Linux 5.9 Regression, NVIDIA RTX 30, GNOME 40 & Microsoft Made For A Fun September

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 October 2020 at 06:22 AM EDT. Add A Comment
From new hardware releases to figuring out that Linux 5.9 performance regression to interesting open-source software advancements, September was an interesting trek with 259 original articles on the site and another 15 featured articles / multi-page Linux hardware reviews.

We've made it through Q3 of this wild year and now it's on to October that will surely be very interesting with Tiger Lake hardware coming to market, AMD's RDNA2 and Zen 3 announcements, Linux 5.10's cycle kicking off following the imminent Linux 5.9 kernel release, GNOME 40 development getting underway, and the releases of Ubuntu 20.10 and Fedora 33. Buckle up as October should be a very interesting month.

Before getting to the highlights for September, if you appreciate the daily original content on Phoronix, consider showing your support by joining Phoronix Premium to access the site ad-free and multi-page articles on a single page and other benefits. PayPal tips are also accepted or at the very least, please do not use any ad-blocker on this site.

The most popular news for the past month included:

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3000 Series Launches With Impressive Specs, Competitive Pricing
As widely expected amid a constant flow of rumors and leaks in recent weeks, NVIDIA just revealed their GeForce RTX 3000 "Ampere" series.

The Problems Debian Is Facing In 2020
The virtual DebConf20 concluded last week as the annual main conference for the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. Recently elected Debian Project Leader Jonathan Carter gave his talk at the event as an overview of where the project is at today as well as some of the problems they are facing today.

Microsoft Has A Large Presence At This Year's X.Org Conference
Years ago if saying Microsoft would have multiple developers presenting at the annual X.Org Developers' Conference (XDC) as well as being a sponsor, you'd probably raise some laughs. But this year for XDC2020 Gdansk (albeit virtual due to COVID-19), Microsoft engineers gave not just one talk but three on the opening day.

Developers Try Again To Upstream Motorola 68000 Series Support In LLVM
Hobbyist developers are trying once again to get a Motorola 68000 back-end merged into the upstream LLVM compiler. Yes, the M68k processors that are some 30+ years old.

GCC Automatic Parallel Compilation Viability Results Help Up To 3.3x
One of the most interesting projects out of Google Summer of Code 2020 has been the ongoing work for allowing individual code files to be compiled in parallel, building off work last year in addressing GCC parallelization bottlenecks. The final report for GSoC 2020 on this work has been issued.

GCC Is Currently Faster Than LLVM's Clang At Compiling The Linux Kernel
While LLVM's Clang C/C++ compiler was traditionally known for its faster build speeds than GCC, in recent releases of GCC the build speeds have improved and in some areas LLVM/Clang has slowed down with further optimization passes and other work added to its growing code-base. As it stands right now, GCC is faster than Clang at compiling the Linux kernel.

AMD Is Hiring To Work On New Radeon Driver Tooling Written In Rust
It turns out AMD is at least exploring the possibilities around using the Rust programming language in their graphics driver tooling.

OpenPOWER Summit 2020 Was This Week With Many Interesting Hardware/Software Talks
In addition to XDC2020 this past week, the Linux Foundation hosted the virtual OpenPOWER Summit North America 2020 event as well with a mix of interesting hardware and software presentations.

Mark Shuttleworth Comments Following Ubuntu Community Friction, Uncertainty
For the past number of weeks there have been discussions ongoing about the "loss of leadership" within the Ubuntu community and as part of that the Ubuntu Community Team and Ubuntu Community Council having faded away in recent years. Following a lot of comments on the Ubuntu Discourse, Mark Shuttleworth has chimed in with his thoughts and work moving forward.

Apple Open-Sources Swift System, Adds Linux Support
Earlier this year Apple engineers announced Swift System as their new library for low-level system interfaces. They have now open-sourced Swift System while also introducing Linux support.

C++20 Draft Approved As Major Update To C++ Programming Language
On Saturday the ISO/IEC 14882:2020 standards draft was approved as the latest major update to the C++ programming language.

Security Researchers Detail New "BlindSide" Speculative Execution Attack
Security researchers from Amsterdam have publicly detailed "BlindSide" as a new speculative execution attack vector for both Intel and AMD processors.

"Microsoft Wants To Create A Complete Virtualization Stack With Linux"
Microsoft engineers are sending out new kernel patches in looking to expand the Linux support around the Microsoft Hypervisor (Hyper-V).

Ubuntu 20.10 Adding Active Directory Support To The Installer
The "Ubiquity" installer used by the Ubuntu desktop is set to feature Active Directory (AD) integration with the upcoming Ubuntu 20.10 release.

Red Hat Has Been Working On New NVFS File-System
Yet another new file-system being worked on for the Linux/open-source world is NVFS and has been spearheaded by a Red Hat engineer.

Faster Reading From /dev/zero With Linux 5.10
Queued up in char-misc-next ahead of the Linux 5.10 cycle is a speed-up for reading from /dev/zero...

Microsoft Edge Is Coming Out For Linux Next Month
As part of a host of announcements for kicking off the virtual Ignite 2020 conference, Microsoft just confirmed they will be releasing their Edge web browser for Linux next month.

Succeeding GNOME 3.38 Will Be "GNOME 40" - Yes, GNOME Forty
Following today's GNOME 3.38 release a new versioning scheme was announced whereby the next release in six months time will be GNOME 40.0.

AMD Sends Out Linux Kernel Support For Van Gogh APUs - Confirms DDR5 Memory, VCN3
As a nice Friday afternoon patch series there is the 275k lines of code for wiring up the next-generation AMD Van Gogh APU support under Linux.

PipeWire Is In Increasingly Great Shape - Ready For More User Testing
PipeWire as the Red Hat led project for better audio/video stream management server on the Linux desktop is getting into increasingly great shape. This forward-looking solution that handles PulseAudio/JACK use-cases as well as pleasant integration with the likes of Wayland and Flatpak is ready to take on more user testing.

And the top featured articles:

Linux 5.0 To Linux 5.9 Kernel Benchmarking Was A Bumpy Ride With New Regressions
Recently carrying out some benchmarks of all major kernel releases from Linux 5.0 through Linux 5.9 ended up yielding some surprising performance changes with the in-development 5.9 kernel. Here's details on this historical look at the kernel performance and what's going on with the Linux 5.9 kernel slowdowns.

Mesa 20.3 + Linux 5.9 Is In Great Shape Against AMDVLK, AMDGPU-PRO
The Mesa Radeon Vulkan driver "RADV" with its ACO back-end by default is now winning nearly across the board against not only AMD's AMDVLK Vulkan driver with LLVM back-end but also AMDGPU-PRO with the proprietary shader compiler back-end.

A Deep Dive Into The AMD/Intel CPU + NVIDIA GPU Performance With Blender 2.90
Following the debut of the big Blender 2.90 release and subsequently updating it for the Phoronix Test Suite /, here is a deep dive into the Blender 2.90 performance... A number of areas are being looked at with the initial Blender 2.90 benchmarks from how the performance is on various CPUs and GPUs to the performance of the Blender 2.82 vs. 2.90 to looking at the Windows vs. Linux performance for Blender 2.90 with various means of acceleration.

The Latest On The Linux 5.9 Kernel Regression Stemming From Page Lock Fairness
Last week we reported on a Linux 5.9 kernel regression following benchmarks from Linux 5.0 to 5.9 and there being a sharp drop with the latest development kernel. That kernel regression was bisected to code introduced by Linus Torvalds at the start of the Linux 5.9 kernel cycle. Unfortunately it's not a trivial problem and one still being analyzed in coming up with a proper solution. So the short story is it's a work-in-progress while this article has some additional insight and benchmarks done over the course of the past few days.

Benchmarking Firefox 83 Nightly With "Warp" Against Google Chrome On Linux
Following last week's news of Firefox Nightly flipping on their new JIT "Warp" update I was eager to run fresh benchmarks of the current Firefox releases compared to Google Chrome under Ubuntu Linux.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT CPUFreq Governor Comparison With Linux 5.9
One of the most frequent questions received at Phoronix in recent times is whether the "schedutil" governor is ready for widespread use and if it can compare in performance to, well, the "performance" governor on AMD Linux systems. Here are some benchmarks of an AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT using the latest Linux 5.9 development kernel in looking at the performance differences between the CPUFreq governor options of Ondemand, Powersave, Performance, and Schedutil.

NVIDIA GeForce vs. AMD Radeon Vulkan Neural Network Performance With NCNN
With having added Tencent's NCNN tests to the Phoronix Test Suite with Vulkan acceleration, here is a look at the real-world impact by using RealSR-NCNN for scaling up with RealSR. Various NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards were tested for this initial NCNN / RealSR-NCNN Vulkan comparison.

Why TensorFlow Lite Has Been Running Slower On Recent Linux Kernels
The Linux 5.0 to 5.9 kernel benchmarking posted this week showed TensorFlow Lite running slower since the Linux 5.5 kernel... On top of looking at the new Linux 5.9 regressions, I also spent some time bisecting and figuring out what happened for TensorFlow Lite last year that has at least for the system under test caused it to run slower for all the kernel releases this year as shown in the aforelinked article.

openSUSE Tumbleweed vs. Leap 15.2 vs. Jump Alpha Benchmarks
Following the recent alpha debut of the openSUSE Jump distribution for testing that is working to synchronize SUSE Linux Enterprise with openSUSE Leap, there was an inquiry made about the performance of it. So for addressing that premium member's question, here are some benchmarks carried out recently of the latest openSUSE Leap 15.2 against the openSUSE Jump in its early state against the rolling-release openSUSE Tumbleweed.

NVIDIA 24-Way GPU Comparison With Many OpenCL, CUDA Workloads
As part of re-testing all hardware prior to major GPU/driver launches, here is a look at the latest NVIDIA OpenCL/CUDA performance on Linux -- complementing the recent Blender 2.90 benchmarks and the latest NVIDIA vs. AMD Linux gaming performance. In still waiting to find out when we will get any NVIDIA Ampere hardware for Linux testing, I have been having some benchmarking fun and extended this to a 24-way graphics card comparison back to Maxwell in looking at not only the raw GPU compute performance but also the performance-per-Watt / power consumption and GPU thermal values.
Related News
About The Author
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

Popular News This Week