Vim 8.0, macOS Sierra, Libreboot, & GCC Were Popular In September

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 October 2016 at 08:27 AM EDT. Add A Comment
September was another busy month and here's a look at the most popular articles on Phoronix for the month of my 267 original news items and 17 featured Linux reviews/articles.

It was yet another month with a lot of exciting open-source/Linux events with publishing nearly 10 articles per day. Below is a look at the most popular news and reviews. As always, if you appreciate all of the timely open-source/Linux news and interesting benchmarks, please consider joining Phoronix Premium.

On the Phoronix side, September marked the release of Phoronix Test Suite 6.6 while sadly the Phoronix Oktoberfest pilgrimage / meetup didn't happen this year.

The most popular September 2016 news:

Libreboot Leaves The GNU, The Free Software Foundation Denounced
It was only in May that Libreboot became an official GNU project but now this free software Coreboot downstream has parted ways.

Microsoft Reportedly Requires "Signature PCs" To Be Locked To Only Running Windows
Lately I've heard a few reports of some newer PCs being less than friendly with Linux, namely a number of Lenovo devices who have issues with installing Linux. Based upon new information that's come to light from a Phoronix reader, it appears that PCs receiving Microsoft's "Signature Edition" tag are being locked-out from running non-Windows platforms.

No, AMD Will Not Be Opening Up Its Firmware/Microcode
This issue comes up every so often by people suggesting it or otherwise inquiring about it... No, AMD has no intentions of open-sourcing its low-level firmware / microcode for their Radeon GPUs.

FSF, RMS Issue Statements Over Libreboot's Accusations
Thursday night we wrote about Libreboot leaving the GNU and denouncing the GNU and FSF with rather harsh words. That thread generated more than 120 comments with differing views while now the Free Software Foundation issued a statement as well as Richard M Stallman.

Adobe Returns To Updating NPAPI/Linux Flash Player
Adobe stopped updating its NPAPI-based Linux Flash Player four years ago and planned to stop supporting it entirely in 2017, but now the company has backtracked on those steps with a commitment to regularly update their NPAPI and PPAPI versions of the Flash Player for Linux.

Vim 8.0 Released With GTK3 Support, Async I/O & DirectX Support
Vi IMproved has been further improved with today's Vim 8.0 release. In fact, this is the first major release of Vim in the past decade!

Trying Out The FreeBSD-Powered TrueOS With Its Custom Qt Desktop
While I've been running PC-BSD on some systems for years I hadn't tried out any of its rolling-release FreeBSD 11.0-based spins under the new TrueOS brand nor had I tried out the project's Qt-based Lumina Desktop Environment since it reached 1.0. That changed today with trying out the latest weekly spin of TrueOS x64.

GCC Might Finally Drop The GNU Compiler For Java (GCJ)
The GNU Compiler for Java (GCJ) while made a lot of progress in its early years as a free software Java compiler, in recent years it's basically been in maintenance mode and might now be removed entirely from GCC.

Intel Has Been Working On A Fast 2D GPU Renderer Focused On Web Content
Intel's open-source developers have been working on a GPU-based high-performance 2D renderer that can be nine times faster than Cairo's CPU-based renderer and still multiple times faster than Qt (even with OpenGL), Cairo with OpenGL, or even Google's Skia with OpenGL rendering. The focus of this new project, FastUIDraw, is ultimately for speeding up the rendering of web content and being able to accelerate all of the HTML5 canvas operations.

Here Are The Steam Survey Results For Linux During August 2016
The start of the new month brings a new percentage about the estimated Linux gaming population as measured by the Steam survey.

Feral Interactive Said To Be Announcing "Massive" New Game For Linux Tomorrow
The Mac/Linux game porters at Feral Interactive are teasing that tomorrow they will be announcing a "massive" game.

QEMU 2.7 Released With Many Improvements For The Linux Virtualization Stack
It's time for another stable QEMU update.

And the most popular articles:

macOS 10.12 Sierra vs. Ubuntu 16.04 Linux Benchmarking
Apple released macOS 10.12 "Sierra" last week as the successor to OS X El Capitan. Given this annual update to macOS / OS X, here are benchmarks of macOS Sierra compared to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on a MacBook Air and Mac Mini computers.

LLVM Clang 3.9 Mostly Trails GCC In Compiler Performance
Following yesterday's GCC 5 vs. 6 vs. early 7 benchmarks, to no surprise LLVM's Clang compiler was brought up in the comments. I had already been running some fresh LLVM Clang benchmarks on this same Intel Xeon system and have those results to share now with Clang 3.8 and the newly-released Clang 3.9.

Early GCC 7 Compiler Benchmarks On Linux: Some Performance Improvements
While GCC 7 is still under heavy development and the GCC 7.1 stable release will not come until a few months into 2017, here are some early benchmarks of GCC 7.0 compared to GCC 6.2 and GCC 5.4 on an Ubuntu Linux x86_64 system.

Intel Xeon E5-2609 v4 Broadwell-EP Linux Benchmarks
Recently I purchased a Xeon E5-2609 v4 Broadwell-EP processor as a $300 Xeon with eight physical cores but clocked at just 1.7GHz and without any Turbo Boost while the TDP is 85 Watts. Here are some benchmarks compared to other LGA-2011 v3 CPUs in my possession under Linux along with an AMD FX reference point too and followed by some Skylake Xeon benchmarks.

TrueOS vs. DragonFlyBSD vs. GhostBSD vs. FreeBSD vs. PacBSD Benchmarks
For your viewing pleasure this weekend are benchmarks of TrueOS 20160831 (the rolling-release distribution formerly known as PC-BSD), DragonFlyBSD 4.6, GhostBSD 10.3, FreeBSD 11.0-RC2, and PacBSD 20160809 (formerly known as Arch BSD) all benchmarked from the same system! Plus for reference to the Linux numbers are Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS and Clear Linux 10040 being compared to these BSDs on the same tests and hardware.

Intel Core i7 6800K Benchmarks On Ubuntu + Linux 4.8
While the Core i7 6800K has been available for a few months now, there hadn't been any review on it since Intel hadn't sent out any Broadwell-E samples for Linux testing this time around. However, I did end up finally buying a Core i7 6800K now that the Turbo Boost Max 3.0 support is finally coming together (at first, Intel PR said it wouldn't even be supported on Linux) so that I can run some benchmarks there plus some other interesting items on the horizon for benchmarking. Here are some benchmarks of the i7-6800K from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with the Linux 4.8 kernel.

7-Way Linux Distribution Benchmarks To Kick Off September
In testing out a new Broadwell-EP system as well as for final validation of the new Phoronix Test Suite 6.6, I carried out a fresh Linux OS distribution comparison last week. Here are those results from Ubuntu, Clear Linux, Scientific Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Fedora, Antergos, and Sabayon Linux.

A Look At The Exciting Features/Improvements Of GNOME 3.22
If all goes well, GNOME 3.22 will be officially released tomorrow, 21 September. Here is a recap of some of the new features and improvements made over this past six month development cycle plus some screenshots of the near-final desktop that will power the upcoming Fedora 25 Workstation.

Trying Out Eight BSDs On A Modern PC: Some Are Smooth, Others Troublesome
Following the seven-way Linux distribution benchmark comparison published earlier this week, on the same system I set out to test a variety of BSD distributions on the same system and ultimately benchmark their out-of-the-box performance too. Those performance benchmark results will be published later this week while today were a few remarks I wanted to share when trying out TrueOS, DragonFlyBSD, GhostBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, MidnightBSD, and PacBSD (Arch BSD) on this modern Intel Xeon system.

Intel 600P Series SSD NVMe M.2 Linux Tests
Last month Intel introduced the 600P Series solid-state drives as the most competitively-priced NVMe SSDs launched to date. Here are a few Linux comparison benchmarks from my initial testing of the SSDPEKKW256G7X1 M.2 SSD on Linux.
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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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