Linux 4.17, Ryzen, Valve & Apple Looking For Kernel Devs Topped April
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 May 2018 at 12:03 AM EDT. 1 Comment
PHORONIX --
Happy May Day to those celebrating any events today, but as usual with the end of a month comes our recaps of the most popular Linux/open-source news over the month prior.

For April 2018 on Phoronix.com there were 302 original news articles and 21 featured articles/reviews written all by your's truly. This is yet another month with the average of 10+ articles each and every day of the week. There were slightly less featured articles for April due to focusing on some of the larger articles around the Zen+ launch and various large benchmark articles. As always, it's also juggling work dealing full-time on the Phoronix Test Suite too for which there is a lot with the upcoming Phoronix Test Suite 8.0 release having overhauled Windows support, significant Phoromatic improvements, easier test profile creation, and other functionality to be covered shortly on Phoronix.

Among the content highlights for April 2018 on Phoronix when it comes to open-source/Linux news was the big Linux 4.17 merge window, the AMD Ryzen "Zen+" 2000 series launching with more CPU tests coming in May, Apple on the lookout to hire Linux kernel developers, Valve reaffirming their commitment to Linux, and much more.

Below is a look at the most popular content on Phoronix for April 2018. As always, if you appreciate our content please do not view this site when using any ad-blocker and/or consider joining Phoronix Premium whereby for a small amount you can view the site ad-free, view multi-page articles on a single page, and make use of other benefits. PayPal tips are also welcoming for showing your support or paying for your ad-blocking sins. It's only through pay-per-impression advertisements and premium supporters that this site can continue, which will be marking its 14th birthday come 5 June.

With that said, here were the most popular news stories for April:

Apple Is Looking For Linux Kernel Developers
For reasons unknown, Apple is looking to hire Linux kernel developers in both Texas and California.

The Once Very Promising Unvanquished Game Hasn't Seen A New Release In Two Years
Going back several years one of our most favorite open-source games to monitor was the Unvanquished game project with its roots in the Tremulous game and built off the Daemon Engine that is a distant fork to ioquake3 by way of the also once very promising ET: XreaL work.

EGLStreams XWayland Code Revised Ahead Of X.Org Server 1.20
It's still not clear if the EGLStreams XWayland support will be merged for xorg-server 1.20 but at least the patches were revised this week, making it possible to merge them into this next X.Org Server release for allowing the NVIDIA proprietary driver to work with XWayland.

Torvalds Expresses Concerns Over Current "Kernel Lockdown" Approach
The kernel lockdown feature further restricts access to the kernel by user-space with what can be accessed or modified, including different /dev points, ACPI restrictions, not allowing unsigned modules, and various other restrictions in the name of greater security. Pairing that with UEFI SecureBoot unconditionally is meeting some resistance by Linus Torvalds.

Linux Set To Shed Nearly 500k Lines Of Code By Dropping Old CPUs
As expected, the Linux 4.17 kernel will move ahead with dropping support for older/unmaintained CPU architectures.

Red Hat Confirms RHEL 8 Will Drop Python 2
While it could have been pretty much assumed up until now that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 would ship without Python 2 considering that next enterprise Linux OS release isn't even out yet, its long-term maintenance support, and Python 2 reaching EOL at the start of 2020, but now it's been made official.

Valve Reaffirms Commitment To Linux, SteamOS
While there was a lot of hoopla recently about Valve removing the "Steam Machines" link from their main navigation on their website, Valve's Pierre-Loup Griffais has written a public post to reaffirm the company's commitment to Linux and SteamOS.

This Chart Shows How The Radeon RX 580 vs. GeForce GTX 1060 Now Compete Under Linux
It was just last year that open-source RadeonSI/RADV developers were trying to get the Radeon RX 580 "Polaris" GPU to be competitive with the GeForce GTX 1060 as it is under Windows given each GPU's capabilities. We've seen the RX 580 and GTX 1060 dancing under Linux the past few months and yesterday's 20-way GPU comparison with Rise of the Tomb Raider was quite significant -- perhaps most surprising being how well the RX 580 performed. Heck, just one or two years ago it was an accomplishment seeing any official Radeon driver support at-launch for new Linux game releases. So here are some extensive tests looking closer at the GTX 1060 vs. RX 580 battle in this latest Vulkan-powered Linux game port.

Linux 4.17 Will Allow Some Systems To Lower Their Idle Power Use Up To 10%+
While last week was the main power management feature updates for the Linux 4.17 kernel merge window that included the new ACPI TAD driver, Rafael Wysocki today sent in a secondary set of feature updates and it includes a rather significant development for Linux power and performance.

GIMP 2.10 Released With A Ton Of Improvements
It's been over a half-decade since the GIMP 2.8 stable debut and today marks the long-awaited release of GIMP 2.10.

And the most popular featured articles:

AMD Ryzen 7 Performance On Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, Six Linux Distributions
Our latest Windows vs. Linux benchmarking interest has been seeing how the AMD Ryzen 7 performance compares with the latest operating systems / Linux distributions. We have recently posted some Windows 10 vs. Windows WSL vs. Windows Linux benchmarks, relative Spectre/Meltdown mitigation impact tests on Windows vs. Linux, and other benchmarks but has mostly been done with Intel or server hardware. For those curious, today's tests were done with an AMD Ryzen 7 1700 platform.

POWER9 Benchmarks vs. Intel Xeon vs. AMD EPYC Performance On Debian Linux
For several days we've had remote access to one of the brand new Raptor Talos II Workstations that is powered by POWER9 processors and open-source down through the firmware. For those curious how these latest POWER processors compare to AMD EPYC and Intel Xeon processors, here are some benchmarks comparing against of the few other systems in house while all testing was done from Debian GNU/Linux.

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X + Ryzen 7 2700X Linux Benchmarks
The embargo on the Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 7 2700X processors has expired now that these Ryzen+ CPUs are beginning to ship today. We can now talk about the Linux support and the initial performance figures for these upgraded Zen desktop CPUs.

20-Way NVIDIA GeForce / AMD Radeon GPU Comparison For Rise of The Tomb Raider On Vulkan/Linux
Today Feral Interactive released their much anticipated Linux port of Rise of the Tomb Raider, the game that was released for Windows in January of 2016 and then released for macOS last week. Feral's Mac port was relying upon the Apple Metal API while the Linux port is now their second game (after F1 2017) exclusively relying upon the Vulkan graphics/compute API rather than OpenGL. This morning I posted the initial Radeon results using the RADV driver while here is the NVIDIA GeForce vs. AMD Radeon graphics card comparison on Ubuntu Linux using twenty different graphics cards.

Linux 4.17 Offers Some Promising Power-Savings Improvements
Of the many improvements to be found in the in-development Linux 4.17 kernel -- nicely summarized in our Linux 4.17 feature overview -- one of the features I've been anxious the most to begin benchmarking has been the reported power management improvements. Here are my initial power/performance tests of Linux 4.17 that for some systems is seeing a measurable drop in power usage, even in some cases under load while without sacrificing the performance.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Linux Performance Boosted By Updated BIOS/AGESA
With last week's initial launch-day Linux benchmarks of the Ryzen 5 2600X / Ryzen 7 2700X some found the Linux performance to be lower than Windows. While the root cause is undetermined, a BIOS/AGESA update does appear to help the Linux performance significantly at least with the motherboard where I've been doing most of my tests with the Ryzen 7 2700X. Here are the latest benchmark numbers.

Linux Gaming Performance With AMD Ryzen 5 2600X / Ryzen 7 2700X
Today the Ryzen+ "Pinnacle Ridge" processors begin shipping and we can now share with you the initial performance results for the Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 7 2700X processors. One of the most common questions I've received about these improved Zen processors since showing them off last week was inquiries/hopes about the Linux gaming performance, so those numbers are first up today followed by other Linux benchmark results forthcoming.

The Many Great Features & Changes Coming For The Linux 4.17 Kernel
Linus Torvalds is expected by the end of the day to release Linux 4.17-rc1, thereby marking the end of the two-week merge window that saw a lot of changes and new features land for Linux 4.17. Here is our original feature overview of the changes to be found in this next major release of the Linux kernel, which should premiere as stable by the middle of June.

NVIDIA 396.18 Linux Benchmarks, Testing Their New Vulkan SPIR-V Compiler
Yesterday NVIDIA released their first 396 Linux driver beta in the form of the 396.18 release and its biggest addition is a new Vulkan SPIR-V compiler to replace the compiler that's been hobbled together since the Vulkan 1.0 debut. Here are some fresh NVIDIA Vulkan Linux benchmarks and more on this new SPIR-V compiler.

Core i7 8700K vs. Ryzen 7 2700X With Rise of The Tomb Raider On Linux
Here are our latest Linux gaming benchmarks comparing the Intel Core i7 8700K to the newly-released Ryzen 7 2700X. The focus in this article is on the Rise of the Tomb Raider Linux port released last week by Feral Interactive and powered by Vulkan.
About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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