, besides looking at the incredible Carmel+Volta GPU compute potential for machine learning and other edge computing scenarios, we also looked at the ARMv8 Carmel CPU core performance against various other ARM SoCs on different single board computers. But how do these eight NVIDIA Carmel CPU cores compare to x86_64 low-power processors? Here are some of those benchmarks for those curious about the NVIDIA CPU potential.
Intel's Open-Source Technology Center has published a whitepaper looking at the Android application performance impact on Intel-powered Chromebooks when the Android Bionic Library is optimized for AVX2.
Following a move by SUSE blacklisting legacy / less-used file-systems in SUSE Linux Enterprise, OpenSUSE is looking at doing the same to blacklist the kernel modules for a number of esoteric file-systems as well as the likes of JFS and F2FS.
The open-source projects that regularly participate in Google's annual Summer of Code initiative for helping student developers start out their career in free software development are already thinking about GSoC 2019. Debian is among the projects working out their Google Summer of Code 2019 plans and have some interesting project possibilities should they find enough interested students.
Google developers on Friday pushed Chrome 73 into their beta channel as they prepare to button up this web browser update for debuting as stable around 12 March.
With the cutoff this weekend of new material in DRM-Next that hopes to make it in the upcoming Linux 5.1 cycle, besides Intel sending in a last batch, so has AMD with some more AMDGPU changes for this next version of the Linux kernel.
As anticipated with the DRM-Next feature cutoff upon us for the next kernel cycle, Intel's open-source developers today sent out their last planned set of feature changes slated for the Linux 5.1 kernel cycle.
Earlier this week I delivered the results of our largest-ever GCC vs. LLVM Clang Linux x86_64 compiler comparison with a dozen systems from various generations of Intel and AMD CPUs and using 62 benchmarks tested on GCC 8/9 and Clang 7/8 releases. In this article the compiler performance is being looked at for the IBM POWER9 architecture with the benchmarks done on a Raptor Computing Systems Talos II workstation running Ubuntu Linux.
Beyond the FOSDEM conference itself this past week in Brussels, GNOME developers also used the occasion once again for hosting a developer "hackfest" as they prepare for the home stretch in GTK 4.0 development.
Several System76 laptops are beginning to see Coreboot support! This is a nice sign of progress in making System76 hardware more attractive to Linux/open-source users though they aren't yet shipping Coreboot on the systems by default.
Developers working on the "Gallium Nine" Direct3D 9 state tracker are working on supporting the NIR intermediate representation as an alternative option to the default TGSI IR used traditionally by Gallium3D drivers. In supporting NIR, Gallium Nine opens up to some interesting new possibilities.
Formerly known as Intel GPU Tools, the scope of "IGT" has been expanding now for providing tools and functionality testing not only around the Intel DRM/KMS driver but also the other mainline Linux display drivers.
The GCC 9.1.0 release as the first stable version of GCC 9 is stabilizing at a rate where it should debut by/around April. For those sticking to the GCC 8 series a bit longer, the GCC 8.3.0 compiler update is also on the way.
KiCad remains the leading open-source electronic design suite for PCB design and other features. KiCad had a successful 2018 with the software even being used by System76 as part of the daughter board PCB designs with Thelio desktop computer, but looking ahead the developers are still working towards version 6.0.
Besides the ZFS file-system just being a heck of a lot better all-around than FreeBSD's traditional UFS, tooling around ZFS paired with its native snapshot capabilities is allowing for more resilient installations and upgrades of FreeBSD.