Intel mOS, Cachy, Mozilla Layoffs Were The Open-Source Buzz Of August
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 September 2020 at 12:05 AM EDT. Add A Comment
PHORONIX --
August was an interesting month in terms of Linux/open-source activity though still another tough month during the coronavirus pandemic.

During the month of August on Phoronix were 273 original news articles and just 10 featured Linux hardware reviews/featured articles. The news count is still close to the average of 10 new/original news articles each and every day of the year while the review/featured count is off the usual track of around one per day... That is due principally due to declining ad revenue rates and ad-block users making operations incredibly difficult with everything going on this year (and still striving for 100+ hour work weeks on top of having an infant). In September though will be a new ad partner serving all of the ads on Phoronix so that should bring some uplift. In any case if you would like to enjoy Phoronix ad-free or show your support you can join Phoronix Premium and/or consider a PayPal tip to show your support for Phoronix in its sixteenth year and continuing to see new content each and every day.

As for the most popular news articles on Phoronix over the course of the past month, the most viewed items include:

Intel Making Progress On Their "mOS" Modified Linux Kernel Running Lightweight Kernels
For a while now Intel has been quietly been working on "mOS" as the "multi-OS" that is a modified version of the Linux kernel that in turn is running lightweight kernels for high-performance computing purposes.

Cachy Is The Latest Effort To Provide A Better Linux CPU Scheduler
Cachy is a Linux CPU scheduler that has been generating some attention over the past month that aims for optimal CPU cache usage and based on a Highest Response Ration Next (HRRN) policy.

Android AOSP Can Boot Off Mainline Linux 5.9 With Just One Patch
The Android open-source project "AOSP" with its latest code is very close to being able to boot off the mainline Linux kernel when assuming the device drivers are all upstream.

How A Raspberry Pi 4 Performs Against Intel's Latest Celeron, Pentium CPUs
Following the recent Intel Comet Lake Celeron and Pentium CPU benchmarking against other x86_64 Intel/AMD CPUs, here was a bit of fun... Seeing how these budget Intel CPUs compare to a Raspberry Pi 4 in various processor benchmarks, all tested on Debian Linux.

Mozilla's Incredible Speech-To-Text Engine Is At Risk Following Layoffs
For a while now a Mozilla software project that's been an "unsung hero" has been DeepSpeech as their speech-to-text engine. Sadly, following the recent major layoffs at Mozilla and restructuring along with a shift to focusing more on their profitable activities, DeepSpeech for now has an uncertain future.

Linux 5.9 Brings Safeguard Following NVIDIA's Recent "GPL Condom" Incident
Stemming from the recent discussions over NVIDIA NetGPU code that relied on another shim for interfacing between NVIDIA's proprietary driver and the open-source kernel code, a new patch is on the way for Linux 5.9 to fight back against such efforts.

A "Large Hardware Vendor" Wants A EULA Displayed For Firmware Updates On Linux
The open-source Fwupd firmware updating utility paired with LVFS as the Linux Vendor Firmware Service has seen explosive growth for vastly improving the BIOS/firmware updating experience on Linux. Many major hardware vendors distribute their firmware updates on LVFS for consumption by Fwupd and more than 17 million firmware files have been served. Now though there is a new "large hardware vendor" willing to distribute their firmware updates this way but they want a end-user license agreement (EULA) added.

Kernel Developers Work To Block NVIDIA "GPL Condom" Effort Around New NetGPU Code
Linux kernel developers are working on tightening up the access around GPL-only kernel symbols and kernel shims that interface with proprietary kernel modules. This latest work is being driven by code recently put out for improving the Linux networking code where NVIDIA's proprietary kernel driver would be the initial consumer.

Linux Developers Continue Evaluating The Path To Adding Rust Code To The Kernel
As mentioned back in July, upstream Linux developers have been working to figure out a path for adding Rust code to the Linux kernel. That topic is now being further explored at this week's virtual Linux Plumbers Conference and it's still looking like it will happen, it's just a matter of when the initial infrastructure will be in place and how slowly the rollout will be.

Some Ugly Code Can Get NVIDIA's Linux Driver Working With Accelerated XWayland
Red Hat's Adam Jackson has been working on "GLX Delay" as a means of offering accelerated GLX with OpenGL for XWayland when using the NVIDIA proprietary driver. The proposed code is going through Mesa even though it's for the proprietary NVIDIA driver benefit and also requires a change to the OpenGL Vendor Neutral Dispatch Library (libglvnd).

Alibaba Reports Their XT910 RISC-V Core To Be Faster Than An Arm Cortex-A73
A few weeks back Alibaba announced the "XT910" as the fastest RISC-V processor featuring 16 cores and clock speeds up to 2.5GHz while being manufactured on a 12nm node. This by far beats most RISC-V hardware currently available and now at this week's Hot Chips conference the Chinese company is reporting that the XT910 is faster than an Arm Cortex-A73.

Researchers Make More Discoveries Around L1TF/Foreshadow - It's Not Good
Security researchers from Graz University of Technology and CISPA Helmholtz are out with their latest findings on CPU speculative execution vulnerabilities, namely taking another look at L1TF/Foreshadow. Their findings are bad news not only for Intel but potentially other CPU vendors as well.

Linux Patch Proposed To Double Raspberry Pi 4 Transfer Speed To eMMC/SD Storage
Manjaro Linux developer Tobias Schramm brought to light that only single data rate mode is currently being used for micro SD cards and eMMC storage with Raspberry Pi 4 Model B SBCs. But with a two line kernel patch, the double data rate mode can be enabled.

Microsoft Is Exploring LTO+PGO For A Faster Linux Kernel
While more and more software vendors are employing link-time optimizations (LTO) and profile-guided optimizations (PGO) for leveraging the compiler to squeeze out performance, it may surprise many that Microsoft engineers are exploring LTO+PGO for the Linux kernel in their own quest of achieving greater Linux performance.

Paragon Looks To Mainline Their NTFS Read-Write Driver To The Mainline Linux Kernel
With the mainline NTFS driver in the Linux kernel offering read-only support for this widely-used Microsoft file-system and the more popular "ntfs-3g" driver being FUSE-based, Paragon Software is looking to mainline their read-write driver into the mainline kernel tree as a significant improvement over the existing NTFS kernel driver. But in the current state it's not clear if the driver will be accepted.

Mozilla Laying Off Around A Quarter Of Their Employees
Mozilla today announced they are laying off around 250 of their employees with Mozilla Corporation and closing up their Taipei, Taiwan operations.

Lenovo Starts Offering Up Fedora Linux Pre-Loaded Systems From Their Web Store
As a follow up from the news earlier this summer of Lenovo planning to certify their ThinkPad and ThinkStation lines for Linux from Ubuntu and Red Hat while also offering distribution choices like Fedora, that work is proceeding with Lenovo now offering up their first system from their web store that comes pre-loaded with Fedora.

Firefox 80 Available With VA-API On X11, WebGL Parallel Shader Compile Support
Firefox 80.0 is now available. There isn't too much to get excited about with Firefox 80, but at least some changes on the developer front.

Ubuntu Is Looking At Offering Better WiFi Support By Using Intel's IWD
Ubuntu developers are looking at using Intel IWD as the iNET wireless daemon to potentially replace WPA_Supplicant for offering a better WiFi experience.

LibreOffice 7.0 Released As The Open-Source, Vulkan-Accelerated Office Suite
LibreOffice 7.0 has been released! Making LibreOffice 7.0 so exciting is that the Cairo code was replaced with Google's Skia library and in the process gaining optional support for GPU accelerating the user-interface with Vulkan.

And in order of the most popular featured articles/reviews:

Intel's Clear Linux Still Outperforming Other Distributions For Mid-2020
Being well past the half-way point for the year, here is a look at how Intel's performance-optimized Clear Linux distribution is performing compared to its rolling state last December. Plus there are also benchmarks looking at how the current Clear Linux is performing against other rolling-release distributions.

The Current NVIDIA vs. AMD Radeon Linux Gaming Performance Ahead Of Ampere
With NVIDIA next week expected to launch their next-generation GeForce RTX 3000 "Ampere" graphics cards, here is a fresh look at the current GeForce RTX 2000 series performance up against the latest AMD Radeon competition when using the very latest Linux graphics drivers for both vendors. This is the very latest performance showdown right now for the AMD/NVIDIA GPU performance under various Linux and Steam Play games on Ubuntu.

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS vs. Linux 5.9 + Mesa 20.3-devel Radeon Graphics Performance
Now that the default graphics driver stack of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is a few months old, here is a look at the AMD Radeon Linux gaming performance of Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS out-of-the-box compared to upgrading against Linux 5.9 Git and Mesa 20.3-devel for seeing if the performance advantages are worthwhile in making the leap to the newer RadeonSI OpenGL and RADV Vulkan drivers paired with the very latest kernel.

Linux 5.9 Performance Is Off To A Great Start With FSGSBASE Boost
The FSGSBASE support that was finally mainlined a few days ago for Linux 5.9 is off to providing a nice performance boost for both Intel and AMD systems. Looking at FSGSBASE is one of the first areas I've dived into for Linux 5.9 kernel testing with this article serving as some preview/teaser data points.

Benchmarks: Amazon EC2 C5ad Instances Launch For AMD EPYC Rome With Local NVMe Storage
Complementing Amazon's recently launched EPYC 7002 "Rome" CPUs in the EC2 cloud, the "c5a" series has now been extended with the "c5ad" line-up of AMD EPYC Rome processors that now have local NVMe-based solid-state storage directly attached. Initial tests of the Amazon EC2 C5ad instances are promising and indeed offering better value than the comparable Intel Xeon instances.

Linux 5.9 Features New GPU Support To Numerous Security + Performance Optimizations
Linux 5.9-rc1 is set to be released this evening in marking the end of the two-week long merge window where new features are introduced for the cycle.

AMD AOCC 2.2 Helping Squeeze Extra Performance Out Of AMD EPYC 7002 "Rome" CPUs
At the end of June AMD quietly released a new version of the AMD Optimizing C/C++ Compiler. Noticing the new release this week, here are some benchmarks of AOCC 2.2 up against LLVM Clang 10 and GCC 10 with Ubuntu Linux while running from an AMD EPYC 7742 2P server for looking at the performance gains possible with the compiler optimizations.

Intel Offers New Xe Graphics Details, Product Updates At 2020 Architecture Day
This week Intel held their 2020 Architecture Day, albeit virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of interesting technical information was shared on both the hardware and software sides. Here are some of the interesting highlights.

The New OpenBenchmarking.org Now In Alpha For Better Hardware & Benchmark Discovery
As alluded to previously, a major overhaul of OpenBenchmarking.org has been in the works for a number of months now including a completely brand new analytics engine as part of the Phoronix Test Suite 10.0 development with its release due out later this year. With the new OpenBenchmarking.org now in good enough shape at least for the internal infrastructure, this new version is being opened up to the public today while over the weeks ahead more features will continue to be flipped on.

NVIDIA 450 Series Linux Driver OpenCL/CUDA/OptiX Performance On Pascal/Turing
With last week having delivered some current NVIDIA Linux gaming performance metrics ahead of the anticipated GeForce RTX 3000 "Ampere" series launch this week, here are some fresh compute metrics for those interested.
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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 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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