Linux Distribution Battles, Linux 4.5, & Graphics Drivers Were Hot This Month

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 31 January 2016 at 08:00 PM EST. Add A Comment
Well, January was off to a good start for 2016 with a ton of open-source / Linux announcements whether you fancy Linux gaming, distribution performance, graphics drivers, or kernel subsystem topics. Here's a look at what was most interesting to readers so far this year.

For January 2016 on Phoronix were 324 original news posts and 23 featured-length reviews/articles, which is an average of more than 11 original articles per day on Phoronix this month. There was a ton of interesting topics given the Linux 4.5 merge window opening, various Linux distribution news, the continued advancement of Mesa/Gallium3D, Vulkan nearing the limelight, and more.

Before getting to the list of the most viewed news and articles this month, it's time for the monthly PSA that if you enjoy reading Phoronix please consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium to help support this site while benefiting from multi-page articles on a single page, ad-free viewing, HTTPS-by-default, etc. It's only through Phoronix Premium memberships and the ads that appear on Phoronix that this site can still operate now into its 12th year.

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Anyhow, the most popular Phoronix news this month were the following items:

Other Letdowns For Linux / Open-Source Users From 2015
When ending out 2015 I wrote about some of the open-source Linux letdowns of the year while since then Phoronix readers have suggested more items that they were sad to see not materialize this year.

X.Org Might Lose Its Domain Name
Unless there's a miracle, the X.Org Foundation stands to lose one of its biggest assets: its single-letter domain name.

GCC 6 Will Warn You About Misleading Code Indentations
As reminded this weekend by Red Hat developer Mark Wielaard, GCC 6 will warn you about misleading code indentations.

Details Regarding Ian Murdock's Untimely Passing Remain Scarce
One of the most viewed and commented topics on Phoronix this week has been about the untimely passing of Ian Murdock, founder of Debian and former leader of Sun's Project Indiana OpenSolaris project.

An Interesting Difference Between AMD & NVIDIA Linux Drivers When Comparing System Usage
When running the tests recently for the NVIDIA Linux Driver 2015 Year-in-Review and How AMD's Proprietary Linux Driver Evolved In 2015, I also ran some extra tests comparing the AMD Radeon Software 15.12 and NVIDIA 358.16 proprietary drivers when looking at their CPU usage, memory consumption, and other system sensors.

VLC 3.0 Continues To Be Developed With Many Changes
It's been nearly one year now that we've been getting excited over VLC 3.0. While we haven't heard any major updates recently and the release has yet to take place, progress continues to be made.

The Airtop Is One Of The Coolest Linux-Friendly PCs Ever For Enthusiasts
How would you like a powerful PC that is all passively cooled -- thanks to a special design, able to naturally dissipate 200 Watts -- that can drive four 4K displays, four hard disks, multiple Ethernet ports, can handle a discrete graphics card, and is made of aluminum? Oh yeah, and is from a Linux-friendly company.

The Thousands Of FIXMEs & TODOs In The Linux Kernel
Canonical's Colin King has looked at the number of FIXME and TODO comments within the Linux kernel tree.

The Latest Reason Fedora Users Have Been Questioning Firefox As The Default Browser
The default browser choice for Fedora Linux has once again come up again with some no longer even wanting Mozilla Firefox within the package repository.

It Looks Like X.Org Might Be Safe For A Few More Years
It looks like a miracle happened just in time for X.Org.

And the featured articles:

KDE Plasma 5.5 Has Evolved Well Beyond Where Plasma 4 Ended
Ken Vermette has written a lengthy article for us about his thoughts on the state of the KDE Plasma 5 desktop as of the recent 5.5 release. If you are curious how KDE Plasma 5 is panning out, how it works on Wayland, and much more, this article is a definite must-read.

OpenGL Performance & Performance-Per-Watt For NVIDIA GPUs From The Past 10 Years
Curious how the raw OpenGL performance and power efficiency has improved going back a decade to the GeForce 8 days? In this article is a 27-way graphics card comparison testing graphics cards from each generation going from the GeForce 8 series through the GeForce GTX 900 series and ending with the $999 GeForce GTX TITAN X. If you are interested in how graphics card performance has evolved, this is a fun must-read article.

A 10-Way Linux Distribution Battle To Kick Off 2016
As our first multi-way Linux distribution comparison of 2016, I took ten different modern Linux distribution releases and benchmarked them on the same Intel Haswell system. Being benchmarked were various releases of Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Debian, Clear Linux, Fedora, Antergos, and CentOS.

How Three BSD Operating Systems Compare To Ten Linux Distributions
Earlier this week I posted the results of a 10-way Linux distribution battle on the same Intel Xeon system and using all of the popular and latest Linux distribution releases. Taking things further, the article today has those results complemented by results on the Xeon system for several BSD operating systems. For seeing how the BSD performance stacks up to Linux, DragonFlyBSD, OpenBSD, and the FreeBSD-based PC-BSD were benchmarked.

8-Way ARM Board Linux Benchmark Comparison From The Pi Zero & ODROID To Tegra
For those interested in small, low-power ARM single-board computers, up for your viewing pleasure today are benchmarks of several different boards from the Raspberry Pi Zero to the Banana Pi M2.

The OpenGL Speed & Perf-Per-Watt From The Radeon HD 2000/3000 Series Through The R9 Fury
What's the best way to beat the winter blues? Benchmarking, of course! For starting off our 2016 of graphics card benchmarking under Linux, I've been working on a large round-up of re-testing AMD Radeon graphics cards from the HD 2900XT (R600) graphics card through the latest R9 Fury (Fiji) graphics card while running Ubuntu and using the very latest open-source graphics driver stack. Here's an interesting look at how the OpenGL graphics performance has evolved on the AMD side over the past decade while also looking at the performance-per-Watt.

The Many New Features & Improvements Of The Linux 4.5 Kernel
With Linux 4.5-rc1 expected for release today that will mark the end of this cycle's merge window, here is a look at the new features and improved functionality present for this major Linux kernel release that will then be officially christened in about two months time.

Linux 4.5 AMDGPU/Radeon vs. Catalyst OpenGL Performance
With the first test release out this week for the Linux 4.5 kernel I have carried out some fresh benchmarks on different AMD Radeon graphics cards for comparing the very latest open-source driver performance against that of the proprietary AMD Linux driver. Here are how the competing AMD OpenGL Linux stacks are comparing to one another for starting off 2016.

Linux 3.5 Through Linux 4.4 Kernel Benchmarks: A 19-Way Kernel Showdown Shows Some Regressions
What better way to spend a cold Friday morning than looking at some kernel benchmarks, so up for your viewing pleasure today are benchmarks of every kernel major release going from the Linux 3.5 kernel up through the latest Linux 4.4 stable kernel release. All the tests were done on the same system and there are actually some interesting performance changes to note with these Linux kernel tests going back to the summer of 2012.

With Skylake Out, It's Becoming Easier To Build A Cheap Haswell Xeon Linux System
Now that Skylake Xeon processors are appearing at major Internet retailers in sufficient quantities (such as the recently reviewed Intel Xeon E3 1245 v5), prices on older-generation Xeon CPUs are falling further. With prices on DDR3, SSDs, and Haswell-compatible motherboards also continuing to fall, it's possible to build a sufficiently powerful yet cheap Haswell Xeon system.
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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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