Debian 11, Valve Happenings, Linux 5.14 & More Excitement From August

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 September 2021 at 12:00 AM EDT. 1 Comment
For being a summer month, August was much busier than usual with a slew of exciting hardware and Linux/open-source software announcements. From releasing Linux 5.14 in marking 30 years of the Linux kernel to the debut of Debian 11 to Valve Steam Deck related work to their exciting sponsorship of Zink work, August was quite an exciting month for Linux enthusiasts.

During August on Phoronix were 220 original news articles covering our areas of software and hardware. Additionally, there were 19 featured Linux hardware reviews / multi-page benchmark articles. All the content continues to be written by your's truly. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic and the declining state of the ad industry continues to make operations increasingly difficult plus having a toddler at home. Thus the monthly reminder that if you enjoy all of the content on Phoronix for more than 17 years, please consider showing your support. Join Phoronix Premium for ad-free viewing, multi-page articles on a single page, and other benefits. PayPal tips are also accepted or at the very least please do not use any ad-blockers when viewing this site. You can also follow Phoronix via Twitter and Facebook.

The most popular Phoronix news during August included:

AMD + Valve Working On New Linux CPU Performance Scaling Design
Along with other optimizations to benefit the Steam Deck, AMD and Valve have been jointly working on CPU frequency/power scaling improvements to enhance the Steam Play gaming experience on modern AMD platforms running Linux.

Steam Survey Shows Linux Marketshare Hitting 1.0%
Not only did Valve announce Steam Deck in July but the overall Linux gaming marketshare according to the Steam Survey also hit a multi-year high.

Linux 5.14 SSD Benchmarks With Btrfs vs. EXT4 vs. F2FS vs. XFS
A number of Phoronix readers have been asking about some fresh file-system comparisons on recent kernels. With not having the time to conduct the usual kernel version vs. file-system comparison, here are some fresh benchmarks looking at the Btrfs, EXT4, F2FS, and XFS file-system benchmarks on a speedy WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe solid-state drive.

AMD Hiring For Open-Source GPU Driver Work With Mentions Of Tesla Model S, Steam Deck
With AMD's increasing marketshare on the CPU and GPU front, scoring more data center wins, and also scoring custom design wins for Linux-based environments such as with the Tesla Model S and most recently with the Steam Deck, AMD continues hiring more Linux engineers.

WireGuard Sees Native, High-Performance Port To The Windows Kernel
The excellent WireGuard open-source secure VPN tunnel has been seeing growing adoption on Linux now that it's been in the mainline kernel for a while and also seeing continued progress on the BSDs. While there has been beta WireGuard for Windows in user-space, "WireGuardNT" was announced today as a native high-performance port to the Windows kernel.

Zink Suballocator Lands In Mesa - "Over 1000%" Performance Increase For Some Games
Mesa's Zink Gallium3D code for implementing OpenGL-over-Vulkan can now run a heck of a lot faster with the newest Mesa 21.3 code.

GNOME's New Human Interface Guidelines Now Official
In recent months there has been an effort to update GNOME's Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) to reflect the GTK4 toolkit and recommendations around new widgets, utility panes, and more for enhancing the accessibility of GNOME applications, arguably looking better, and just otherwise modernizing aspects of the HIG that haven't been touched in months. That updated GNOME HIG is now official.

Google Calls On Companies To Devote More Engineers To Upstream Linux, Toolchains
Longtime kernel developer Kees Cook of the Google Security Team published a post on Google's Security Blog today effectively calling for more organizations to devote a greater number of engineers to the upstream Linux kernel in order to improve open-source security.

FUTEX2 Patches Sent Out In Simpler Form For Helping Windows Games On Linux
The ongoing FUTEX2 work for making the futex handling more like Windows to in turn help Windows games on Linux via Wine (with a focus on Steam Play's Proton) has taken a new turn.

AMD To Optimize C3 Entry On Linux By Finally Skipping The Cache Flush
A minor optimization was posted by an AMD engineer on Wednesday for the Linux kernel.

Mesa 21.2 Released With New Intel Crocus Driver, PanVK, Early M1 Code
Mesa 21.2 is out as the latest quarterly update to this open-source Linux graphics driver stack for user-space, most notably providing the Intel and Radeon OpenGL/Vulkan drivers among others.

Proposed: Allow Building The Linux Kernel With x86-64 Microarchitecture Feature Levels
A set of two patches posted this week would allow the Linux kernel to be easily built with the different x86-64 micro-architecture feature levels supported by the latest LLVM Clang and GCC compilers.

AMD Launches The Infinity Hub As Its Newest Open-Source Portal
AMD has launched the Infinity Hub as their newest open-source software portal around HPC software via easy-to-deploy Docker containers.

Thunderbird 91 Is Flying Soon As First Major Mail Client Update In A Year
Thunderbird 91.0 is approaching release as an annual feature release to this open-source, cross-platform mail client and RSS reader. Given the current release is Thunderbird 78 from last July, there is a lot in store for this "2021" update.

Raspberry Pi Display Driver Patches Updated For 4K@60Hz Support
Work continues on getting the Broadcom VC4 kernel Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver into shape for being able to support 4K display outputs at 60Hz.

Canonical + DFI Pair Up For An "Industrial Pi" Powered By AMD & Ubuntu
Many will recall DFI motherboards from close to two decades ago for their wildly colored "LANParty" motherboards but in recent years the company has been focusing on IoT and industrial hardware where, of course, Linux has much relevance. DFI and Canonical today announced an AMD-powered Ubuntu-loaded "industrial Pi" single board computer.

Debian 11 Is Releasing This Weekend With Many Improvements
Debian 11.0 "Bullseye" is due for release today and the Debian developers involved are indeed putting the final touches on this next major Debian GNU/Linux distribution release.

X.Org Server Adds "Fake Screen FPS" Option
The X.Org Server has picked up a new "-fakescreenfps" option to help with VNC and other remote display scenarios.

ReactOS "Open-Source Windows" Making Progress On x86_64, Multi-Monitor
ReactOS as the long-running open-source project striving for Windows ABI compatibility has been making some significant progress this summer on various endeavors.

KDE Plasma Introduces A New Overview Effect, Many Wayland Fixes
It's been another busy week in KDE land with the seemingly never ending improvements to the Plasma Wayland session as well as introducing some new features like a new Overview Effect.

And the most popular featured articles/reviews:

Arch Linux, Clear Linux & Ubuntu Against Windows 10/11 On Intel Rocket Lake
Last month after Microsoft began publishing their Windows Insider Preview builds of Windows 11, I ran some early Windows 11 benchmarks against Linux using an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X. Linux led in those benchmarks on the AMD Zen 3 desktop while for those wondering if that still holds true for Intel hardware, here are benchmarks of a Core i9 11900K "Rocket Lake" desktop with Windows 10 21H1, Windows 11 in its latest preview build as of testing, and then compared to Arch Linux / Clear Linux / Ubuntu.

AMD Ryzen 7 5700G Linux Performance
Earlier this month the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G and Ryzen 7 5700G desktop APUs officially launched for retail availability. Unfortunately we were not seeded with any review sample for being able to conduct Linux testing on these Zen 3 APUs with Vega graphics, but ended up purchasing one afterwards due to the number of readers inquiring about the Linux support. Here are some preliminary benchmarks of the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G.

GeForce RTX 30 vs. AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series Vulkan Ray-Tracing On Linux
Given this week's launch of the Radeon RX 6600 XT and that also bringing the new Radeon Software for Linux 21.30 driver, I was curious to see how the Vulkan ray-tracing performance compares now against the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series on Linux.

Arch Linux, Clear Linux, Fedora Compete On The ASUS ROG Strix G15
Following last month's look at the ASUS ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage laptop with Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and some of the initial hurdles seen on Ubuntu, readers were curious about how well other Linux distributions fared compatibility wise or if offering better performance elsewhere. Here are some tests across Arch Linux, Clear Linux, Fedora Workstation, and Ubuntu 21.04 for reference.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT Linux Gaming Performance
The Radeon RX 6600 XT was announced at the end of July as AMD's newest RDNA2 graphics card and is optimized for a performant 1080p gaming experience. For those wondering about its performance, this morning the embargo lifts to be able to talk about its performance. Here are the first Linux gaming benchmarks of the Radeon RX 6600 XT against a wide assortment of other AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.

Radeon RX 6600/6700/6800 XT: RADV vs. PRO Vulkan Driver Performance
With yesterday's launch day Radeon RX 6600 XT Linux review the benchmarks were conducted using the popular Mesa RADV open-source driver used by many Linux gamers considering it's the driver Valve has been relentlessly optimizing and is the default on most (or all) Linux distributions. For those wondering how the performance of RADV is comparing to that of AMD's closed-source "PRO" Vulkan driver distributed as part of the "Radeon Software for Linux" package, here are some benchmarks exploring that difference.

AMD RDNA2 Vulkan: RADV vs. RADV+NGGC vs. AMDVLK vs. PRO Driver Benchmarks
Following last week's Radeon RX 6600 XT launch, here are benchmarks of the Radeon RX 6600 XT / RX 6700 XT / RX 6800 XT graphics cards across all of the Vulkan driver options available to Linux users.

Debian 11 Performance Uplift Is Looking Great For Intel Xeon, AMD EPYC
This past weekend marked the release of Debian 11 "Bullseye" as the newest version of this major Linux distribution that is also the basis for many others. Given the popularity of Debian stable on servers, our first round of Debian 11.0 benchmarking is looking at the performance relative to Debian 10.10 on latest-generation Intel Xeon "Ice Lake" and AMD EPYC "Milan" hardware.

Zink Mesa 21.3-dev Benchmarks - Increasingly Capable Of Running OpenGL Games Atop Vulkan
Zink as an OpenGL-over-Vulkan API implementation living within Mesa merged its sub-allocator code that could deliver 10x the performance for some games. Plus it also landed OpenGL compatibility context support for getting more games working now with this open-source GL-on-VLK solution. Given the progress made in Mesa Git over the past week, here are some fresh benchmarks now for how the performance stands across various games and benchmarks.

Amazon EC2 M6i Performance For Intel Ice Lake In The Cloud
Earlier this week Amazon introduced Intel Xeon Scalable 3rd Gen "Ice Lake" powered EC2 cloud instances and marks their first x86-based sixth-generation offerings that follow their "M6g" Graviton2 instances launched last year. Curious about the "M6i" Ice Lake performance with AWS, here are a number of benchmarks looking at the performance and value of the new M6i instances compared to former Intel M5 instances as well as Amazon's own M6g Graviton2 instances.
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About The Author
Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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