Linux Hardware Reviews, Open-Source Benchmarks & Linux Performance

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An interesting anecdote shared in today's Linux 5.7-rc7 announcement is word that Linux and Git creator Linus Torvalds switched his main rig over to an AMD Ryzen Threadripper.

2 Hours Ago - AMD - Torvalds + Threadripper

While last week's Linux 5.7-rc6 kernel was quite big, Linux 5.7-rc7 is out today and it's on the smaller side of things in reassuring Linus Torvalds that the stable release of this kernel can happen soon.

Stemming from recent kernel discussions over a hypothetical new system call for reading small files more efficiently, Greg Kroah-Hartman has been working on the readfile() system call and it's looking like it is taking shape well enough to premiere soon in a new mainline kernel release.

For those AMD Ryzen laptop users eager to see the Sensor Fusion Hub driver for supporting the different hardware sensors on these AMD Zen laptops, that driver still isn't going to be merged for the upcoming Linux 5.8 cycle even after the patches were first published months ago.

11 Hours Ago - AMD - AMD SFH

While modern AMD EPYC CPUs support Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) and Intel more recently has been working on MKTME for similarly offering hardware-backed total memory encryption, an Intel open-source engineer has now proposed a software-based solution for protected memory support for KVM virtualization.

Ardour 6.0 is now available as the latest major release of this high-end yet open-source digital audio workstation (DAW) package that runs across all major platforms.

NVIDIA on Friday released Nsight Graphics 2020.3 as the newest version of their proprietary tool for profiling and debugging Direct3D / Vulkan / OpenGL / OpenVR software.

15 Hours Ago - NVIDIA - Nsight 2020.3

TUXEDO Computers has launched their first AMD-powered Linux laptop! The excitement quickly faded though when seeing it's not a Renoir design.

16 Hours Ago - AMD - TUXEDO Book BA15

There is a lot of wireless (and wired) networking activity each kernel cycle but for the upcoming Linux 5.8 merge window it looks like there will be particularly a lot for MediaTek drivers.

The first beta of the forthcoming PostgreSQL 13.0 is now available for evaluation. PostgreSQL 13 is coming with many new features with this article serving as a quick look plus some very preliminary benchmarks.

23 May

Published back in February were the Linux kernel enablement patches for a new "ComboPHY" driver for supporting the company's forthcoming Gateway SoC. That code is now set to be included in the next kernel cycle, Linux 5.8.

23 May 07:40 PM EDT - Intel - Intel ComboPHY

Linux I/O expert Jens Axboe who oversees the kernel's block layer and is employed by Facebook while working on IO_uring and other storage innovations has recently been working on async buffered reads support.

23 May 03:40 PM EDT - Linux Storage - Async Buffered Reads On Linux

This week marked the release of the dav1d 0.7 AV1 video decoder with more performance optimizations thanks to more hand-tuned Assembly and other tweaking of this leading CPU-based AV1 video decoder. Here are benchmarks compared to the prior dav1d 0.5 and 0.6 releases.

With KDE Plasma 5.19 due for its stable release in early June, development efforts are beginning to focus on Plasma 5.20 for release later this year.

23 May 09:29 AM EDT - KDE - KDE Happenings

With the recently minted GCC 10 compiler there was a request to see some fresh benchmarks at different compiler optimization levels and flags like LTO.

23 May 07:00 AM EDT - GNU - GCC 10.1

Just hours after the release of Wine 5.9, the latest staging release is now available that is re-based to the latest upstream while continuing to toss in over eight hundred extra patches.

23 May 06:34 AM EDT - WINE - Wine-Staging 5.9

While MIPS Release 6 is the latest version of the MIPS ISA, the MIPS Release 5 support is finally set to be mainlined with the upcoming Linux 5.8 kernel cycle.

23 May 03:14 AM EDT - Hardware - MIPSr6 + Warror

While still on the Solaris 11.4 series and no signs of major advancements beyond it, SRU21 was released this week by Oracle with quite a number of package updates.

23 May 12:09 AM EDT - Oracle - Solaris 11.4 SRU21

22 May

Intel is extending their Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework (DPTF) Linux support with battery participant device support.

22 May 05:59 PM EDT - Intel - DPTF Battery

Wine 5.9 is out as the latest bi-weekly development release for this software allowing Windows games and applications to generally run quite gracefully on Linux.

22 May 03:11 PM EDT - WINE - Wine 5.9

When it comes to the support for AMD Ryzen 4000 "Renoir" laptop support under Linux, as outlined in my testing so far this month the main caveat is needing Linux 5.6~5.7 for good graphics support but on the likes of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with Linux 5.4 you will not have GPU acceleration. At least in the case of the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 I have been using to test, you also need Linux 5.7 Git for battery sensor support. Another item that in turn is coming with Linux 5.8 is CPU temperature reporting for the Renoir processors.

22 May 02:16 PM EDT - AMD - Renoir Temps

Last week Amazon AWS promoted their Graviton2 instances to general availability status with a variety of different sized EC2 instances as well as a bare metal instance for tapping the full potential of their new SoC that features 64 Arm Neoverse N1 cores. Last week we ran through many benchmarks looking at Graviton2 on EC2 and bare metal performance while here is a follow-up article with more benchmarks and looking at how the sixty-four core Arm Graviton2 compares to AMD's EPYC 7742 64-core CPU with and without SMT.

The Linux kernel patches that have been spearheaded by Amazon AWS engineers to optionally flush the L1 data cache on each context switch have now been queued in the x86/mm branch ahead of the upcoming Linux 5.8 kernel cycle.

There hasn't been too much to report on the open-source NVIDIA "Nouveau" kernel driver in some time since the enabling of Turing and no apparent progress on re-clocking to allow the graphics cards to hit their rated clock frequencies (the longstanding, number one limitation for this open-source driver), but some changes were sent in today for the upcoming Linux 5.8 kernel merge window.

22 May 07:17 AM EDT - Nouveau - Nouveau For Linux 5.8

Allwinner Tech has prepared their initial Linux kernel patches for bringing up the A100 SoC. The A100 SoC is one of their newest tablet-focused SoCs moving forward.

22 May 07:08 AM EDT - Arm - Allwinner A100

Facebook's compression experts responsible for Zstandard have today released Zstd 1.4.5 with more performance improvements.

Beyond the usual excitement of numerous x86 and Arm hardware advancements each cycle, Linux 5.8 is bringing new IBM POWER enablement work.

22 May 01:45 AM EDT - Hardware - Prefixed Instructions

21 May

Adding to Microsoft's wild ride this week after announcing Linux GUI apps for WSL2 and in turn writing their own Wayland compositor, Direct3D sort of for WSL2/Linux, and other announcements out of BUILD 2020, the company has announced the open-sourcing of their original BASIC implementation.

Last month we reported on Wine's Direct3D Vulkan back-end seeing new activity as an alternative to the project's mature Direct3D-to-OpenGL path. Over the course of May work on this Vulkan back-end has edged only even higher.

21 May 07:37 PM EDT - WINE - WineD3D Vulkan

TPAUSE is the new instruction supported by Intel's Tremont microarchitecture and beyond. TPAUSE allows for an optimized state that can provide low wake-up latency compared to existing delay mechanisms. With Linux 5.8, the kernel will begin making use of TPAUSE where supported.

21 May 05:47 PM EDT - Intel - TPAUSE

The VideoLAN team responsible for the dav1d AV1 video decoder have just released dav1d 0.7 as the newest feature release and it comes with more performance optimizations.

While most of you are well aware how Linux often slaughters Microsoft Windows performance on high-end desktop and platform servers with large core counts, on smaller systems it can be a different story and often comes down to the particular workloads and any peculiarities of the hardware under test. With recently buying the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 (14) for our AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Linux benchmarking, here are some benchmarks for how that Zen 2 laptop is comparing with different workloads between Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

While Red Hat Enterprise Linux deprecated Btrfs and no longer supports it on RHEL8, Oracle does continue supporting this Linux file-system on their RHEL-based Oracle Linux when using the company's "Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel" alternative to their Red Hat Compatible Kernel. An Oracle engineer put out a lengthy post outlining the highlights of Btrfs in their new Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 6.

21 May 07:43 AM EDT - Oracle - Oracle + Btrfs + UEK6

For reasons currently unknown, Intel released new CPU microcode on Wednesday for their Sandy Bridge processors.

21 May 06:52 AM EDT - Intel - Sandy Bridge

In addition to working on easy ZFS encryption for Ubuntu 20.10, the Ubiquity installer in its latest code for this next Ubuntu Linux release is now enabling TRIM by default for all Zpools.

21 May 03:45 AM EDT - Ubuntu - ZFS autotrim=on

A patch slated to be merged for the Linux 5.8 kernel cycle next month that simply deletes ten lines of code (well, six lines of code and four lines of comments) will for some systems yield "significant power savings" due to an oversight in the kernel code that has lasted for about twelve years.

21 May 01:35 AM EDT - Hardware - Linux 5.8

As a result of increased bug reports where Linux users are reporting Intel graphics hangs but not including the most pertinent details like the Mesa version, the Intel Mesa drivers are now embedding the driver name and Mesa version as part of their error state.

21 May 01:09 AM EDT - Intel - The Darn Version

20 May

For months now Intel's open-source driver developers have been working on the "Gen12" graphics support needed most notably for Tiger Lake and more recently is also confirmed for Rocket Lake. But Gen12 is also needed for the highly anticipated Xe Graphics with the discrete graphics offerings to come in the months ahead by Intel. Building off the existing Gen12 graphics driver code, Intel today published the first DG1 patches for enabling their first discrete graphics card under Linux.

20 May 09:41 PM EDT - Intel - DG1 Discrete Xe Graphics

The fourth weekly release candidate is available of Mesa 20.1, the Q2'2020 feature update to the open-source OpenGL / Vulkan driver stack predominantly used by Linux systems. This is the last scheduled release candidate with Mesa 20.1 stable potentially coming out next week if testing goes well and the remaining blocker bugs are addressed.

20 May 05:42 PM EDT - Mesa - Mesa 20.1

Adding to the amount of surprising news this week, Electronic Arts just announced they will be open-sourcing portions of Command and Conquer Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert in order to help the mod community around this franchise.

Compute Express Link is the interconnect standard backed by Intel, AMD, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Dell, and others for building off PCI Express with new CPU-to-device and CPU-to-memory capabilities. Intel's stellar open-source team has been working on plumbing the Linux kernel support for this next generation of devices.

20 May 02:43 PM EDT - Intel - Compute Express Link

RenderDoc 1.8 is out as the newest feature release for this cross-platform, open-source graphics debugging and profiling utility for Vulkan, Direct3D 11/12, OpenGL, and OpenGL ES APIs.

Intel announced at the end of April the 10th Gen Core "Comet Lake" S-Series CPUs with the Core i9 10900K being their new top-end processor with a 10 core / 20 thread processor that can clock up to 5.3GHz. The Comet Lake S-Series desktop CPUs are now shipping and this morning the embargo lifts in being able to publish the benchmarks. Here is how the Intel Core i5 10500K and Core i9 10900K processors are performing on Linux from Steam on Linux gaming to various interesting real-world workloads.

Microsoft is working on its own Wayland compositor derived from the Weston code-base.

20 May 07:09 AM EDT - Microsoft - Microsoft + Wayland

FUSE for file-systems in user-space while being criticized by developers in the past and known for being slower than kernel native file-systems is seeing another write optimization come Linux 5.8.

AMD on Tuesday sent in another batch of feature updates for Linux 5.8 with the cut-off for new material upon us with this next kernel cycle expected to begin in early June.

20 May 04:16 AM EDT - Radeon - Radeon Thermal Faults

AI startup Habana Labs, which was recently acquired by Intel, will see its Gaudi accelerator supported by the upcoming Linux 5.8 kernel.

20 May 02:05 AM EDT - Hardware - Habana Labs Gaudi