Linux Hardware Reviews, Open-Source Benchmarks & Linux Performance

GNOME 3.32 Lands Long-Awaited Fractional Scaling Support

GNOME 3.32 already picked up a wealth of improvements, polishing, and fixing this cycle, but as we hit the final stretch ahead of the desktop's release in two weeks a big feature just squeezed in...

1 March 01:37 PM EST - GNOME - GNOME Fractional Scaling
NVIDIA Has Been Working On A New Fortran "f18" Compiler It Wants To Contribute To LLVM

NVIDIA for a while now has been working on the Flang compiler as an open-source Fortran compiler built atop the LLVM infrastructure and inspired by the Clang C/C++ compiler front-end. Recently though they began a ground-up rewrite of Flang using modern C++ and that effort is now known as f18 and they are looking to mainline this new Fortran compiler front-end.

1 March 01:11 PM EST - NVIDIA - NVIDIA F18
Systemd Lands Support For "XBOOTLDR" Extended Boot Loader

Systemd has just merged support for the "Extended Boot Loader" partition, a.k.a. "XBOOTLDR", that is their bootloader specification they hope will allow Linux distribution vendors to better support dual/multi-boot setups.

1 March 10:11 AM EST - systemd - systemd XBOOTLDR
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti OpenCL Benchmarks, 14-Way NVIDIA/AMD GPU Compute Tests

On Monday we published the initial GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Linux benchmarks focused on gaming but due to having only a limited amount of time with that new Turing GPU at the time, CUDA/OpenCL benchmarks were yet to be completed. Our initial GPU compute tests with that "TU116" graphics card is now complete and we have those Ubuntu Linux benchmark results for sharing.

1 March 09:06 AM EST - Graphics Cards
D9VK Forming As Direct3D 9 Over Vulkan Based On DXVK

Joshua Ashton, the developer who had been working on "DXUP" as a Direct3D 9/10 to D3D11 translation layer so that the output could be fed to DXVK for running on Vulkan is now developing the "D9VK" project.

1 March 05:55 AM EST - WINE - D9VK
Intel's Clear Linux Already Forging Plans To Land GCC 9 & LLVM 8

While we have looked extensively at the performance of generated binaries of user-space applications built under GCC 9, soon we'll be able to benchmark a complete system image built under this annual compiler update to the GNU compiler as Clear Linux is planning a quick roll-out of the soon-to-be-released compiler.

1 March 05:32 AM EST - Clear Linux - GCC 9 + LLVM 8
Linux Lock-Down Kernel Patches Get Revived, Seeking Mainline Inclusion

An effort ongoing for a few years now has been the CONFIG_LOCK_DOWN_KERNEL patches to prevent user-space from being able to modify the kernel image with blocking the ability to load unsigned kernel modules, no writing to /dev/mem, restricting PCI BAR and MSR access, ACPI restrictions, and more. Some Linux distributions are already carrying this work in some form and enabling it with UEFI SecureBoot, but it hasn't been mainlined although could soon change.

1 March 05:22 AM EST - Linux Kernel - CONFIG_LOCK_DOWN_KERNEL
RadeonSI Driver Adding Displayable DCC For Raven Ridge

Delta Color Compression (DCC) support for scan-out surfaces will soon be supported by AMD Raven Ridge hardware in conjunction with the latest AMDGPU Linux kernel code and the RadeonSI OpenGL driver.

1 March 12:06 AM EST - Radeon - Raven Scanout DCC
Linux 5.0, Radeon VII, Intel Iris Driver & Other Exciting Milestones In February

While February is the shortest month, this year there wasn't any letdown of exciting open-source/Linux milestones. Besides the usual FOSDEM conference with the interesting mix of tech topics, AMD's Radeon VII release excited open-source Linux GPU driver fans, Linux 5.0 approached the finish line with a lot of new features, GCC 9 and Clang 8 are also approaching their respective finish lines, and a lot of other activities made this February quite exciting on the Linux/open-source scene.

28 February 09:00 PM EST - Phoronix - February 2019
AMDGPU Begins Staging 200+ Changes For Linux 5.2 Kernel

With the feature cut-off past for getting new Direct Rendering Manager driver changes into DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 5.1 merge window expected to open up this weekend, AMD developers have already begun staging their latest feature work for what in turn will target the Linux 5.2 kernel a few months down the line.

28 February 07:44 PM EST - Radeon - AMDGPU Linux 5.2 WIP
VDPAU Library 1.2 Released With HEVC 4:4:4 Support

While NVIDIA may be divesting from the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix (VDPAU) in favor of their NVENC/NVDEC APIs that are part of the NVIDIA Video Codec SDK, they do continue maintaining the VDPAU library (libvdpau) at least for the time being.

28 February 05:14 PM EST - NVIDIA - libvdpau 1.2
ASRock Rack EPYCD8-2T Makes For A Great Linux/BSD EPYC Workstation - 7-Way OS AMD 7351P Benchmarks

If you are looking to assemble an AMD EPYC workstation, a great ATX motherboard up for the task is the ASRock Rack EPYCD8-2T that accommodates a single EPYC processor, eight SATA 3.0 ports (including SAS HD), dual M.2 PCIe slots, dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports,and four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots all within ATX's 12 x 9.6-inch footprint. This motherboard has been running well not only with various Linux distributions but also DragonFlyBSD and FreeBSD.

28 February 10:35 AM EST - Motherboards
The Intel-Developed Vulkan Overlay Layer Picks Up New Features, Dump FPS To File

It was just one week ago that developers from the Intel Open-Source Technology Center contributed their new Vulkan Overlay later to Mesa 19.1 for providing various performance metrics/statistics of use to application/driver developers. This Vulkan overlay continues being improved upon as well as making it more applicable to gamers/enthusiasts.

28 February 08:02 AM EST - Intel - Mesa Vulkan Overlay
Looking At Why Linux 5.0 Is Running Slower For Apache & PostgreSQL On Some Systems

Last week I reported on some slowdowns when running on the Linux 5.0 development kernel for both Intel and AMD systems. As a few days passed and the regression didn't seem to be figured out and addressed by upstream, and several inquiries from Phoronix readers, I spent some time looking at some of the slowdowns encountered when running on this bleeding-edge code.

27 February 04:24 PM EST - Linux Kernel - Linux 5.0 Bisect
AMDGPU FreeSync Has A Last Minute Fix To Help Prevent Stuttering For Linux 5.0

One of the major end-user features of the new Linux 5.0 kernel that is due to be released this weekend is support for FreeSync / Variable Rate Refresh on AMD Radeon GPUs via the mainline AMDGPU driver. There's a last minute fix requested to help prevent stuttering with this long-awaited feature for Linux gamers.

27 February 03:06 PM EST - Radeon - FreeSync Stuttering
The Performance Impact Of GCC CPU Tuning On The Linux Kernel's Performance

Last week there was the patch being proposed for the mainline Linux kernel that has long been carried by Gentoo's kernel to provide CPU optimization options, which were quickly shot-down by upstream maintainers, there were many requests to benchmark said patches... Here are dozens of performance figures looking at the performance impact of these optimizations for AMD Zen (znver1), Skylake, and Skylake X (Skylake-AVX512) compared to a stock mainline kernel build on several different systems.

27 February 11:44 AM EST - Software
GNU Debugger GDB 8.3 Is On Approach With Many Improvements

The code for the GNU Debugger "GDB" was branched overnight ahead of the upcoming v8.3 release. This release adds for compilation and injection of C++ code, RISC-V improvements, terminal styling capabilities, and a lot more.

27 February 05:38 AM EST - GNU - GDB 8.3
Google Chrome/Chromium Begins Landing POWER PPC64LE Patches

Raptor Computing Systems spent a lot of time last year working on Chrome's PPC64LE support to enable Google's web browser to run on the latest IBM POWER processors. Google was sitting on these patches without any action for months but finally they are beginning to be accepted upstream.

27 February 05:15 AM EST - Desktop - Chrome POWER
AMD Zen 2 "znver2" Support Lands In LLVM Clang 9.0

While it didn't make it in time for the soon to be released LLVM 8.0, the latest LLVM/Clang 9.0 development code has just added support for the Zen 2 "znver2" processors.

27 February 04:09 AM EST - AMD - AMD Znver2
Gallium3D's OpenCL "Clover" Begins Seeing New Activity Land For Mesa 19.1

The first real commits to Gallium3D's Clover OpenCL state tracker in several months were landed on Tuesday for Mesa 19.1. These new commits are part of the Red Hat led effort on improving the open-source OpenCL support with a focus on getting the Nouveau open-source NVIDIA driver compute stack up and running.

27 February 12:00 AM EST - Mesa - Clover + Mesa 19.1
Mesa 19.0-RC6 Released With Many Intel & Radeon Fixes

Mesa 19.0-RC6 is now available for testing and it's quite a big update for this stage of development. Particularly if you are a RADV/RadeonSI AMD Linux user, this update is quite notable.

26 February 08:01 PM EST - Mesa - Mesa 19.0-RC6
A Final Look At The OpenGL vs. Vulkan Performance For Talos Principle

The Talos Principle was the launch title for Vulkan 1.0 when the graphics API debuted three years ago as an alternative to Croteam's OpenGL renderer. Since then Croteam has rolled out its Vulkan support to their other games and now they are in the process of finally phasing out the OpenGL renderer with The Talos Principle. Here's a last look at how the OpenGL and Vulkan performance compares for this multi-platform game.

26 February 04:45 PM EST - Linux Gaming
AMD SEV Firmware Added To Linux-Firmware Tree For Easier Updating

For those making use of Secure Encrypted Virtualization for secure VMs running on AMD EPYC platforms, the firmware bits required for supporting SEV have now been added to the linux-firmware.git tree to allow for easier updating to this virtualization security feature.

26 February 10:30 AM EST - AMD - Secure Encrypted Virtualization
AMDVLK 2019.Q1.6 Vulkan Driver Released

It's been three weeks since the last open-source code push for AMD's "AMDVLK" official open-source Vulkan driver while today they've finally updated their public code-bases and tagged AMDVLK 2019.Q1.6.

26 February 08:57 AM EST - Radeon - AMDVLK 2019.Q1.6
Raptor Engineering Helping To Improve POWER Support In Wine, Eyes Hangover

In hoping to improve the situation for running Windows programs on POWER9 hardware under Linux, Raptor Engineering has contributed a set of patches so far for bringing PowerPC 64-bit little endian support to Wine's library. This is great news if you are a current Talos II customer or hoping to get one of the lower-priced POWER9 Blackbird systems from the company this year.

26 February 07:25 AM EST - WINE - Wine POWER
Measured Boot Support Is Heading To Coreboot

Developers have been working on TPM-backed measured boot support with Coreboot. The patches are pending for upstream Coreboot to be able to offer this trusted boot integration.

26 February 03:06 AM EST - Coreboot - Coreboot Vboot Improvements
Fedora Forms Process For Retiring Packages With Open Security Issues

Last year Fedora's Engineering and Steering Committee approved a plan to drop packages with consistently bad security track records where these packages aren't being punctually maintained in order to address known security vulnerabilities or potentially unmaintained entirely. FESCo has now approved a set of guidelines for the process by which these packages can be retired from Fedora but still stand a chance to be re-adopted and maintained.

26 February 12:57 AM EST - Fedora - Poorly Maintained Packages
LLVM/Clang 9.0 Picks Up Support For Arm's Cortex-A76

For those interested in Arm's Cortex-A76 that was announced last year, this CPU with "desktop-class performance with smartphone efficiency" is now supported by the LLVM Clang compiler.

26 February 12:04 AM EST - Arm - Cortex-A76 + LLVM