Linux 4, GCC v. Clang & Vulkan Were Among The Hot Stories So Far This Year
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 2 July 2015 at 08:49 AM EDT. Add A Comment
FREE SOFTWARE --
Now being half-way through the year, here's a look back at the most popular open-source/Linux news so far this year. There's been a lot of interesting events and releases happening so far in 2015 with Phoronix having published 1,577 original news stories (an average of nine per day) and 98 Linux hardware reviews / featured-length articles.

2015 has been great so far for Linux desktop users / enthusiasts / gamers with the announcement of Vulkan and SPIR-V, the debut of the feature-packed Fedora 22, the continued maturing of open-source drivers, and more features continuing to be loaded into the Linux kernel while having better hardware support. It's also been a magnificent year so far for developers on Linux with the amazing GCC 5 release that is one of the biggest compiler releases in years for the GPL project, continued improvements benefiting the cloud and those into containers, etc, and many other milestones. On the hardware side it's been a great year to date with Broadwell systems becoming more common, Skylake just around the corner, NVIDIA Maxwell GPUs continuing to dominate, AMD's Fiji GPU with High Bandwidth Memory showing much promise, SSDs continuing to fall in price, etc.

Last month on Phoronix we celebrated Phoronix turning eleven and here's a look at the top ten most viewed Phoronix articles so far in 2015:

Eric S. Raymond Calls LLVM The "Superior Compiler" To GCC
Joining in on the heated discussion that originated over Richard Stallman voicing concerns over adding LLVM's LLDB debugger support to Emacs, Eric S Raymond has come out to once again voice his support in favor of LLVM/Clang and express his feelings that GCC's leading days are over.

BQ Aquaris E5 Ubuntu Phone Being Released Next Week
Beginning next week the BQ Aquaris E5 pre-loaded with Ubuntu Phone will become available in Europe.

Linux 4.0-RC1 Tagged, Linux 4.0 Will Bring Many Notable Improvements
Linus Torvalds has decided to go ahead and rename the Linux 3.20 kernel to Linux 4.0 per his polling last week. Torvalds released Linux 4.0-rc1 on Sunday night and this release comes with many significant updates.

PlayStation 4 System Compiler Support Landing In LLVM
Support for Sony's PlayStation 4 game console code generation is landing within LLVM's open-source compiler infrastructure.

Does VirtualBox VM Have Much A Future Left?
It's been a long time since last hearing of any major innovations or improvements to VirtualBox, the VM software managed by Oracle since their acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Is there any hope left for a revitalized VirtualBox?

GL_AMD_pinned_memory Lands In Mesa
Support for the GL_AMD_pinned_memory OpenGL extension has landed within Mesa and is implemented for the R600g and RadeonSI Gallium3D drivers. This patch series also lands the Userptr support for the open-source AMD graphics drivers on the user-space side.

Raspberry Pi 2 Linux Benchmarks: Arch, Raspbian & Overclocking
Thanks to the open-source Phoronix Test Suite and OpenBenchmarking.org, there's already many benchmarks of the new quad-core Raspberry Pi 2.

The Big Features Of The Linux 4.0 Kernel
Linux 4.0 should be officially released within the next few weeks. In anticipation of its April debut, here's a look at some of the big features for this next version of the Linux kernel.

Valve Developed An Intel Linux Vulkan GPU Driver
For helping out ISVs and game developers test out their initial Vulkan code, they developed their own Intel Vulkan GPU graphics driver for Linux that they intend to open-source.

Chrome OS Switches To "Freon" Graphics Stack To Replace X11
Released this past week was Chrome OS 41 and besides having improved WiFi stability, updates to the guest mode wallpaper, and other changes, some Chrome OS devices have been updated to Google's new "Freon" graphics stack. Freon further removes X11 dependencies from Google's world and will yield performance improvements in the future. Freon isn't based directly on Wayland nor Mir.

Our top-ten most viewed articles meanwhile this year have been:

Comparing Today's Modern CPUs To Intel's Socket 478 Celeron & Pentium 4 NetBurst CPUs
With Phoronix having turned 11 years old last week, there's been several interesting articles looking at the historical performance of Linux, large GPU/driver comparisons, etc. Today is arguably the most interesting birthday article yet. I dug out an old Intel Socket 478 system with the i875p Canterwood chipset and Pentium 4 and Celeron CPUs that still manage to power up. I compared the Linux performance of this 11+ year old system to a variety of today's x86 and ARM systems. Beyond looking at the raw performance, the performance-per-Watt was also measured to make for a very interesting look at how CPU performance has evolved over the past decade.

OS X 10.10 vs. Ubuntu 15.04 vs. Fedora 21 Tests: Linux Sweeps The Board
With having a new Apple Mac Mini in our testing labs this week, I ran some basic benchmarks comparing Mac OS X 10.10.2 to Ubuntu 15.04 to Fedora 21 in a few different configurations.

Linux 4.0 Hard Drive Comparison With Six File-Systems
It's been a while since last running any Linux file-system tests on a hard drive considering all of the test systems around here are using solid-state storage and only a few systems commissioned in the Linux benchmarking test farm are using hard drives, but with Linux 4.0 around the corner, here's a six-way file-system comparison on Linux 4.0 with a HDD using EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, and even NTFS, NILFS2, and ReiserFS.

Intel Broadwell HD Graphics 5500: Windows 8.1 vs. Linux
Linux graphics tests of Intel's Broadwell hardware are finally here! Going back to November of 2013 is when Intel began putting out open-source Broadwell HD Graphics code. Since the initial Broadwell code drop, I've written dozens of articles to date covering the Linux kernel work, Mesa DRI OpenGL driver progress, Beignet OpenCL compute support, and other key Linux components work on Intel Broadwell support. A few days ago I received the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon with Core i7 Broadwell CPU to finally see how the Linux support has panned out for this next-generation line-up succeeding Haswell.

Turning A Basement Into A Big Linux Server Room
This week I posted about my new server room, where there's Linux benchmarks constantly happening on the Linux kernel and other open-source code via the Phoronix Test Suite and Phoromatic. With many Phoronix readers having been interested in the basement makeover I did to turn a ugly, boring basement into a clean server room, here's more details and pictures on the month-long renovation along with various tips and product recommendations from the experience. This server room is now almost up to 50 systems and is complete with a drink bar and projector. There's plenty of pictures and details for those hoping to build their own personal basement server room, including a few tips for increasing the wife acceptance factor of the big project.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Works Great As A Linux Ultrabook
Nearly one month ago I bought the third-generation Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon as one of the first laptops/ultrabooks shipping with a high-end Broadwell processor. I've been running Linux on the system since receiving it, including the past ~3 weeks as my main production system, and I remain very happy with this purchase.

Ubuntu 15.04 Is The Easy Path To Better Performance On Intel Broadwell
Unless you manually upgrade your kernel and other system packages from your Ubuntu 14.10 installation, Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet is an important release for users of new Intel Broadwell systems for ensuring your hardware reaches its maximum performance potential.

AMD FX-8320E Performance On Linux
Back in September AMD announced new FX CPUs that included the FX-8370, FX-8370E, and FX-8320E. Back then we reviewed the FX-8370/FX-8370E CPUs under Linux but at the time didn't have our hands on the more affordable FX-8320E processor. In December AMD sent over the FX-8320E and so for the past few weeks I've been happily using this new Vishera CPU.

Unreal Engine 4 Linux Tests With AMD & NVIDIA Graphics Drivers
This week there was a 22-way graphics card test of Metro Redux on Linux using GeForce and Radeon hardware with the latest AMD and NVIDIA proprietary drivers. Today the newest Linux gaming test candidate to look at is the AMD/NVIDIA Linux performance with the latest Unreal Engine 4 demos. In this article is a look at the UE4 Linux performance on AMD and NVIDIA graphics hardware running with Ubuntu.

AMD Catalyst Linux OpenGL Driver Now Faster Than Windows Driver In Some Tests
Earlier this week I showed benchmarks of AMD's incredible year for their open-source Linux driver and how the open-source Radeon Gallium3D driver moved closer to performance parity with Catalyst. One of the lingering questions though is how does the Catalyst 14.12 Omega Linux driver from December compare to the latest Catalyst Windows driver? Here's some benchmarks looking at the latest open and closed-source drivers on Linux compared to the latest Catalyst Windows release.

Looking forward to H2'2015 we should see the Vulkan / SPIR-V 1.0 specifications formally released, SteamOS / Steam Machines will officially ship, many driver improvements are sure to come, Phoronix Test Suite 6.0 is coming, more LinuxBenchmarking.com performance tracking improvements are coming, and numerous other reasons to be happy as a Linux user. Keep up with Phoronix articles to stay in the know about all the interesting Linux enthusiast matters; subscribe to Phoronix Premium or make a Bitcoin / PayPal tip to help the cause.
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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