Oibaf Keeps Making Ubuntu GPU Driver Upgrades Easy
For those that may have some time this holiday weekend and are looking to better enhance the performance of Ubuntu's open-source graphics drivers, one of the easiest ways to do so is by enabling the Oibaf repository for easily downloading and installing newer versions of the Mesa/Gallium3D drivers and other X.Org related components. Here are some more details and current benchmarks of enabling the Oibaf PPA over Ubuntu 13.10.
The Oibaf repository has been covered several times before and comes down to being one of the popular Launchpad PPAs (Personal Package Archives) where there's frequently new (Git) versions of Mesa, the xf86-video-* drivers, and other graphics/X.Org related open-source packages. The packages themselves aren't some forked version of Mesa or anything like that, but it's a very easy way of having pre-built open-source graphics driver packages using the very latest code since Ubuntu doesn't send down post-release updates of major new Mesa driver code. As far as why you want to be running the very latest Mesa/X.Org code, you can look at Phoronix any day and usually come up with several reasons for different features that just landed in Git. Mesa 10.0 is about to be released with OpenGL 3.2/3.3 support and dozens of other improvements yet you won't find it in the Ubuntu main archive until Ubuntu 14.04 LTS unless you turn to using the Oibaf PPA or one of the other bleeding-edge X.Org/Mesa archives.
Enabling and upgrading the open-source graphics drivers for Intel, AMD Radeon, and Nouveau (NVIDIA) can be as easy as running sudo apt-add-repository ppa:oibaf/graphics-drivers && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade. It's as easy as that. More Oibaf details can be found via the Launchpad page. Technical support is also provided via this Phoronix Forums thread where there's more than 830 posts relating to this package archive.
For those curious about the impact of the driver upgrade, for some new Mesa numbers I did benchmarks on Friday of a clean install of Ubuntu 13.10 with all stable release updates followed by doing a second benchmark run when the latest Oibaf drivers were installed. Testing was done from a Radeon HD 4870 graphics card and the Oibaf packages bumped xf86-video-ati 7.2.0 to 7.2.99 Git and Mesa was bumped from Mesa 9.2.1 stable to Mesa 10.1.0-devel git-1fb1065.
On the following pages are the results from this latest round of Ubuntu Linux graphics testing. All of these OpenGL Linux game benchmarks were done using the Phoronix Test Suite. The purpose of this testing is to just give users a better idea of performance expectations -- at least for R600 Gallium3D -- when turning on the Oibaf PPA for Ubuntu 13.10.