Steam Deck, GNOME 42 Advancements & AMD Linux Updates Excited Readers In February

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 March 2022 at 05:21 AM EST. 4 Comments
During the course of February on Phoronix were 236 original news articles covering the state of open-source affairs and Linux performance. While the pandemic seems to be lightening up, sadly the ad industry is still in a downward state, but in any event here is a look at the most popular Phoronix content for the past month.

From the release of Valve's Steam Deck to KDE Plasma and GNOME desktop advancements to more open-source Intel and AMD Linux driver activity to other Linux kernel happenings made for an interesting February to get minds off the world conflicts, ad industry, etc. If you enjoy the daily, original content on Phoronix consider joining Phoronix Premium or making a PayPal tip but at the very least please do not engage any ad-blocking on this site. You can also follow the content via Facebook and Twitter.

The most popular Linux/open-source news for the past month on Phoronix included:

Linux's getrandom() Sees A 8450% Improvement With Latest Code
The Linux kernel's random number generator code has been seeing a number of improvements recently led by Jason Donenfeld of WireGuard fame.

Less Than 10% Of Firefox Users On Linux Are Running Wayland
Thanks to Mozilla's Telemetry capabilities, there is some interesting insight to how many Linux desktop users are still relying on an X.Org (X11) Server without Wayland.

Linux Developers Discuss Deprecating & Removing ReiserFS
Besides no discussion in years over possibly upstreaming Reiser4 nor have any been brought up about eventually trying to mainline Reiser5, it looks like the original and feature-rich for its original time ReiserFS file-system could be on its way out of the Linux kernel in 2022.

Steam Deck Platform Driver Posted For The Linux Kernel
A Linux kernel driver was posted today for platform control support for Valve's upcoming Steam Deck.

AMD Releases Updated CPU Microcode For Zen 3 CPUs
AMD today pushed updated Family 19h / Zen 3 CPU microcode to the linux-firmware.git tree.

GNOME Dynamic Triple Buffering Can 2x The Desktop Performance For Intel Graphics, Raspberry Pi
For a while now Daniel Van Vugt of Canonical has been working on GNOME triple buffering support that would be dynamically enabled when the GPU rendering performance is falling behind. It's looking like that dynamic triple buffering may be close to mainlining and is leading big speed-ups for Intel graphics and the Raspberry Pi Broadcom graphics too while the other drivers ultimately should benefit too if falling behind in their desktop rendering performance.

Rust For The Linux Kernel Sent Out For Review A Fourth Time
Miguel Ojeda just sent out the fourth revision of the Rust programming language support for use within the Linux kernel. This optional Rust programming support for Linux kernel drivers and the likes continues maturing and this year will hopefully see mainline status.

AMD Quietly Working On New Linux GPU Driver Support Block By Block
AMD's Linux graphics driver engineers have been working on the driver support for new graphics processors and now the patches are at the earliest stages of publishing. However, due to driver handling changes, it's sharply different this time around where in the past they volleyed a big set of patches under some colorful fishy codename in an effort to conceal their hardware enablement work.

X.Org vs. (X)Wayland Gaming Performance For NVIDIA GeForce & AMD Radeon On Ubuntu 22.04
Earlier this month I posted some Ubuntu 22.04 Linux gaming benchmarks with X.Org vs. (X)Wayland performance for NVIDIA GeForce graphics now that the NVIDIA 510 driver has the GBM support in good shape. NVIDIA's (X)Wayland gaming performance is largely in good shape now while for those wondering how it compares to AMD Radeon on Ubuntu 22.04 daily, here are some benchmarks.

System76-Scheduler Is A New Pop!_OS Rust Effort To Improve Desktop Responsiveness
Quietly making its v1.0 debut today is system76-scheduler as a Rust-written daemon aiming to improve Linux desktop responsiveness and catering to their Pop!_OS distribution.

GIMP 2.99.10 Released As "A Pretty Massive Step" Toward GIMP 3.0
We are now one step closer to the long overdue GIMP 3.0 release as the GTK3, much improved version of this open-source alternative to the likes of Adobe Photoshop.

Future Intel Systems To Reportedly Be Even Less Friendly For Open-Source Firmware
According to the Coreboot camp, future Intel systems with FSP 3.0 and Universal Scalable Firmware (USF) will be even less friendly for open-source system firmware.

PostgreSQL Begins Working On Zstd Compression Support
While PostgreSQL has supported compression with its TOAST storage and over the past year has built-up LZ4 compression support for it along with compressing the WAL, backup compression, and other usage, PostgreSQL developers are preparing to further extend their compression capabiities with Zstd support.

GNOME Shell 42 Lands Redesigned OSD Notifications
GNOME Shell 42 has landed redesigned on-screen display (OSD) elements for notifications around volume, Bluetooth/WiFi status, workspace switching, and more.

The Less Than Ideal State Of AMD Open-Source Firmware Support In 2022
There's been some activity on AMD open-source firmware support for newer hardware platforms but for those wanting a fully open-source firmware stack, there remains work on older generations of AMD server platforms. Michał Żygowski of firmware consulting firm 3mdeb presented today at FOSDEM 2022 as to the current state AMD open-source firmware efforts around Coreboot.

Arch Linux Could Use Some Help With Toolchain Maintenance
While Arch Linux is known to be at the forefront of rolling-release Linux distributions, when it comes to its compiler toolchain the packages have fallen behind over the past year.

LLVM Clang 15 Enables Faster Square Root Instructions For AMD Zen
As part of an effort to update LLVM Clang's "-mtune" handling to cater to newer processors, AMD Zen processors with LLVM/Clang 15 later this year will be able to enjoy faster and more accurate square root calculations with tuning to use SQRTSS/SQRTPS instructions.

KDE Plasma 5.24 Released With Wayland Support In Increasingly Great Shape
KDE Plasma 5.24 is out as the newest version of this popular open-source desktop environment that will also be their new Long-Term Support (LTS) release.

Microsoft Posts Updated "DXGKRNL" Linux Kernel Driver For WSL/WSA
Microsoft continues work on their controversial "DXGKRNL" driver they hope to mainline into the Linux kernel for benefiting their Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) efforts.

Linux 5.18 Looks Like It Will Finally Land Btrfs Encoded I/O
Btrfs file-system developers remain very busy on multiple fronts from performance and reliability enhancements to in-development Btrfs on-disk format changes. A notable item now on deck for integration in Linux 5.18 is Btrfs support for encoded I/O.

And the most popular featured articles/reviews:

Raspberry Pi OS 32-bit vs. 64-bit Performance
Last week marked the long awaited release of a 64-bit spin of Raspberry Pi OS. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has now made available a 64-bit build of their default Linux OS build derived from Debian for all recent Raspberry Pi hardware supporting AArch64. For those curious, here are some benchmarks looking at the performance improvement by switching from Raspberry Pi OS 32-bit to 64-bit.

Further Investigating The Raspberry Pi 32-bit vs. 64-bit Performance
Finally released earlier this month was the first official 64-bit build of Raspberry Pi OS, the official Debian-based operating system of the low-cost Raspberry Pi single board computers. Following that I posted some Raspberry Pi 32-bit vs. 64-bit benchmarks. Given that generated a fair amount of interest and also some open questions, here is round two of looking at the Raspberry Pi 32-bit vs. 64-bit performance including its impact on memory usage and thermals.

NVIDIA Linux Gaming Performance For Wayland vs. X.Org On Ubuntu 22.04
With NVIDIA's newly-introduced 510 Linux driver series paired with the latest XWayland and a modern Wayland compositor like the newest GNOME/Mutter packages, the NVIDIA (X)Wayland experience is in great shape and delivering comparable performance to a traditional X.Org session. The NVIDIA Wayland support with GBM usage has stabilized and appears to be in good shape for the upcoming Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release. Here are some benchmarks of the NVIDIA 510 driver on the current state of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

Linux Now Faster Than Windows 11 For Intel Core i9 12900K With Latest Kernel
Back in November when Intel's 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake" processors first launched I ran benchmarks across operating systems and found Windows 11 delivering better performance than Linux with the Core i9 12900K flagship processor. Fortunately, thanks to kernel improvements since Linux 5.16, that is largely no longer the case. Here is a fresh look at the i9-12900K performance under Ubuntu 22.04 daily with Linux 5.16 and 5.17-rc3 kernels tested as well and Clear Linux for Intel's very own reference Linux platform.

For Linux Enthusiasts Especially, The Steam Deck Is An Incredible & Fun Device
Over the past nearly 18 years of running Phoronix, I have come across many interesting Linux-based products from Linux embedded in motherboards for instant-on use to the BlackDog USB port pen drive Linux servers to solar-powered super-computers in trash cans. The most fun and promising Linux-powered gaming device for the masses though is launching today: Valve's Steam Deck. I've been fortunate to be testing out this Arch Linux derived handheld game console the past month and it has been working out very well -- both as a portable Steam gaming device but making it even more compelling from the Linux enthusiast angle is its "developer mode" that effectively turns it into a general Linux handheld and also being free to load your own Linux distribution of choice.

Squeezing More Performance Out Of An Intel Celeron "Alder Lake" CPU With A Faster Linux OS
Recently I tested the Intel Celeron G6900 Alder Lake processor as a $40~60 CPU and the lowest-end SKU as part of the latest-generation Intel desktop CPU line-up. Those tests were carried out on Ubuntu Linux (as usual) for that dual-core processor and was an interesting little processor for the price and for the lack of any AMD Zen 3 competition currently at that low price point. If needing to make daily use of such an Intel Celeron system, switching out your Linux distribution can help. In this article are benchmarks of the Celeron G6900 across Arch-based Manjaro, Intel's Clear Linux, Fedora Workstation 35, Ubuntu 22.04 daily, and openSUSE Tumbleweed.

Benchmarking Amazon EC2's New C6a Instances Powered By 3rd Gen EPYC
Last year Amazon launched the EC2 M6a instances powered by AMD EPYC 7003 series while this week they have expanded their range of AMD Zen 3 offerings by launching the EC2 C6a series. The EC2 C6a instances are designed for compute-intensive workloads (hence the "C" series) and AWS is promoting it as offering up to 15% improvement in price-performance over prior-generation C5a instances and up to 10% lower cost than comparable x86-based EC2 instances. I've run some benchmarks of the new EC2 C6a instances looking at how they perform over the prior 2nd Gen EPYC C5a based instances, against the Intel Ice Lake competition over in the M6i stack, and also how the C6a competes with Amazon's own Graviton2-based C6g type.

OnLogic ML100G-41 - A Great AMD Ryzen Powered SFF Industrial-Grade Computer
When it comes to small form factor (SFF) industrial PCs and IoT computers, it's been an area where Intel has traditionally dominated and served quite well. But now with the continued success of AMD's Ryzen processors, we are beginning to see more AMD-powered industrial computer solutions become available such as the recent OnLogic ML100 series with AMD SoC options. I've been testing out the OnLogic ML100G-41 powered by a Ryzen 7 4800U SoC for many weeks now and this fanless, industrial-grade computer has been running very well for a diverse variety of workloads.

Benchmarking Google's New "C2D" Compute-Optimized AMD Zen 3 Instances - N2D vs. C2 vs. C2D Performance
Yesterday Google Cloud launched their C2D instance type as their newest compute-optimized instances powered by AMD EPYC 7003 series processors. here are some quick benchmarks looking at the C2D performance against the existing Intel Xeon powered C2 instance type and the former EPYC 7002 based N2D instance type.

An Early Look At GCC 12 Compiler Performance On The Core i9 12900K
With GCC 12 now onto stage four meaning that the major feature work is over, I've slowly begun running more tests on the GCC 12 compiler that is due for its stable introduction around April. First up is a look at the Core i9 12900K "Alder Lake" performance on GCC 12 in its near-final form compared to GCC 11.2 as the current stable release from last year.
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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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