Latest Linux Hardware Reviews, Open-Source News & Benchmarks

Intel Xe Kernel GPU Driver Starts Landing SR-IOV Bits & Other Features For Linux 6.9
Intel Xe Kernel GPU Driver Starts Landing SR-IOV Bits & Other Features For Linux 6.9
58 Minutes Ago - Intel - Intel Xe DRM Driver - 1 Comment

Upstreamed for Linux 6.8 is the experimental Xe kernel graphics driver that is a modern replacement to the "i915" Direct Rendering Manager driver. The Xe kernel driver targets Tigerlake graphics and newer while it won't be until Lunar Lake / Xe2 when it aims to become the default driver for Intel iGPU/dGPU graphics. For the upcoming Linux 6.9 kernel merge window are more feature changes and fixes to this new open-source Intel kernel graphics driver.

NVK Vulkan Driver Lands Shader Object & Graphics Pipeline Library
NVK Vulkan Driver Lands Shader Object & Graphics Pipeline Library
80 Minutes Ago - Nouveau - Open-Source NVIDIA Vulkan - Add A Comment

The open-source NVIDIA "NVK" Vulkan driver within the Mesa codebase has merged support for the important VK_EXT_shader_object and VK_EXT_graphics_pipeline_library extensions. Additionally, as part of supporting these new extensions, this introduces the code for a common Vulkan runtime to Mesa.

27 February

64K Kernel Page Size Performance Benefits For HPC Shown With NVIDIA's GH200 Grace CPU
64K Kernel Page Size Performance Benefits For HPC Shown With NVIDIA's GH200 Grace CPU
27 February 12:00 PM EST - Software - 9 Comments

By default the AArch64 kernel on Ubuntu and other Linux distributions tend to default to a standard 4K page size but for newer AArch64 hardware especially in the server/HPC space, there can be great benefits to using a 64K page size. As it's been a while since I last ran any 64-bit ARM 4K vs. 64K kernel page size benchmarks, while having remote access to the NVIDIA GH200 I ran a fresh comparison for looking at the performance advantages to switching over to a 64K page size kernel. These new 64K kernel numbers are shown alongside the recent AMD EPYC and Intel Xeon CPU reference benchmark results for a look at how the 4K vs. 64K page size affects the overall computing landscape.

Intel HFI Driver Can "Save Tons Of CPU Cycles" By Only Enabling Itself When Needed
Intel HFI Driver Can "Save Tons Of CPU Cycles" By Only Enabling Itself When Needed
27 February 06:42 AM EST - Intel - Intel HFI - 7 Comments

The Linux kernel has supported the Intel Hardware Feedback Interface "HFI" via the "intel_hfi" driver since 2022 for bettering supporting Core hybrid processors. The Intel HFI can be used for communicating performance and energy efficiency capabilities of individual CPU cores of the system. In turn the Linux kernel can leverage Intel HFI details for better task placement among the available CPU cores/threads. With a new patch series, the Intel HFI driver can "save tons of CPU cycles" by only enabling it when needed.

26 February

Ubuntu Blog Talks Up Rust Schedulers, Potential For Micro-Kernel Design Future
Ubuntu Blog Talks Up Rust Schedulers, Potential For Micro-Kernel Design Future
26 February 08:27 PM EST - Ubuntu - Rust Kernel Scheduler - 45 Comments

Ubuntu/Canonical has for a while now promoted the prospects of Rust programming within the Linux kernel and one of their kernel engineers, Andrea Righi, wrote a Rust-written Linux scheduler with promising results that leverages eBPF for dynamically loading it at run-time. While Ubuntu isn't yet committing to using it as part of their distribution, appearing on the Ubuntu blog today was more praise for the work and even talking about the potential for a "micro-kernel design" in the future via leveraging Rust and eBPF.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE Linux Performance
AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE Linux Performance
26 February 09:00 AM EST - Graphics Cards - 33 Comments

Last July AMD launched the Radeon RX 7900 GRE graphics card in China with a reduced Navi 31 GPU. Beginning tomorrow, 27 February, the Radeon RX 7900 GRE is being made available worldwide. Today the review embargo expires on the Radeon RX 7900 GRE for the worldwide scope and within the US will be priced around $549 USD.

SDDM 0.21 Display Manager Released With Better Wayland Support, Qt6 Fixes
SDDM 0.21 Display Manager Released With Better Wayland Support, Qt6 Fixes
26 February 06:55 AM EST - Desktop - SDDM 0.21 Display Manager - 44 Comments

Released last June was the SDDM 0.20 display manager with experimental Wayland support and other enhancements after being in development for three years. Out this morning is SDDM 0.21 as another step toward SDDM 1.0 with improved Wayland support and other enhancements to this Qt-tooled display manager.

Mesa OpenGL Threading Work Sees Much Reduced Memory Footprint For OpenGL Calls
Mesa OpenGL Threading Work Sees Much Reduced Memory Footprint For OpenGL Calls
26 February 06:00 AM EST - Mesa - GLthread Optimizations - 9 Comments

Longtime AMD open-source Mesa developer Marek Olšák after more than one decade working officially for AMD and years before that as an independent open-source contributor going back to the R300g days still has not run out of new performance optimizations to pursue. The most recent accomplishment for this leading Mesa contributor are some refinements to the OpenGL threading "glthread" code for lowering the memory footprint.

Reverse-Engineered NPU Driver Tantalizingly Close To Proprietary Driver Performance
Reverse-Engineered NPU Driver Tantalizingly Close To Proprietary Driver Performance
26 February 04:00 AM EST - Mesa - Etnaviv NPU - 2 Comments

When it comes to neural processing unit NPU/AI accelerators for Linux there is open-source options with the likes most notably of Intel-owned Habana Labs leading the way, Intel's iVPU driver for the NPU found within Meteor Lake SoCs, AMD recently posting a Ryzen AI Linux driver, etc. When it comes to reverse-engineered efforts, the Etnaviv project has expanded its scopes from just Vivante graphics IP to also embracing the Vivante NPU IP for running workloads like TensorFlow Lite. With the latest open-source achievements, the Etnaviv NPU performance is coming incredibly close to the proprietary and official driver.

25 February

Linux 6.8 x86/urgent Update Beefs Up Protection Against Side Channel CPU Bugs
Linux 6.8 x86/urgent Update Beefs Up Protection Against Side Channel CPU Bugs
25 February 06:41 AM EST - Intel - Intel MDS Buffers - 9 Comments

Sent in this morning via the "x86/urgent" pull request ahead of the Linux 6.8-rc6 kernel later today is a set of patches from Intel to ensure clearing of CPU buffers using the VERW instruction happens at the latest possible point in the return-to-userspace code path. This is being done to better protect against CPU bugs like Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS).

Bcachefs Publishes Patches For Disk Accounting Rewrite
Bcachefs Publishes Patches For Disk Accounting Rewrite
25 February 06:26 AM EST - Linux Storage - Bcachefs Disk Accounting Rewrite - 41 Comments

Kent Overstreet on Saturday evening posted a set of 21 patches to overhaul the disk accounting code for the Bcachefs file-system. This change does break compatibility with the existing disk accounting on-disk format and thus will require an upgrade when moving to the new version, which may land for Linux v6.9.

24 February

CachyOS Moves To Glibc 2.39 & Other Package Upgrades For February
24 February 02:09 PM EST - Operating Systems - CachyOS 240224 - 21 Comments

CachyOS 240224 was released today for this Arch Linux derived desktop distribution that focuses on being a "blazingly fast and customizable Linux distribution" with a variety of desktop options, employing LTO and other optimizations for packages, optional x86-64-v3 binaries, and other tuning to make for a speedy out-of-the-box Linux experience.

KDE Plasma 6.0 Ready For Release Next Week, Plasma 6.1 Seeing Early Feature Work
24 February 06:23 AM EST - KDE - KDE Plasma 6 - 44 Comments

It's hard to believe we are already just down to a few days left before the release of Plasma 6.0 next week alongside KDE Frameworks 6 and KDE Gear apps ported over to the Qt6 toolkit. KDE Plasma 6.0 is pretty much primed for release while already fixes are beginning for Plasma 6.0.1 as well as early feature work underway for Plasma 6.1.

23 February

SDL3 Introduces A Vulkan Renderer
23 February 06:48 AM EST - Vulkan - SDL3 Vulkan Renderer - 15 Comments

The Simple DirectMedia Library that is commonly used as an abstraction layer by cross-platform games and other software is now introducing a Vulkan renderer with SDL3.

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