Unity 8 Abandonment, Windows 10 vs. Linux Tests Dominated April
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 30 April 2017 at 04:25 PM EDT. Add A Comment
PHORONIX --
It was another busy month on Phoronix with publishing 31 featured articles/reviews and 285 news items. Here's a look back at what readers found most interesting for April.

This month there was the news of Canonical's shift of focus and their abandoning of Unity 8 / convergence / mobile goals. I also ran a number of interesting Linux hardware benchmarks and also provided continued coverage of Linux 4.11 development and early talk about Linux 4.12.

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Here were the most-viewed featured articles on Phoronix for April 2017:

Windows 10 Creators Update vs. Ubuntu 17.04 Linux Radeon Gaming Performance
Given Microsoft's Windows 10 Creators Update earlier this month and the never-ending advancements to the open-source Linux graphics driver stack along with the recent release of Ubuntu 17.04, here are some fresh benchmarks of Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux when running a wide variety of cross-platform games with an AMD Radeon RX 580 and R9 Fury graphics cards.

Ubuntu 17.04 Gaming Performance: Budgie vs. GNOME vs. KDE Plasma vs. MATE vs. Unity vs. Xfce
One of the immediate requests that usually comes in with each new Ubuntu release is a comparison of the Linux gaming performance when trying out the different desktop options. From yesterday's Ubuntu 17.04 release, here are Steam Linux gaming tests with Budgie, GNOME Shell, KDE Plasma 5, MATE, Unity 7, and Xfce4 when using an AMD Polaris graphics card on the RadeonSI driver stack.

AMD Radeon RX 580 Linux OpenGL/Vulkan Benchmarks
For those curious if the Radeon RX 580 "Polaris Evolved" graphics card is worthwhile as a Linux gamer, here are the initial Phoronix figures for the RX 580 8GB graphics card that launched yesterday. These initial tests were done with AMDGPU+RadeonSI/RADV under a variety of OpenGL and Vulkan workloads.

A Look Back At The Desktop & X.Org/Wayland/Mir Milestones Of Ubuntu
With Unity 8 (and Mir) being years behind schedule, Mark Shuttleworth today made the surprise announcement of abandoning Unity 8 and shifting back to GNOME while also stopping their Ubuntu Phone efforts. This was the biggest Ubuntu shock in years and as such I've thrown together today a bit of a tribute or look back at the various desktop milestones of Ubuntu since its first release covered by Phoronix back in 2004. Check it out if you are a relatively new Linux user or just wish to relive the old screenshots of GNOME2, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Ubuntu TV, the early Unity days, the ambitious Mir plans, and more.

Ubuntu 16.10 vs. 17.04 Radeon Graphics Performance
If you read enough Phoronix, you know that Mesa and the Linux kernel's DRM graphics drivers continue advancing at a remarkable pace, especially in recent times. Thus if you were an Ubuntu 16.10 user but planning to upgrade to Ubuntu 17.04, here are some benchmark results showing the performance improvements you can expect with the Radeon/AMDGPU DRM and RadeonSI Gallium3D driver. Plus there are also some results when using the Oibaf PPA on Ubuntu 17.04 to show what more performance can be tapped by switching to Mesa 17.1-dev.

Unigine Superposition Is A Beautiful Way To Stress Your GPU In 2017, 17-Way Graphics Card Comparison
It's already been seven years since Unigine Corp rolled out the Unigine Heaven tech demo and four years since Unigine Valley while in that time while we have seen thousands of Linux game ports emerge, but few can match the visual intensity of these tech demos. In looking to set a new standard for jaw-dropping graphics and preparing to torture current Pascal and Polaris graphics cards as well as future Volta and Vega hardware, Unigine Corp today is releasing Unigine Superposition 1.0. Unigine Superposition is one godly GPU benchmark and is a beauty to watch.

AMDGPU-PRO 17.10 vs. Mesa 17.1 RADV/RadeonSI Performance
Released at the end of last week was a long-awaited update to the Radeon hybrid Linux driver, AMDGPU-PRO. The AMDGPU-PRO 17.10 update brings support for newer kernel releases so this driver finally deploys nicely on Ubuntu 16.04.2 / 16.10 and also has a number of fixes. Here are some benchmark results of this latest AMDGPU-PRO release compared to the latest open-source Radeon Linux driver stack in the form of the Linux 4.11 kernel and Mesa 17.1-dev with OpenGL and Vulkan benchmarks.

AMDGPU vs. Radeon DRM With GCN 1.0/1.1 GPUs On Linux 4.11, Mesa 17.1-dev
With the upcoming Linux 4.11 kernel release as well as for the next cycle (Linux 4.12), the Radeon DRM driver remains the default for AMD GCN 1.0/1.1 GPUs while the newer AMDGPU DRM driver continues offering "experimental" support for these earlier generations of GCN GPUs. As it's been a while since our last Radeon vs. AMDGPU GCN 1.0/1.1 benchmarks, here are some fresh tests today with Linux 4.11 Git.

NVIDIA 381 Linux Beta vs. Linux 4.11 / Mesa 17.1 Radeon Comparison
For those wondering how the bleeding-edge open-source Radeon driver stack is comparing to the latest NVIDIA closed-source binary blob, here are some fresh benchmarks on many different cards. Tested is the new NVIDIA 381.09 binary driver with different Maxwell/Pascal GPUs alongside various AMD GCN card tests using the Linux 4.11 Git kernel and Mesa 17.1-dev Git.

Linux 4.11 File-System Tests: EXT4, F2FS, XFS & Btrfs
With the Linux 4.11 kernel potentially being released as soon as today, here are some fresh benchmarks of Btrfs / EXT4 / F2FS / XFS on a solid-state drive and comparing the performance of 4.11 Git back to Linux 4.9 and 4.10.

And the most-viewed news items:

Ubuntu To Abandon Unity 8, Switch Back To GNOME
Canonical has announced via Mark Shuttleworth they are ending their development of the Unity 8 desktop environment and will be switching back to GNOME desktop by Ubuntu 18.04.

NVIDIA's "Open-Source Guy" Has Left The Company
One of the main public-facing figures to NVIDIA's open-source driver efforts has left the company to pursue a new opportunity.

Debian 9.0 "Stretch" Might Not Have UEFI Secure Boot Support
Debian 9.0 "Stretch" has seen UEFI Secure Boot support no longer being considered a release blocker but is now just a stretch goal for this upcoming release.

Mark Shuttleworth Makes More Comments On Ubuntu GNOME, Mir, Convergence
By now you have probably read Mark Shutttleworth's Google+ comments from Friday concerning Ubuntu GNOME, including the continuing of Snaps, UBports looking to take over Unity 8, and the desire to move quickly in supporting Ubuntu GNOME. He has now provided more follow-up comments.

Qt 5.10 Release Planned For The End Of November, No Qt 5.8.1 Planned
Qt 5.9 is moving closer to release so the release schedule planning around Qt 5.10 is now happening.

Linux 4.12 Should Be Another Exciting, Featureful Cycle
If all goes according to plan, the Linux 4.11 kernel will be officially released this weekend and therefore the Linux 4.12 merge window will immediately open for two weeks. There is a lot on our radar for Linux 4.12.

Google Kahlee: The First AMD-Powered Chromebook
After years of many Intel and ARM Chromebooks, the first AMD-powered Chromebook appears to be gearing up for release.

Debian Issues Statement Over Arrested Russian Developer
Debian developer Dmitry Bogatov was arrested by Russian authorities for running a Tor exit node and accused of supporting terrorism.

Former Compiz Developer: Free Software Desktop Might Enter A Dark Age
With the big shake-up this week at Canonical resulting in abandoning Unity and switching back to GNOME, former Compiz developer and Canonical employee Sam Spilsbury has shared a retrospective on his years of working on Compiz and Unity for Ubuntu.

Mark Shuttleworth Reportedly Returning To Role As Canonical CEO
There's a big meeting going on today at Canonical regarding changes being made at the company. This follows the dramatic news this week of Ubuntu dropping Unity 8 and switching back to GNOME Shell. There's now information obtained that Mark is planning to reprise the role of CEO.
About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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