Linux Hardware Reviews, Open-Source Benchmarks & Linux Performance

GCC 8/9 vs. LLVM Clang 7/8 Compiler Performance On AArch64

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.

45 Minutes Ago - Software
Unreal Engine 4.22 Preview 1 Released With Real-Time Ray-Tracing

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.

3 Hours Ago - Linux Gaming - Unreal Engine 4.22
Ubuntu Developers Seem To Be Really Pursuing ZFS Root Partition Support On The Desktop

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.

4 Hours Ago - Ubuntu - Ubuntu Desktop + ZFS Root
Radeon VII (Vega 20) Firmware Support Lands In Linux-Firmware.Git

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.

6 Hours Ago - Radeon - linux-firmware.git
Fedora 31 Should Be Out Around The End of November

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.

14 Hours Ago - Fedora - Fedora 31 Schedule Draft
Facebook Releases HHVM 4.0 With PHP No Longer Supported

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.

11 February 05:47 PM EST - Free Software - HHVM 4.0
PulseAudio Plugin Allows For Better Bluetooth Audio Quality On Linux

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.

11 February 04:27 PM EST - Hardware - Better Linux Bluetooth Audio
Dell XPS 13 9380 + Intel Core i7 8565U Ubuntu Linux Performance Benchmarks

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.

11 February 12:30 PM EST - Computers
It's Becoming Possible To Run Linux Distributions On The HP/ASUS/Lenovo ARM Laptops

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.

11 February 06:34 AM EST - Hardware - Linux + Windows ARM Laptops
NVIDIA's VDPAU Picks Up HEVC 4:4:4 Support

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.

11 February 05:58 AM EST - NVIDIA - NVIDIA VDPAU
GreenWithEnvy 0.11 Released For More Overclocking Potential Of NVIDIA GPUs On Linux

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.

10 February 02:49 PM EST - NVIDIA - GreenWithEnvy Overclocking
Running The RadeonSI NIR Back-End With Mesa 19.1 Git

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.

10 February 12:05 PM EST - Display Drivers
Linux Might Finally See Mainline Support For The Current Apple MacBook Keyboard/Touchpad

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.

10 February 08:00 AM EST - Hardware - Apple MacBook Pro
The Rust Vulkan Gfx-rs Portability Initiative Reaches New Milestone

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.

10 February 07:18 AM EST - Vulkan - Gfx-rs Rust + Vulkan Portability
The State Of Debian & Fedora On The RISC-V Architecture

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.

9 February 07:31 PM EST - Operating Systems - Still A Lot To Do
NVIDIA's Jetson AGX Xavier Carmel Performance vs. Low-Power x86 Processors

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.

9 February 11:39 AM EST - Processors
Electron Apps Are Bad, So Now You Can Create Desktop Apps With HTML5 + Golang

The Electron software framework that allows creating desktop GUI application interfaces using JavaScript and relies upon a bundled Chromium+Node.js run-time is notorious among most Linux desktop users for being resource heavy, not integrating well with most desktops, and generally being despised. For those that are fond of using web standards for creating desktop GUIs, now there is a way to create desktop application front-ends using HTML5 and Golang but with less baggage.

9 February 06:52 AM EST - Desktop - HTML5 + Golang
OpenSUSE Looking At Blacklisting Legacy & Less Secure File-Systems

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.

9 February 06:35 AM EST - SUSE - File-System Blacklist
Debian Could See Expanded Android SDK Support & Better PHP Packaging Via GSoC 2019

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.

9 February 06:16 AM EST - Debian - Google Summer of Code
GCC 8/9 vs. LLVM Clang 7/8 Compiler Performance On POWER9 With The Raptor Talos II

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.

8 February 12:08 PM EST - Software
Some System76 Hardware Beginning To See Coreboot Support

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.

8 February 09:11 AM EST - Coreboot - System76 + Coreboot
GCC 9 Continues Stabilizing While GCC 8.3 Will Slip In Soon

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.

8 February 06:11 AM EST - GNU - GCC 9.1 + GCC 8.3