Open-Source Driver Progress & Vulkan Dominated December

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 January 2018 at 08:24 AM EST. Add A Comment
Aside from our 2017 year-end recap, if you were busy reliving the favorite moments of last year and missed some of our original content in December, here's a look back at the top highlights of last month.

Even with the holidays, there still was new and original content on Phoronix each and every day. December brought 278 news articles and 33 featured articles/reviews.

Here's a look at the most popular articles on Phoronix for December 2017:
Windows 10 WSL vs. Docker on Windows 10 vs. Bare Metal Linux Performance
With the recent Windows 10 Fall Creator's Update there were some improvements to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) particularly around boosting the I/O performance (though further WSL performance work is coming), so this week I've been carrying out some fresh benchmarks of Windows 10 WSL with its openSUSE and Fedora options. For additional perspective I also compared the performance to running benchmarks with Linux containers on Docker under Windows 10 and lastly the "bare metal" Linux performance.

Happy Holidays: AMD Finally Pushing Out Open-Source Vulkan Driver
Ahead of the Vulkan 1.0 debut nearly two years ago, we heard that for AMD's Vulkan Linux driver it was initially going to be closed-source and would then be open-sourced once ready. At the time it sounded like something that would be opened up six months or so, but finally that milestone is being reached! Ahead of Christmas, AMD is publishing the source code to their official Vulkan Linux driver.

AMD Open-Source Driver For Vulkan "AMDVLK" Is Now Available
Last week I reported on AMD finally preparing their open-source Vulkan driver that many Linux enthusiasts have been looking forward to since the Vulkan 1.0 debut nearly two years ago. As of this morning, the source-code to this official AMD Vulkan driver is now publicly available. AMD Linux fans and developers can rejoice this weekend building out this "AMDVLK" Vulkan driver and its new Platform Abstraction Layer (PAL).

Radeon vs. NVIDIA With Windows 10 & Ubuntu Linux
A few days back we published some Windows 10 vs. Linux gaming benchmarks with two Radeon graphics cards. For putting those numbers into better perspective, here are the results now when adding in two competing NVIDIA graphics cards on both operating systems.

NVIDIA 387.34 vs. Linux 4.15 + Mesa 17.4-dev Radeon OpenGL/Vulkan Performance
For your viewing pleasure this weekend are some fresh benchmarks of the very latest NVIDIA and Radeon Linux graphics drivers.

How Linux Performance Changed In 2017 With Clear Linux & Ubuntu
The latest in our streak of year-end benchmarking is seeing how Linux performance has evolved over the course of 2017. For that we tested Intel's performance-optimized Clear Linux distribution as well as Ubuntu using releases from the start of the year to their current state for seeing how the performance compares using the same system.

AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 vs. RADV/RadeonSI Radeon Linux Gaming Performance
With today's AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 Linux driver release alongside the Radeon Software Adrenalin Driver for Windows users, it's significant in a few ways. First and foremost, AMD has stuck to their word of the past two years and is now able to open-source their official Vulkan Linux driver. When it comes to AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 itself you are now able to mix-and-match driver components to choose what pieces you want of AMD's somewhat complicated driver make-up. Additionally, their OpenGL/Vulkan drivers in 17.50 have some new feature capabilities. So with that said here's a fresh look at how the AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 professional driver performance compares to the latest open-source RadeonSI OpenGL and RADV Vulkan drivers.

Passively Cooling A Radeon RX 480 Polaris GPU
This past week the fan on my reference Radeon RX 480 graphics card surprisingly died. It's been a number of years since I last had a fan go out on a graphics card heatsink with much better reliability these days, especially with the reference graphics cards. When deciding what cooling solution to use for this RX 480 Polaris card, I decided to try a budget passively-cooled solution.

OpenGL vs. Vulkan Linux Gaming Performance Ending Out 2017
For those wondering how the Vulkan vs. OpenGL performance is for various Linux games as we near the end of 2017, here are some test results from the benchmark-friendly Linux games that offer both OpenGL and Vulkan renderers. Tests were done with two Radeon graphics cards and two NVIDIA graphics cards using the latest available Linux GPU drivers.

How The Radeon RX Vega Performance Has Evolved Since Launch
As part of our end-of-year benchmarking, a Phoronix Premium supporter had brought up the idea of seeing how the Radeon RX Vega Linux driver performance has evolved since launch. Ask and you shall receive: here's some numbers showing the state of the Radeon RX Vega 56 and RX Vega 64 performance with the open-source RadeonSI+AMDGPU performance as of this week compared to back on launch-day.

And the most popular news:

AMD Reportedly Allows Disabling PSP Secure Processor With Latest AGESA
With the latest AGESA update for Ryzen-based systems, AMD is reportedly allowing the Platform Security Processor (PSP) to be disabled. The AMD PSP akin to Intel's Management Engine.

Ubuntu 17.10 Temporarily Pulled Due To A BIOS Corrupting Problem
Canonical has temporarily pulled the download links for Ubuntu 17.10 "Artful Aardvark" from the Ubuntu website due to ongoing reports of some laptops finding their BIOS corrupted after installing this latest Ubuntu release. The issue is appearing most frequently with Lenovo laptops but there are also reports of issues with other laptop vendors as well.

C++17 Is Now Official
The final standard of C++17 (formerly known as "C++1z") is now official.

Wine 3.0-RC1 Released, Direct3D 11 Enabled For Intel/AMD GPUs
Just as planned, the first release candidate for Wine 3.0 and it also marks the project's code/feature freeze.

Linux File Systems for Windows: Use EXT4 / XFS / Btrfs On Windows
For those bound to using Microsoft Windows but needing to access EXT4/Btrfs/XFS partitions, the commercial Linux File Systems for Windows eases the headache of using Windows.

Systemd 236 Is Being Prepped For Release This Month With Many Changes
Lennart Poettering has begun his release wrangling process in getting systemd 236 ready for release this month.

Armory Is A Very Promising 3D Game Engine With Full Blender Integration
Armory is a promising open-source game engine that prides itself in being built around Blender.

AMDGPU's Scheduler Might Get Picked Up By Other DRM Drivers
One of the benefits of open-source software is the ability for code re-use by other projects and that may now happen with the AMDGPU kernel driver's scheduler.

It Looks Like VLC 3.0 Will Finally Be Released Soon
VLC 3.0 is something we've been looking forward to for years and it's looking like that big multimedia player update could be released very soon.

GTK4 Lands More Vulkan, HTML5 Broadway & Win32 Improvements
It's been another busy week of development on the GTK4 tool-kit.
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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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