While S3 Texture Compression (S3TC) is widely used by many games and applications since its inclusion into OpenGL 1.3 and Microsoft DirectX 6.0, these lossy texture compression algorithms have not been implemented in the open-source Linux graphics drivers. This lack of open-source support is due to S3 Graphics holding the patent rights to this technology that they actively license to major hardware vendors. There long has been an external library that can be loaded and will work with most Mesa / Gallium3D drivers for advertising S3TC support, but it's not found by default and it's not included in leading Linux distributions due to these legal fears. There may now be a new solution for the S3TC Linux problem thanks to the advent of a new (and simpler) texture compression algorithm that can serve as a drop-in replacement.
19 July 2011 - 109 Comments
Last month when publishing Fedora 15 vs. Ubuntu 11.04 benchmarks in some of the disk workloads the Fedora Linux release was behind that of Ubuntu Natty Narwhal. Some users speculated in our forums that SELinux was to blame, but later tests show SELinux does not cause a huge performance impact. With Security Enhanced Linux not to blame, some wondered if Fedora's use of LVM, the Logical Volume Manager, by default was the cause.
1 July 2011 - 29 Comments
"Mobile users are urged to seriously consider these results, and possibly even avoid the Natty Narwhal...I hate to say it, especially in an Ubuntu review, but the mobile edge goes to Windows for now...There are also compelling reasons for folks to avoid [Ubuntu 11.04] at all costs. Linux gamers should see substantial improvements, while mobile users suffer a dramatic loss in battery life," were among the critical comments that Tom's Hardware had in their Ubuntu 11.04 review as they were referencing the power regressions I discovered nearly two months ago within the mainline Linux kernel. As I mentioned on Sunday, the Phoronix Test Suite stack and I have now nailed this major power regression in the Linux 2.6.38 kernel that is affecting a significant number of mobile Linux users. Here is what is happening and a way that you should be able to workaround the serious regression should it affect your computer system(s).
26 June 2011 - 144 Comments
With the Linux 3.0 kernel carrying CleanCache support along with various improvements to the EXT4 and Btrfs file-system modules, it is time for another Phoronix file-system comparison. This time around the EXT4 vs. Btrfs performance is particularly important with Fedora 16 possibly switching to Btrfs by default. Due to this level of interest, for our Linux 3.0 kernel benchmarks of the EXT4 and Btrfs file-systems, an Intel SSD was tested as well as an old 5400RPM IDE notebook hard drive to represent two ends of the spectrum.
24 June 2011 - 14 Comments
As mentioned last week, a plethora of Linux power tests are on the way now that we have found an AC power meter with USB interface that works under Linux and we've been able to integrate nicely into the Phoronix Test Suite and its sensor monitoring framework. In this article is one of the first tests that have been completed using this power-measuring device as we monitored the Linux kernel power consumption for an old Intel Pentium 4 and ATI Radeon 9200 system for the past several kernel releases. Even this very old desktop system looks to be affected by the kernel power problems.
22 June 2011 - 53 Comments
Phoronix Media has announced the immediate release of Phoronix Test Suite 3.2 (codenamed "Grimstad") as the planned quarterly update to their open-source Phoronix Test Suite software. The Phoronix Test Suite provides a framework for conducting qualitative and quantitative tests in a manner that is reproducible, easy-to-use, and fully automated.
15 June 2011 - 8 Comments
Within the free software world, GCC has long been the dominant compiler with it being backed by the Free Software Foundation, it being the most well developed free compiler suite, and is a feature rich offering that is put out under the GNU GPLv3. As of late, LLVM has also been hitting the nail on the head. The Low-Level Virtual Machine with its C/C++ Clang compiler front-end offers great performance, is successful in building code-bases like the Linux kernel, its modular design allows the compiler infrastructure to be used in areas like graphics drivers, is under a BSD-style license, and carries numerous other advantages. Other open-source compilers have advanced too, including the release of PCC 1.0. Now there is a new and extremely interesting option to shake the open-source compiler world: PathScale is freely releasing the source to the EKOPath 4 Compiler Suite. EKOPath 4 is a high-performance compiler that up until now has been proprietary and costs nearly $2000 USD per license, but now it's open-source and can sharply outperform GCC in many computationally-intense workloads.
13 June 2011 - 234 Comments
To much dismay, the major open-source announcement we have been waiting for, did not happen this week. Yes, this is the major open-source announcement that we have codenamed Dirndl. It is really that deserving of such a fitting codename. As our early tests have shown, it can dramatically speed-up the system's performance in computationally intensive workloads. No other open-source solution comes close in many of these tests, albeit there are some other proprietary brethren. In this article are some more details and performance results for what has been called "Dirndl" in technology terms.
11 June 2011 - 39 Comments
As discovered by a Phoronix reader, there is a patch in the Linux 22.214.171.124 kernel that can partially improve the system's power performance. The patch by a Nokia engineer is entitled "cpuidle: menu: fixed wrapping timers at 4.294 seconds" and initial reports have said that it will lower the power consumption compared to the stock 2.6.39 kernel.
8 June 2011 - 20 Comments
Earlier this week there were Fedora 15 vs. Ubuntu 11.04 benchmarks looking at the overall system performance as well as the power consumption. Both of these Linux distributions had performed close to one another, as is expected considering the similarities in their kernel and other packages, but there were some discrepancies in the disk tests. Speculations in the forums were that some of the performance differences might be attributed to SELinux, so here are some tests seeing the performance impact of SELinux on Fedora 15.
4 June 2011 - 10 Comments
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