Systemd Creator At Microsoft, Retbleed, Rust's Continued Growth & Other July Highlights

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 August 2022 at 05:05 AM EDT. 1 Comment
PHORONIX --
July was another exciting month for Linux and open-source software fans from being the first to report on the news of systemd creator Lennart Poettering joining Microsoft, Linux 5.19 getting wrapped up, popularity of the Rust programming language continues to climb, lots of open-source graphics driver news, and much more.

Over the course of the past month were 240 original articles on Phoronix written by your's truly with new content each and every day. Unfortunately, the state of the ad industry continues to be on the decline and hurt hard by rampant ad-block usage. If you enjoy reading Phoronix daily for staying up-to-date with open-source/Linux news and reviews, consider joining Phoronix Premium or at least turning off your pesky ad-blocker. You can also follow Phoronix via Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for your support over the past 18+ years.

The most popular Linux news for July on Phoronix included:

Systemd Creator Lands At Microsoft
Yesterday's surprise was that Lennart Poettering quietly had left Red Hat following a decade and a half there leading PulseAudio among other projects and ultimately going on to start systemd that has fundamentally reshaped modern Linux distributions. It turns out he had joined Microsoft and continuing his work on systemd.

Lennart Poettering - systemd + PulseAudio Creator - Departed Red Hat
To much surprise, the lead developer of systemd Lennart Poettering who also led the creation of PulseAudio, Avahi, and has been a prolific free software contributor has reportedly left Red Hat.

Ubuntu Achieves A ~50% Reduction In Start Time For Firefox Snap
Canonical engineers have been continuing their quest to improve the start-up time for the Snap version of Mozilla Firefox that is used by default on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. With the latest improvements now pushed to the Firefox Snap, they are seeing around a 50% reduction in start-time for the web browser.

Intel's Open-Source Vulkan Driver For Ray-Tracing Gets "Like A 100x Improvement"
Intel's Linux graphics driver developers continue to be very busy polishing the DG2/Alchemist graphics card support for forthcoming Intel Arc Graphics hardware... Merged today to the open-source Intel Mesa Vulkan driver was a ray-tracing focused fix that yields "like a 100x (not joking) improvement." Even more of a kicker? The change is one line of code for the massive improvement.

The First RISC-V Laptop Announced With Quad-Core CPU, 16GB RAM, Linux Support
RISC-V International has relayed word to us that in China the DeepComputing and Xcalibyte organizations have announced pre-orders on the first RISC-V laptop intended for developers. The "ROMA" development platform features a quad-core RISC-V processor, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, and should work with most RISC-V Linux distributions.

Google Engineers Lift The Lid On Carbon - A Hopeful Successor To C++
In addition to Dart, Golang, and being involved with other programming language initiatives over the years, their latest effort that was made public on Tuesday is Carbon. The Carbon programming language hopes to be the gradual successor to C++ and makes for an easy transition path moving forward.

New Lenovo AMD Laptops With Pluton Co-Processor Reportedly Only Boot Windows By Default
At least some of Lenovo's new AMD Rembrandt powered laptops with Microsoft Pluton security co-processor are set by default to only trust Microsoft's key and not the Microsoft 3rd Party UEFI CA Key that Linux distributions and others use for UEFI Secure Boot support. Thus by default only Microsoft Windows will boot with the default firmware configuration on some new Lenovo laptops.

When Time Comes For GTK5, It Might Be Wayland-Only On Linux
While GTK4 is still in its early stages and it will presumably be some years before "GTK5" even begins to take shape, GNOME developers are already thinking of ditching X11 support for that next major GTK release -- effectively making it Wayland-only on Linux.

Benchmarking The Linux 5.19 Kernel Built With "-O3 -march=native"
Following the upstream discussions over -O3'ing the Linux kernel last month I ran some fresh benchmarks of the Linux kernel built with -O2 versus -O3. After the -O3 optimized kernel build results weren't too impressive, a number of Phoronix readers were virtually shouting that "-O3 -march=native" is where it's at for fun and performance... To appease those even though in the past it hasn't proven worthwhile and upstream kernel developers are against it, here are those numbers.

Optimized memchr() Implementation For The Linux Kernel Up To ~4x Faster
A set of proposed patches promise to make the Linux kernel's memchr() implementation faster for locating a character within a block of memory. In tests carried out by the developer, the new implementation can be nearly four times faster on large searches.

Linux Mint 21 Is Going To Avoid systemd-oomd
Linux Mint 21 is working its way toward release this summer as the latest version of this desktop OS that is being built atop Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. Unlike Ubuntu 22.04 upstream that is now using systemd-oomd by default on the desktop to try to improve the low memory / system memory pressure experience, Linux Mint has now decided to avoid this daemon due to user criticism.

GCC Rust Approved By Steering Committee, Likely To Land For GCC 13
The GCC Steering Committee has approved of the GCC Rust front-end providing Rust programming language support by the GNU Compiler Collection. This Rust front-end will likely be merged ahead of the GCC 13 release next year.

"Retbleed" Published As Arbitrary Speculative Execution With Return Instructions
Being made public this Patch Tuesday is "RETBLEED" as two new CVEs for the latest speculative execution attacks affecting today's hardware. Retbleed exploits return instructions and is able to undermine existing defenses against Spectre Branch Target Injection (BTI).

FFmpeg 5.1 Released With Many Improvements To This Important Multimedia Project
FFmpeg 5.1 "Riemann" was released on Friday afternoon as a new feature update to this widely-used, open-source multimedia project for video encode/decode and a variety of other purposes.

Increased Use Of Windows BitLocker Is Causing Headaches For Linux Dual Booting
Increase use of Windows BitLocker for full-disk encryption on Windows 10 and Windows 11 is causing more challenges by Linux distributions for supporting convenient dual boot functionality for those wishing to keep both Windows and Linux on the same systems.

Darktable 4.0 Released With Rewritten UI, Much Improved OpenCL Performance
Darktable 4.0 has debuted today as a major update to this open-source, cross-platform RAW photography software suite.

Linux x86 32-bit Is Vulnerable To Retbleed But Don't Expect It To Get Fixed
While relevant Intel and AMD processors have been mitigated for the recent Retbleed security vulnerability affecting older generations of processors, those mitigations currently just work for x86_64 kernels and will not work if running an x86 (32-bit) kernel on affected hardware. But it's unlikely to get fixed unless some passionate individual steps up as the upstream developers and vendors have long since moved on to just caring about x86_64.

GNOME To Warn Users If Secure Boot Disabled, Preparing Other Firmware Security Help
GNOME and Red Hat developers are working on integrating firmware security tips and recommendations into the desktop for warning users about platform/firmware security issues like if UEFI Secure Boot is disabled and other possible avenues their system could be exploited.

Fedora 37 Hopes To Have A Preview Of The New Web-Based Install UI
The existing GTK-based Anaconda installer is to remain the default installation experience for Fedora 37 this autumn but a change proposal has been filed with hopes of having a public preview image for Anaconda's next-gen web-based interface for installations.

PREEMPT_RT Might Be Ready To Finally Land In Linux 5.20
After years in the works, the "PREEMPT_RT" support for building a real-time Linux kernel might finally be mainlined for the upcoming Linux 5.20 cycle if the last few remaining bits are reviewed/signed-off on in time for next week's merge window.

And the most popular reviews for July 2022:

Windows 11 vs. Linux Performance For Intel Core i9 12900K In Mid-2022
Last year when the Intel Core i9 12900K "Alder Lake" processor launched, Windows 11 was outperforming Linux to much surprise in general but explainable due to some late Linux kernel patches around Intel's hybrid architecture. Back in February I looked at the situation again and Linux started outrunning Windows 11 on the i9-12900K with the latest Linux kernel at the time. But with a few more months having passed and for the Intel Alder Lake hybrid processors to mature under Windows and Linux, how do things stand now? Here are some new benchmarks.

Benchmarking The Linux Mitigated Performance For Retbleed: It's Painful
Yesterday Retbleed was made public as a new speculative execution attack exploiting return instructions. While the "good" news is Retbleed only impacts prior generations of AMD and Intel processors, the bad news is the mitigated performance impact on Linux is quite severe. Since yesterday I have been benchmarking the newly-merged Linux patches on various Intel and AMD processors affected by Retbleed. It's very bad if you are on an affected processor.

AMD Rembrandt: Windows 11 vs. Ubuntu Linux Performance
Yesterday I delivered my initial arsenal of AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 6850U Linux benchmarks against various other AMD Ryzen and Intel Core notebooks. That ongoing Ryzen 7 PRO 6850U is happening from a Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 3 AMD notebook and this new "Rembrandt" device continues looking good under Linux. But prior to installing Linux, I did run some benchmarks of Lenovo's Windows 11 Pro on there for seeing how the Linux vs. Windows performance is looking for this Zen 3+ SoC.

AMD Radeon 680M Graphics Are A Great Upgrade With RDNA2, Excellent On Linux
Last week when posting my initial Linux benchmarks of the AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 6850U performance (and also looking at the AMD Rembrandt Windows vs. Linux speed), there were two main areas to get excited about with these AMD Zen 3+ SoCs: nice power efficiency improvements across many real-world workloads and the graphics upgrade with the integrated Radeon 680M. In this article are more tests of the Radoen 680M graphics looking at the integrated graphics speed-up with RDNA2 finally replacing Vega as a big upgrade and also how this compares to the Intel Alder Lake P Xe Graphics performance for Linux laptops.

AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 6850U "Rembrandt" Linux Benchmarks
I've begun testing the AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 6850U "Rembrandt" SoC under Linux and have some preliminary benchmarks of this Zen 3+ chip up against a variety of Intel and AMD notebooks on hand. Here is the first of several articles looking at the AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 6850U Linux performance using a Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen3.

Intel Core i7 1280P "Alder Lake P" Linux Laptop Performance
Launched earlier this year was Alder Lake P series for modern Intel laptops with up to 14 cores / 20 threads for modern Intel laptops. Many Phoronix readers have been inquiring about Alder Lake laptop support and performance under Linux and recently I finally got my hands on an Alder Lake P device in the form of the MSI Prestige 14Evo A12M-231 that features the flagship ADL-P model of the Core i7 1280P. Today's article is focused on the Linux performance of that flagship Core i7 1280P compared to other AMD and Intel laptop processors.

AMD EPYC 7773X Performance Continues To Impress With Tremendous Opportunity For Large-Cache Server CPUs
Back in March when AMD Milan-X rolled out I published a number of EPYC 7773X benchmarks as well as Milan-X benchmarks in the cloud. Since then there have been new Linux kernel improvements and other changes in the ever-advancing open-source world. Plus simply more time to conduct additional tests over the summer. Here is the latest round of my AMD EPYC 7773X 1P and 2P benchmarking compared to the Milan EPYC 7713/7763 SKUs as well as Intel's Xeon Platinum 8380 "Ice Lake" competition.

HP Dev One With Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U Competes Well Against Intel's Core i7 1280P "Alder Lake P" On Linux
With my review last month of the HP Dev One laptop powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U and running Pop!_OS I benchmarked it against various laptops I had locally with both AMD and Intel CPUs, including the likes of the very common Tiger Lake SoCs. At the time I hadn't any newer Alder Lake P laptops but now with a Core i7 1280P laptop in hand, here is a look at how that AMD Cezanne Linux laptop can compete with Intel's brand new Alder Lake P SoCs with the flagship Core i7 1280P.

Linux 5.19 Looking Real Good On The HP Dev One, XanMod + Liquorix Also Tested
With the very popular HP Dev One that is powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 PRO SoC and running Pop!_OS, a number of Phoronix readers inquired about seeing benchmarks of some of the alternative kernel flavors on the device. So here is a look at the stock Linux 5.17 kernel up against the Linux 5.18 and 5.19 (Git) kernels and then Liquorix and XanMod tossed in as alternative flavors running on the Pop!_OS 22.04 installation.

AMD Zen 1 Linux Performance Hit From Retbleed, Accumulated CPU Mitigation Impact
Last week I posted my initial benchmarks for the Linux impact of mitigating Retbleed as the newest CPU speculative execution vulnerability. As noted in the prior Retbleed articles, on the AMD side it's Zen 1/1+/2 processors affected as well as older Bulldozer CPUs. That earlier article included Zen 2 benchmarks while in this article are Zen 1 tests given its situation is slightly different.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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