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The Most Popular Linux Happenings From Q2'2012

Phoronix

Published on 04 July 2012 10:30 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix
1 Comment

Here's a look at the most popular Linux news and events from the past quarter.

Based upon Phoronix traffic figures, listed below are some of the most popular Linux and open-source stories of the second quarter. On Phoronix in Q2'2012, I single-handedly wrote 503 news articles and 71 featured-length articles. In June was also the eighth birthday of Phoronix.

Valve's Gabe Newell Talks Linux Steam Client, Source Engine
For those that have doubted the exclusive Phoronix claims for quite a while now that the Steam client and Source Engine are in fact being ported to Linux, the doubts can be nearly laid to rest. Even I began to wonder how long it would take before the clients for their popular games would be publicly released under Linux. However, after confirming the information perhaps a bit too soon, their level of Linux interest is much more clear after spending a day at their offices. A meeting topped off the day with Gabe Newell regarding Linux where he sounded more like a Linux saint than an ex-Microsoft employee. Valve does have some great plans for Linux beyond just shipping the client versions of Steam and their popular games on the Source Engine.

Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Approaches Stable State
Nouveau, the reverse-engineered open-source graphics driver for NVIDIA's entire range of graphics processors, is reaching a stable state where it's exiting the "staging" area of the Linux 3.4 kernel and being considered part of the standard, stable kernel configuration. How though is the Nouveau driver working out compared to NVIDIA's official, closed-source Linux graphics driver? Here are some new benchmarks from ten different graphics cards and other information on the state of Nouveau.

12-Core ARM Cluster Benchmarked Against Atom, Ivy Bridge, Fusion
Last week I shared my plans to build a low-cost, 12-core, 30-watt ARMv7 cluster running Ubuntu Linux. The ARM cluster that is built around the PandaBoard ES development boards is now online and producing results... Quite surprising results actually for a low-power Cortex-A9 compute cluster. Results include performance-per-Watt comparisons to Intel Atom and Ivy Bridge processors along with AMD's Fusion APU.

Intel Core i7 3770K Ivy Bridge Linux Performance
Intel is finally announcing the first Ivy Bridge processors this morning. I have been extensively testing out the Intel Core i7 3770K, the current high-end Ivy Bridge processor, for the past few weeks under Ubuntu Linux. I have been extremely pleased with the Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor under Linux with its phenomenal performance, power efficiency, and new features. This article is the first of many looking at the Linux performance of the new Intel Ivy Bridge processors.

Intel HD 4000 Ivy Bridge Graphics On Linux
Now having looked at the processor performance of the brand new Intel Core i7 3770K "Ivy Bridge" CPU, up now is our first look at the Intel HD 4000 "Gen7" graphics performance for the Ivy Bridge processors under Linux. Building upon what's turned into a huge success for Intel with their Sandy Bridge graphics with admirable performance and stable open-source Linux drivers, Ivy Bridge volleys Intel's Linux graphics capabilities into a whole new realm for those concerned about open-source graphics drivers.

Ubuntu 12.04 vs. Windows 7: Intel Sandy/Ivy Bridge Loses On Linux
Here's a comparison of the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS versus Microsoft Windows 7 performance when it comes to using Intel Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors with integrated graphics. While the Sandy Bridge graphics performance was once faster when it came to OpenGL with the open-source Linux driver, that's no longer the case. The Linux OpenGL performance for both Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge hardware is now slower in most GL workloads than Intel's Windows 7 x64 driver.

An Optimized Open-Source Driver Tries To Compete With AMD Catalyst
There's been a number of recent open-source driver improvements that have come about for modern ATI/AMD Radeon graphics cards under Linux, but not all of these features have yet to be merged or enabled by default (e.g. 2D color tiling, PCI Express 2.0, and HyperZ). With some basic tweaks, can the open-source Radeon Gallium3D driver now compete with AMD's proprietary Catalyst Linux driver when it comes to OpenGL performance? Let's see.

Ubuntu 12.04 Desktops Impact Performance, Power Consumption
How does the choice of desktop environments you make for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS impact your system's performance and power consumption? Here's the latest round of benchmarking from the various Ubuntu 12.04 desktop environment choices -- Unity, Unity 2D, GNOME Shell, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, and Openbox -- when running them on three different laptops.

Apple Mac OS X 10.7.4 Lion vs. Ubuntu Linux
Before Apple releases Mac OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion" next month, here's a look at how the latest point release of Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" is performing compared to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" and the latest development snapshot of Ubuntu 12.10 "Quantal Quetzal" Linux.

The Open-Source Linux Graphics Card Showdown
Earlier this week I provided Intel Core i7 3770K Linux benchmarks for the Ivy Bridge launch-day followed by initial Ivy Bridge Linux HD 4000 graphics benchmarks compared to the Intel HD 2000/3000 Sandy Bridge graphics under Linux and to AMD Fusion on Catalyst and Gallium3D. In this article are more benchmarks of the HD 4000 Ivy Bridge graphics under Linux with Intel's open-source driver, but in this article it is a much larger comparison. This is a full showdown of the Core i7 3770K graphics compared to several discrete NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards when they're using their respective open-source Gallium3D drivers. What graphics hardware is best if you want to use an open-source GPU driver? Find out now.

To no big surprise, the Valve Linux news was the most popular in Q2 when I was over at Valve's headquarters in Bellevue, Washington to discuss their forthcoming Linux work and helping them recruit developers, etc. [Don't be surprised if you see Valve Linux events dominate for Q3 too.] Also popular were the usual Linux graphics articles, the launch of Intel's excellent "Ivy Bridge" processors, and the other usual areas of Phoronix interest. ARM on Linux is also becoming quite popular.

And now for the top news stories of Q2'2012:

NVIDIA PR Responds To Torvalds' Harsh Words
NVIDIA's PR department has issued a statement following the harsh comments by Linus Torvalds last week where he referred to the graphics company as the single worst company they have ever dealt with, called them out on not supporting Optimus, and other issues.

FreeBSD 10 To Use Clang Compiler, Deprecate GCC
As indicated by the Q1-2012 FreeBSD Status Report, LLVM's Clang compiler is quickly replacing GCC for this popular BSD operating system. The developers are also making much progress in a GNU-free C++11 stack. For FreeBSD 10 they're aiming for Clang as the default C/C++ compiler, deprecate GCC, and to have a BSD-licensed C++ stack.

Valve's Gabe Says "Yes" To Steam Linux This Year
Here's the latest in the steaming excitement concerning Valve's Source Engine and Steam client coming to Linux.

NVIDIA Loses Huge GPU Order Due To Linux Blob
NVIDIA has lost an order of at least ten million graphics cards because their GeForce/Quadro driver is closed-source.

Linus Torvalds Calls NVIDIA The Worst Company Ever
Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, has called out NVIDIA for their poor graphics drivers / support in a public presentation. In the talk he called NVIDIA "the single worst company we have ever dealt with" and ended his green comments with "NVIDIA: FUCK YOU!"

One Of The New Valve Linux Employees Is...
Here's one of the names that many Linux gamers and Phoronix readers should know for his past open-source work, who since the beginning of May has been employed by Valve Software for their Linux enablement efforts.

Canonical: Ubuntu To Soon Ship On 5% Of PCs
Chris Kenyon, the VP of sales and business development for Canonical, just spoke this afternoon at the Ubuntu 12.10 Developer Summit about what Canonical does with OEMs and ODMs. He also tossed out some rather interesting numbers about the adoption of Ubuntu Linux.

Ubuntu's Plans To Implement UEFI SecureBoot: No GRUB2
Canonical has shared publicly their plans this morning on how they plan to implement support for UEFI SecureBoot on future versions of Ubuntu Linux.

Preview: A Cheap 12-Core, 30-Watt Ubuntu Cluster
It's quite easy these days to build a many-core compute cluster that is low-powered, running Linux, and performant-friendly. Here's a small cluster build that's begun at Phoronix and has twelve 1.2GHz cores while the total system power consumption under load is just about 30 Watts.

Chrome 20 Takes Over Adobe Flash On Linux
Google's Chrome web-browser reached version 20 yesterday and for Linux users this marks the point that the web company has taken over Flash Player support on Linux from Adobe using its PPAPI implementation.

If you liked all of the Phoronix content from Q2'2012, which averaged five and a half news stories I wrote per day and a featured-length article every day to two, consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium and PayPal tips are welcome (Flattr too). Today's Independence Day in America, but just another work-day at Phoronix to keep new content flowing for the global reader-base. Quality beer is also always welcome; Phoronix meet-ups this month will be in Managua Nicaragua at DebConf and later in the month back in Munich, Bavaria. You can also follow the site on Facebook or via @Phoronix and @MichaelLarabel on Twitter.

There's also still time to share July 2012 benchmarking requests.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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