October 12, 2011 -- Last week I published benchmark results of using Intel AES-NI for Ubuntu home directory encryption, but the benefits of using this new x86 instruction set found on the latest Intel and AMD (as of today's Bulldozer launch) processors was minimal for this eCryptfs-based solution. Continuing in the AES-NI investigation under Linux, today are benchmark results when using AES-NI for full-disk encryption with dmcrypt.
October 07, 2011 -- While I was away for three weeks, there was an update on LP bug #760131, the infamous bug report on the power consumption being raised significantly higher in Ubuntu Natty. This bug report of high importance now indicates a fix being committed to Natty and a fix being released for Oneiric, but what has changed? Here is an update.
October 06, 2011 -- Supported by modern Intel processors is the AES instruction set, which is designed to improve the speed of encryption and decryption on the CPU for AES, the Advanced Encryption Standard. Under Ubuntu Linux, even for supported hardware, the Intel AES-NI capability is not taken advantage of when enabling its data encryption feature. The Intel AES-NI support can be easily enabled, but what is the impact on performance? Here are some benchmarks.
October 03, 2011 -- Recently I published benchmarks of Btrfs from a Serial ATA 3.0 SSD (the excellent OCZ Vertex 3 SSD) and those results were interesting, but most people aren't running 6Gb/s solid-state drives, so how does this next-generation file-system perform on the opposite end of the spectrum? In this article are EXT4 and Btrfs benchmarks from an old Core Duo notebook with a 5400RPM mobile hard drive.
September 15, 2011 -- On Tuesday at XDC2011 Chicago I hosted a question and answer panel about contributing to X.Org, Mesa, and the Linux kernel. Much of the information presented, however, is relevant to any open-source / free software project. The panel participants were largely graphics driver developers that started off contributing to open-source when at university and some of them have since moved on to working for major Linux companies, i.e. Intel and Red Hat. The talk was very interesting and Chicago computer science students were free to ask questions of them.
September 14, 2011 -- With more and more of one's personal and professional lives being on the computer, encrypting and properly securing those computers -- particularly mobile devices -- is incredibly important. Sadly, it's not often thought about until it's too late. It has become relatively easy to protect your personal data on Ubuntu Linux with home directory encryption support being just a checkbox-away within the installer or even full-disk LVM encryption when using Ubuntu's alternate installer. Previous tests of Ubuntu disk encryption performance have shown there is some penalty in disk-centric workloads, but the benefits are certainly worth it. In this article is a look at the Ubuntu home encryption performance under Ubuntu 11.10 with both old and new laptops.
September 10, 2011 -- Next Tuesday at XDC2011 Chicago I am hosting a Q&A panel about contributing to X.Org and open-source projects, where the panel participants are largely comprised of well known X.Org and Mesa developers that began contributing while at university. In hopes of sparking new contributors to these key open-source projects, computer science students from the major Chicago universities have been invited to attend this panel discussion and anyone else wishing to learn more about open-source development. In preparation for this panel, I have been collecting some new development statistics on Mesa and X.Org.
August 25, 2011 -- It's approaching the one-year anniversary of when Mark Shuttleworth announced Ubuntu is going to deploy Wayland with Unity, eventually. As those know that pay attention to the continual flow of information from Phoronix regarding the next-generation Wayland Display Server and Linux graphics drivers in general, it's being developed at a brisk pace and with several key open-source projects now betting big on its adoption, but how's it playing in the soon-to-be-released Ubuntu 11.10?
August 22, 2011 -- If you were hoping that the Linux 3.1 kernel would fix the big power regression problem that's caused by PCI Express Active State Power Management (ASPM) being disabled on more systems since the release of the Linux 2.6.38 kernel, you're not in luck. There has not been any active work in this area. Making things worse though for mobile Linux users interested in a long lasting battery is another new regression in the Linux 3.1 kernel. Affected systems can easily see a 30% increase in power consumption simply when comparing the Linux 3.0 kernel to the current code being assembled for Linux 3.1. For an Intel Sandy Bridge notebook, the power consumption is up by 76% just over the course of this year from Linux kernel regressions.
August 16, 2011 -- This month marks the two-year anniversary of the release of BFS, the Brain Fuck Scheduler, for the Linux kernel. While BFS has not been merged into the mainline Linux kernel, the scheduler is still actively maintained by Con Kolivas and patches are updated for new kernel releases. The BFS scheduler has also reached mild success and adoption over the past two years. In this article is a fresh look at the Brain Fuck Scheduler along with a fresh round of benchmarks from the Linux 3.0 kernel.