Nova Driver, Linux 6.9 Features & Other Linux News From March

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 April 2024 at 12:55 PM EDT. 2 Comments
In addition to looking at the open-source/Linux highlights for Q1, here is a look back at the most popular content on Phoronix during the month of March. During the past month were 262 original news articles on Phoronix and another 13 featured benchmark articles / Linux hardware reviews. There's always a lot happening from new kernel developments to exciting open-source GPU driver developments, new compiler initiatives, and a bit of a mailing list drama.

For those that may have missed any of the daily content on Phoronix during March, below is a look back at the most popular content over the past month. If you enjoy all the original content on Phoronix, as a friendly reminder, please do not use any ad-blocker on this site or otherwise there is Phoronix Premium to enjoy the site ad-free, multi-page articles on a single page, native dark mode support, and more, all while helping to support this site as it approaches its 20th birthday in June. Thanks for your support and you can also follow along via Twitter/X and Facebook.

The most popular open-source/Linux news for March included:

Red Hat's Long, Rust'ed Road Ahead For Nova As Nouveau Driver Successor
Red Hat's display driver team has recently been devising plans for Nova, a new to-be-developed Linux DRM kernel driver written in Rust for open-source NVIDIA graphics support as the successor/replacement to Nouveau for newer NVIDIA GPU generations supporting the GPU System Processor (GSP). Making this effort all the more involved is being written in Rust at a time when various kernel abstractions are still being devised and not yet upstreamed.

Intel Continues Prepping The Linux Kernel For X86S
Nearly one year ago Intel published the X86S specification (formerly stylized as "X86-S") for simplifying the Intel architecture by removing support for 16-bit and 32-bit operating systems. X86S is a big step forward with dropping legacy mode, 5-level paging improvements, and other modernization improvements for x86_64. With the Linux 6.9 kernel more x86S bits are in place for this ongoing effort.

XZ Struck By Malicious Code That Could Allow Unauthorized Remote System Access
Red Hat today issued an "urgent security alert" for Fedora 41 and Fedora Rawhide users over XZ. Yes, the XZ tools and libraries for this compression format. Some malicious code was added to XZ 5.6.0/5.6.1 that could allow unauthorized remote system access.

GitHub Disables The XZ Repository Following Today's Malicious Disclosure
Today's disclosure of XZ upstream release packages containing malicious code to compromise remote SSH access has certainly been an Easter weekend surprise... The situation only looks more bleak over time with how the upstream project was compromised while now the latest twist is GitHub disabling the XZ repository in its entirety.

Linux 6.9 Will Boot Much Faster For Systems With Large Amounts Of RAM
The Linux 6.9 kernel will be able to boot systems with large amounts of memory -- and in particular making use of HugeTLB pages -- much faster than with previous kernels, netting a noticeable reduction in boot times.

Linux 6.9 Set To Drop The Old NTFS File-System Driver
Merged two years ago with Linux 5.15 with the "NTFS3" driver developed by Paragon Software with working read-write support and other improvements for supporting Microsoft's NTFS file-system driver. This driver was a big improvement over the original NTFS read-only driver found in the mainline kernel and faster than using the NTFS-3G FUSE file-system driver. Now with enough time having passed and the NTFS3 driver working out well, the older NTFS driver is set for removal.

Fedora Workstation 41 To No Longer Install GNOME X.Org Session By Default
Fedora Workstation has long defaulted to using GNOME's Wayland session by default, but it has continued to install the GNOME X.Org session for fallback purposes or those opting to use it instead. But for the Fedora Workstation 41 release later in the year, there is a newly-approved plan to no longer have that GNOME X.Org session installed by default.

Lisa Su Says The "Team Is On It" After Tweet About Open-Source AMD GPU Firmware
George Hotz with Tiny Corp that is working on Tinygrad and TinyBox for interesting developments in the open-source AI space has previously called out AMD over ROCm issues. Yesterday yielded new tweets by "the tiny corp" over AI training runs crashing with MES errors and then called for AMD open-sourcing the firmware to which AMD CEO Lisa Su has responded.

Linux 6.9 Makes A Change To Satisfy Microsoft For EFI x86 Shim Loader Signing
The EFI updates were merged today for the ongoing Linux 6.9 merge window. This cycle the EFI kernel code is seeing enhancements for confidential computing as well as for satisfy Microsoft's requirements for getting them to sign the x86 shim loader again for UEFI Secure Boot handling.

Awesome Changes Coming With Linux 6.9: Lots From Intel/AMD, FUSE Passthrough & More Rust
Depending upon how Linus Torvalds is feeling today, Linux 6.8 could debut today as stable and in turn mark the opening of the Linux 6.9 merge window... Otherwise it will be punted off by one week. In any event, there's a lot of interesting work queuing for Linux 6.9 as shared in today's preview.

AMDGPU Linux Driver No Longer Lets You Have Unlimited Control To Lower Your Power Limit
The AMDGPU Linux driver up until the recent Linux 6.7 kernel release has let you lower the power limit of your graphics card with, well, no limits... This has allowed AMD Radeon Linux users to limit their GPU power draw when desiring for power/efficiency reasons. But since Linux 6.7 they've begun enforcing a lower-power limit set by the respective graphics card BIOS. Users petitioned to have this change reverted but in the name of safety this lower-limit enforcement will stand.

exFAT Driver Boasts Much Faster "dirsync" Performance With Linux 6.9
The latest file-system driver with notable mentions for Linux 6.9 is that for Microsoft's exFAT file-system.

LXQt Desktop Now "100%" Ready For Wayland
The lightweight LXQt desktop environment is fully ready to take on the Wayland world.

Many Laptop Improvements In Linux 6.9, Much Faster HP Performance At Higher TDP
All of the x86 platform driver updates have been merged for the ongoing Linux 6.9 merge window. As usual, most of the x86 platform driver work is around better supporting various Intel Core and AMD Ryzen laptops under Linux.

KDE Developers Are Currently Seeing 150~200 Bug Reports Per Day
KDE developer Nate Graham is out with his weekly development summary outlining the interesting feature work and bug fixes to land in the KDE space. Being fresh off the recent Plasma 6.0 release, a lot of bug reports are still coming in while developers are already busy tackling new features for Plasma 6.1.

SDL Developers Weigh Reverting Wayland Over X11 For SDL 3.0
With the SDL library that's widely-used by cross-platform games with the current SDL 3.0 development code it prefers Wayland over X11, but a new pull request would temporarily revert that on the basis of the Wayland ecosystem still not being up to par.

Microsoft Enables DNS Tunneling By Default For WSL - More Reliable Networking
Microsoft is rolling out WSL 2.2.1 to WIndows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) users with more reliable networking support, hang fixes, and other improvements.

Microsoft Ending Support For Windows Subsystem For Android
Microsoft announced today they will be winding down their support for Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA), which is similar to Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) but was designed to run Android apps from the Amazon Appstore atop Windows 11.

Linus Torvalds Isn't Happy With Some Of The Bcachefs Code For Linux 6.9
Since the Bcachefs file-system was upstreamed in the Linux 6.7 kernel it's been humming along fairy well. But today the Bcachefs feature updates were sent in for the Linux 6.9 merge window and Linus Torvalds isn't happy about some of the proposed code.

Dynamic Kernel Stacks Proposed For Linux With Big Memory Savings
A "request for comments" patch series was posted on Monday for a new dynamic kernel stacks feature for Linux. Early testing has shown the potential for significant memory savings.

And the most popular featured articles/reviews:

NVIDIA R550 Linux Driver's Open Kernel Modules Performing Well On GeForce GPUs
With the recent NVIDIA 550.54.14 Linux driver release the R550 series is now out as stable. One of the prominent changes with the NVIDIA R550 Linux driver is bringing the GeForce and workstation GPU support up to "CERTIFIED" quality when using NVIDIA's open kernel modules that are distributed as part of their driver package. Previously the open-source (out-of-tree) kernel modules were just certified for their data center GPUs while now they are basically acknowledging that they are in good shape too for GeForce and workstation products. In this article are some benchmarks of the open and proprietary kernel driver options of the NVIDIA R550 Linux driver.

Intel's Linux Software Optimizations Continue Paying Off Big Time For Xeon Emerald Rapids
Intel 5th Gen Xeon Scalable processors already offer some nice generational improvements with improved AVX-512, faster DDR5 memory support, and also the new Optimized Power Mode option. But if wanting to maximize the performance capabilities even further, Intel's Clear Linux distribution continues working out well for maximizing the performance capabilities of Intel x86_64 hardware.

Ampere Altra Max Performance For Ubuntu Linux 22.04 vs. 23.10 vs. 24.04
Following recent benchmarks looking at how the upcoming Ubuntu 24.04 LTS release is looking on Intel Xeon Emerald Rapids as well as the performance gains for AMD EPYC 9004 series on Ubuntu 24.04, I next turned to the Ampere Altra ARM64 server processor for seeing what the performance is looking like there with this Long Term Support Linux distribution release due out in just over one month.

The Performance Impact Of Intel's Register File Data Sampling "RFDS" Mitigation
Earlier this week on Patch Tuesday was the disclosure by Intel of the Register File Data Sampling (RFDS) vulnerability and mitigation via updated CPU microcode and a kernel patch. RFDS is around malicious user-space software potentially being able to infer stale register values from kernel space. Register File Data Sampling affects recent Intel Atom / E-core bearing processors including the latest Raptor Lake Refresh processors. In this article are some initial benchmarks of the RFDS performance impact under Linux when using the Core i9 14900K processor.

Ubuntu 24.04 Helping Achieve Greater Performance On Intel Xeon Scalable Emerald Rapids
While Ubuntu 24.04 LTS won't be officially out until the back-half of April, here is an early look at how the Intel Xeon Scable "Emerald Rapids" performance is looking right now compared to Ubuntu 23.10 and the current Ubuntu 22.04 LTS series in a variety of benchmarks. As largely expected with the software updates, the new Ubuntu 24.04 LTS will help achieve greater server/HPC performance on recent Intel processors.

CentOS Stream ISA Optimized Packages Show Great Results On Intel Xeon Emerald Rapids
As part of Red Hat evaluating x86-64-v3 for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 10, there is the CentOS ISA SIG that's been experimenting with ISA Optimized builds for the x86-64-v3 target. Via the CentOS ISA SIG there is the easy ability to transition an existing CentOS Stream 9 system/server over to using the x86_64-v3 optimized packages. In this article are some benchmarks on a modern Intel Xeon Scalable "Emerald Rapids" server showing the performance benefits when the entire Linux server OS is recompiled for x86_64-v3.

Intel Core Ultra "Meteor Lake" Yields Faster Performance With Linux 6.9
While Intel Core Ultra "Meteor Lake" has been working out well under Linux already -- especially with regards to the enticing integrated Arc Graphics -- with the in-development Linux 6.9 kernel it's looking even better for the CPU performance. Here are some initial benchmarks looking at the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H Meteor Lake performance with Linux 6.8 vs. 6.9 Git.

LLVM Clang Shows Off Great Performance Advantage On NVIDIA GH200's Neoverse-V2 Cores
With my recent NVIDIA GH200 Grace CPU benchmarks carried out remotely via, besides looking at areas like the 64K kernel page size performance benefits I also ran some fresh benchmarks looking at the performance difference when the binaries were generated by LLVM Clang rather than the default GCC compiler on Ubuntu Linux. This article shows off the performance difference for the 72-core Neoverse-V2 server/HPC processor when leveraging LLVM Clang rather than the GNU Compiler Collection.

Harnessing Incredible AI Compute Power Atop Open-Source Software: 8 x AMD MI300X Accelerators On Linux
A few days ago I had the chance to indulge on an incredible compute nirvana: eight AMD Instinct MI300X accelerators at my disposal for some albeit brief testing. Not only was it fantastic from the sheer compute performance, but for Phoronix fans, all the more exciting knowing it's atop a fully open-source software stack from the kernel driver up through the various user-space libraries (well, sans the GPU microcode). This first encounter with the AMD MI300 series was eye-opening in seeing how far the ROCm software stack has come and the increased challenges for NVIDIA going forward with the rising competitiveness of AMD's hardware and software efforts.

Linux 6.9 Drives AMD 4th Gen EPYC Performance Even Higher For Some Workloads
Now that the Linux 6.9 merge window is past I've begun testing out this in-development kernel on more hardware platforms in the lab. While some performance boosts like Intel Core Ultra "Meteor Lake" running faster on Linux 6.9 was to be expected given EPP tuning in the new kernel specific to those SoCs, one of the unexpected delights has been seeing AMD 4th Gen EPYC performance with some nice performance gains over Linux 6.8 stable.
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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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