GL4 In Mesa, Open-Source AMD & Other Things That Made July Great For Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 August 2015 at 08:42 AM EDT. 1 Comment
PHORONIX --
July was a very exciting month for Linux and open-source enthusiasts. There was a ton of activity that in the middle of summer yielded 290 original news postings (almost ten per day!) and 30 featured-length articles/reviews.

Open-source graphics driver progress, Linux 4.2 coming together, the socketed Broadwell CPU appearing, and other milestones made July 2015 an exciting time for Linux enthusiasts. Below is a look at our most popular news and articles for the past month.

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The most popular news for July 2015:

RadeonSI Gets OpenGL 4.5 Derivative Control Support
The latest OpenGL 4+ activity in Mesa this week is a Saturday commit landing another OpenGL 4.5 extension for AMD's RadeonSI Gallium3D driver for GCN graphics processors.

The NSA Is Looking At Systemd's KDBUS
The latest "news tip" is from a Phoronix reader who expressed "concerns" that at least one NSA security analyst is going through the code for KDBUS, the systemd-backed in-kernel IPC mechanism that's planning for integration in Linux 4.3.

Ubuntu Is Finally Fixing Its Annoying GRUB Setting
An annoying setting of Ubuntu's GRUB configuration is going to be finally addressed in Ubuntu 15.10 and will be addressed in current Ubuntu releases via a stable release update.

Shashlik: A New Way To Run Android Apps On Linux
Shashlik is an "Android Simulated Environment" to serve as a launcher for running Android applications on a conventional GNU/Linux distribution.

EXT3 File-System Driver To Be Removed From The Linux Kernel
With the EXT4 file-system having been stable for years as an evolutionary upgrade to EXT3, the EXT4 module supporting mounting EXT3 file-systems, and most (all?) Linux distributions having switched to EXT4 by default, there's now patches for removing the EXT3 file-system driver from the Linux kernel.

It's Been Five Months Since I Left Ubuntu For Fedora On My Main Workstation
It's been five months since I quit using Ubuntu Linux on my main production system and switched over to Fedora Workstation. Looking back, it was a fantastic decision.

OpenGL 4.1 Support Now Enabled In Mesa Git For AMD RadeonSI
The OpenGL 4.1 patches for RadeonSI have now landed in Mesa Git master!

Firefox 39.0 Brings New Features, HTML5 Changes
Firefox 39.0 is available this morning before the 4th of July weekend holiday in the US.

Btrfs Seems To Finally Have Failed Me On A Production System
In the Phoronix server room for our Linux hardware testing and the LinuxBenchmarking.com daily performance tracker there are 16 of the 56 systems running Btrfs as their root file-system. While those systems have been chugging along for months and many of them running the latest daily Git kernel, I've finally had one of the systems run into some apparent Btrfs file-system issues.

Mozilla Planning Invasive Changes To The Fundamentals Of Firefox
Firefox developers are revisiting at how they build their web browser and how they can better utilize modern web technologies and in the process move away from XUL/XBL within their Gecko Engine.

Ubuntu Making Progress On Snappy Personal Desktop
For those interested, it's becoming possible to play with Ubuntu's Snappy next-generation package manager from a personal desktop.

Confirmed: America's Army Is Coming Back To Linux
As a quick follow-up to America's Army looking at SteamOS/Linux support from earlier this week, it turns out the developers are indeed exploring a Linux client and server.

The most popular articles/reviews:

A Week With GNOME As My Linux Desktop: What They Get Right & Wrong
When I sent the Fedora 22 KDE Review off to Michael I did it with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. It wasn't because I didn't like KDE, or hadn't been enjoying Fedora, far from it. In fact, I started to transition my T450s over to Arch Linux but quickly decided against that, as I enjoyed the level of convenience that Fedora brings to me for many things.

NVIDIA's Tegra X1 Delivers Stunning Performance On Ubuntu Linux
NVIDIA's Tegra X1 64-bit ARM SoC running (non-Android) Linux is a beast! I was given access to a SHIELD Android TV that was configured to run Ubuntu Linux, which has led for some exciting benchmarks. In some workloads, the Tegra X1 comes up just shy of an Intel Core i3 "Broadwell" system. The Tegra X1 has me very excited about the future of ARMv8 hardware on Linux and NVIDIA's continued Tegra advancements.

The AMD Radeon R9 Fury Is Currently A Disaster On Linux
When AMD announced the Radeon R9 Fury line-up powered by the "Fiji" GPU with High Bandwidth Memory, I was genuinely very excited to get my hands on this graphics card. The tech sounded great and offered up a lot of potential, and once finally finding an R9 Fury in stock, shelled out nearly $600 for this graphics card. Unfortunately though, thanks to the current state of the Catalyst Linux driver, the R9 Fury on Linux is a gigantic waste for OpenGL workloads. The R9 Fury results only exemplifies the hideous state of AMD's OpenGL support for their Catalyst Linux driver with a NVIDIA graphics card costing $200 less consistently delivering better gaming performance.

Intel Iris Pro 6200 Graphics Are A Dream Come True For Open-Source Linux Fans
The Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 (GT3e) as the fastest Broadwell GPU boasting an eDRAM cache and 48 execution units is a dream for open-source fans. Backed by a fully open-source Linux graphics driver, the Iris Pro Graphics 6200 found on the socketed Core i7 5775C is a dream come true that can compete with mid-range Radeon graphics cards on their open-source driver.

The Many New Features Of The Linux 4.2 Kernel
If all goes according to plan, the Linux 4.2 kernel merge window will close this afternoon followed by the immediate release of the Linux 4.2-rc1 test version. With all major pull requests having already been submitted for Linux 4.2, here's an overview of the exciting new features and changed functionality to look forward to with this kernel version to officially debut later this summer!

How To Make CS:GO Run Much Faster On AMD Catalyst For Linux
Should you be using a Radeon graphics card with the AMD Catalyst Linux driver and are disappointed by the poor performance, there is a very easy workaround for gaining much better performance under Linux... In some cases a simple tweak will yield around 40% better performance!

AMD's Latest Open-Source Driver On Linux Is Getting Competitive With Catalyst 15.7
With the big Catalyst 15.7 Linux driver update released last week and the continued evolution of the open-source AMD Linux driver in the Linux kernel and Mesa Gallium3D, here are fresh benchmarks of six different AMD Radeon graphics cards when being tested on both the open and closed-source drivers to represent the AMD Linux gaming experience this summer.

6-Way File-System Comparison On The Linux 4.1 Kernel
With the Linux 4.1 kernel having recently been released, I decided to conduct a fresh round of file-system comparisons on this new kernel using a solid-state drive. The file-systems tested in this article were the in-tree EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, F2FS, ReiserFS, and NILFS2 file-systems while a follow-up article will take a look at the out-of-tree contenders like Reiser4 and ZFS atop Linux 4.1.

The New AMD GPU Open-Source Driver On Linux 4.2 Works, But Still A Lot Of Work Ahead
With the Linux 4.2 kernel settling down nicely and AMD developers having already sent in a few round of fixes for their new AMDGPU kernel DRM driver, I've started testing out this new kernel driver -- plus the new xf86-video-amdgpu DDX and the associated new Mesa/LibDRM code -- that is providing the open-source accelerated graphics support for Tonga and all new/future GPUs like Carrizo and Fiji.

Open-Source Linux Graphics: A10-7870K Godavari vs. i7-4790K Haswell vs. i7-5775C Broadwell
Earlier this week I posted some interesting Linux graphics benchmarks comparing the open-source Mesa/Gallium3D drivers for the Iris Pro 6200 Graphics on the Intel Core i7-5775C "Broadwell" CPU compared to several discrete graphics cards. Those results were quite interesting with this new socketed Intel CPU able to blow discrete mid-range AMD Radeon graphics cards out of the water on the open-source Linux drivers. Here's the next part of the testing in showing how the Iris Pro 6200 graphics compare to Haswell HD Graphics 4600 and the current top-end APU, the AMD A10-7870K Godavari.
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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