Gaming, Linux Desktop Advances For May 2013

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 31 May 2013 at 04:15 PM EDT. 11 Comments
With the end of May comes our usual end of the month summary about the most popular Linux news stories this month that appeared on Phoronix and other announcements.

For this month on Phoronix there were 202 news postings (an average of over six original news articles per day) and 13 featured-length articles. These articles were mostly written by your's truly to cover all of the exciting Linux advancements. The number of original multi-page featured articles this month were down slightly namely due to the lack of any noteworthy advertising campaigns this month on Phoronix, but hopefully next month there will be more enticing ad campaigns plus the launch of Intel's Haswell with same-day Linux coverage.

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Coming up next week will be the nine-year birthday of and the five year anniversary of the public Phoronix Test Suite 1.0 release. Also coming forward this summer is finally a new Phoronix site design. Beginning next week, we're moving the Phoronix infrastructure to new dedicated servers in a different data center than where we typically operate our web presence.

Anyhow, of the 202 news postings and 13 featured articles in May, the most popular open-source / Linux news stories were:

Portal Released For Steam On Linux
Valve's very popular Portal and Portal 2 interactive puzzle video games are now natively available on Linux!

Linux 3.10 Kernel Yields Biggest Changes In Years
The Linux 3.10 kernel is going to be massive with the just-released "-rc1" version being the biggest in the last several years (or perhaps ever), according to Linus Torvalds. This massive change-rate is based at least according to commit count and potentially actual lines too.

Why IBM Now Views LLVM As Being Critical Software
It wasn't until the middle of 2012 that IBM viewed LLVM as being "critical" to support but since then they have decided to fully support LLVM across all IBM server platforms. Last week in Paris at the European LLVM Meeting, one of their developers talked about the tipping point in supporting LLVM on IBM hardware and their current development status.

Ubuntu To Get Its Own Package Format, App Installer
While Ubuntu already has its own software store, Canonical developers are now working on their own application package installer and package format.

Steam Linux Usage Still On The Decline
With Valve's very well known "Steam Hardware Survey", after showing some promising Linux statistics at first, last month indicated that the Linux adoption of the game distribution software was stagnate or on the decline. The April figures for the Steam hardware survey are now public and they indicate further losses for Linux gamers.

Raspberry Pi's Raspbian Improves Its Performance
The Debian-based "Raspbian" Linux distribution for the Raspberry Pi ARM development board is now a heck of a lot faster thanks to recent software improvements.

Linux's "Ondemand" Governor Is No Longer Fit
By default the Linux kernel uses the "ondemand" CPU frequency governor for achieving maximum clock frequency when system load is high and a lower clock frequency when the system is idle. However, it turns out that for at least modern Intel CPUs, this is likely no longer the case. This default kernel choice may lead to poor battery life and performance for modern Linux systems.

Canonical Shows Mir, Unity-Next Running On MacBook Pro
A video has been posted to show off Unity-Next (Unity 8.x) running atop the Mir Display Server in its early development form atop an Apple Retina MacBook Pro with Intel HD graphics.

Meanwhile, the most popular featured articles were:

Eight-Way BSD & Linux OS Comparison
Being benchmarked today at Phoronix is a comparison of eight different BSD and Linux operating systems. The contenders for this performance roundabout include PC-BSD 9.1, DragonFlyBSD 3.4.1, Ubuntu 13.04, Linux Mint 15 RC, CentOS 6.4, Fedora 18, Mageia 3, and openSUSE 12.3. Which of these operating systems are the fastest and slowest for a variety of different workloads? Read on to find out.

Btrfs vs. EXT4 vs. XFS vs. F2FS On Linux 3.10
Building upon our F2FS file-system benchmarks from earlier in this week is a large comparison of four of the leading Linux file-systems at the moment: Btrfs, EXT4, XFS, and F2FS. With the four Linux kernel file-systems, each was benchmarked on the Linux 3.8, 3.9, and 3.10-rc1 kernels. The results from this large file-system comparison when backed by a solid-state drive are now published on Phoronix.

The Cost Of Ubuntu Disk Encryption
It's been a while since last running any Ubuntu Linux disk encryption benchmarks, but thanks to recent encryption improvements within the upstream Linux ecosystem, it's time to deliver some new Linux disk encryption benchmarks. In this article are results comparing Ubuntu 13.04 without any form of disk encryption to using the home directory encryption feature (eCryptfs-based) and full-disk encryption (using LUKS with an encrypted LVM).

GCC 4.8.0 vs. LLVM Clang 3.3 Compiler Performance
In preparation for the upcoming release of LLVM 3.3, here is an extensive round of C/C++ benchmarks from GCC 4.8.0, LLVM Clang 3.2, and LLVM Clang 3.3-rc1 to look at the Linux compiler performance. Benchmarks happened from three different systems bearing Intel Core i7 3960X, AMD FX-8350, and Intel Core i3 3217U processors for a diverse look at the performance.

Intel Linux OpenGL Driver Leading Over Apple OS X
In revisiting the OpenGL graphics and gaming performance for an older Intel Core i5 "Sandy Bridge" Apple system, the Ubuntu 13.04 performance with Intel's open-source graphics driver is now easily surpassing Apple's OpenGL driver found in OS X 10.8.3.
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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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