Linux 4.20, Debian, Intel, x32, Microsft's Actions & STIBP Topics Rounded Out 2018
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 January 2019 at 11:37 AM EST. 1 Comment
PHORONIX --
Even with the downtime by companies and developers in December around the holidays, December 2018 was action-packed with Linux 4.20 releasing, continued development controversies, talk of deprecating the Linux x32 ABI, Microsoft continuing to make surprising open-source actions, Intel's interesting Architecture Day where we learned of work to open-source the FSP, and many other events made last month interesting.

December saw 309 original news articles on Phoronix and 37 featured benchmark articles / Linux hardware reviews, continuing to deliver an average of about ten articles per day and one multi-page article/review per day, written by your's truly and new content daily regardless of weekends or holidays. To show your support with Phoronix turning 15 years old in a few months, consider joining Phoronix Premium or at the very least not viewing this site with an ad-blocker.

The ten most popular news stories on Phoronix for December included:

Debian's Anti-Harassment Team Is Removing A Package Over Its Name
The latest notes from the Debian anti-harassment team on Wednesday caught my attention when reading, "We were requested to advice on the appropriateness of a certain package in the Debian archive. Our decision resulted in the package pending removal from the archive." Curiosity got the best of me... What package was deemed too inappropriate for the Debian archive?

Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping x32 Support
It was just several years ago that the open-source ecosystem began supporting the x32 ABI, but already kernel developers are talking of potentially deprecating the support and for it to be ultimately removed.

NVIDIA Makes PhysX Open-Source
As a very big surprise bundled alongside the announcement today of the $2,499 USD TITAN RTX graphics card is word that NVIDIA's PhysX software is going open-source!

The Most Notable New Features Of The Linux 4.20 Kernel
As it's been two months since the Linux 4.20 cycle got underway with the feature-packed merge window and with this kernel expected out just in time for Christmas, here is a look back at some of the biggest and most notable features to this imminent kernel release.

Microsoft Had Another Year Of Big Open-Source Surprises
The past few years have been filled with rather big surprises by Microsoft as it pertains to Linux/open-source. During 2015 they began supporting VP9, open-sourcing more of their projects and began embracing LLVM/Clang while in 2016 they bought out Xamarin, launched SQL Server for Linux, and kept on open-sourcing. Last year was very interesting as well with Microsoft joining the OSI, continuing to advance Windows Subsystem for Linux, and doing more about .NET on Linux. But this year was arguably their most surprising year yet.

It's Looking Like The EXT4 Corruption Issue On Linux 4.19 Is Caused By BLK-MQ
The saga about EXT4 file-system corruption on Linux 4.19 kernels that has increased in recent weeks might soon be drawing a close... This data corruption bug though is looking like it doesn't originate from within the EXT4 code at all.

Intel Working On Open-Sourcing The FSP - Would Be Huge Win For Coreboot & Security
Intel's Architecture Day on Tuesday was delightfully filled with an overwhelming amount of valuable hardware information, but Intel's software efforts were also briefly touched on too. In fact, Raja Koduri reinforced how software is a big part of Intel technology and goes in-hand with their security, interconnect, memory, architecture, and process pillars and that's where their new oneAPI initiative will fit in. But what learning afterwards was most exciting on the software front.

Fedora Developers Are Trying To Figure Out The Best Linux I/O Scheduler
Fedora developers are working on trying to figure out the best default behavior moving forward for their I/O scheduler selection.

Steam Linux Usage Hit 0.80% During November
Valve has published their latest monthly Steam survey data, which shows an increase in the Linux gaming population.

AMD Adding STIBP "Always-On Preferred Mode" To Linux
Initially during the Linux 4.20 kernel merge window with the STIBP addition for cross-hyperthread Spectre V2 mitigation it was turned on by default for all processes. But that turned out to have a sizable performance hit so the behavior was changed to only turn it on for processes under SECCOMP or when requested via the PRCTL interface. However, AMD is landing a patch that for select CPUs will have an always-on mode as evidently that's preferred for some AMD processors.

And the most-viewed featured articles:

FreeBSD ZFS vs. Linux EXT4/Btrfs RAID With Twenty SSDs
With FreeBSD 12.0 running great on the Dell PowerEdge R7425 server with dual AMD EPYC 7601 processors, I couldn't resist using the twenty Samsung SSDs in that 2U server for running some fresh FreeBSD ZFS RAID benchmarks as well as some reference figures from Ubuntu Linux with the native Btrfs RAID capabilities and then using EXT4 atop MD-RAID.

Windows Server 2019 vs. Linux vs. FreeBSD Performance On A 2P EPYC Server
When Microsoft rolled out their Windows 10 October 2018 Update they also released Windows Server 2019. Now over the slower holiday period I am finally getting caught up in benchmarking Windows Server 2019. For this initial benchmark comparison is a look at the Microsoft Windows Server 2019 performance against a handful of Linux distributions as well as FreeBSD 12.0 for seeing how this latest Windows Server performance compares on a dual AMD EPYC 7601 server.

Windows Server 2019 Performance Benchmarked Against Linux On An Intel Xeon Server
A few days back I delivered the first of our Windows Server 2019 benchmarks against Linux (as well as FreeBSD). That initial testing was done with a dual socket AMD EPYC server while in this article the tables have turned with using a dual Intel Xeon Scalable server while benchmarking Microsoft Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2019 with its new Windows Subsystem for Linux, Windows Server 2016, and an assortment of Linux distributions including Fedora Server 29, openSUSE Leap 15, Ubuntu 18.10, CentOS 7.6, Debian 9.6, and Intel's own Clear Linux.

KDE Plasma, GNOME Shell, Xfce, LXQt & MATE Linux Gaming Benchmarks, Including X.Org/Wayland
One of the recent leading requests by new Phoronix Premium members was to see some current Linux gaming benchmarks across a variety of desktop environments and with Wayland and X.Org where applicable. Here are those tests with KDE, GNOME, Xfce, LXQt, and MATE when testing with a Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics card.

AMD Radeon RX 590 Linux Benchmarks, 18-Way NVIDIA/AMD Gaming Comparison
With the very newest AMDGPU Linux kernel patches, the Radeon RX 590 is now working correctly on Linux. Here's a look at how this latest Polaris graphics card is performing for Linux games against seventeen other AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards in a variety of OpenGL and Vulkan benchmarks.

The Radeon RX Vega Performance With AMDGPU DRM-Next 4.21 vs. NVIDIA Linux Gaming
Given the AMDGPU changes building up for DRM-Next to premiere in Linux 4.21 that is on top of the AMDGPU performance boost with Linux 4.20, here are some benchmarks of Linux 4.19 vs. 4.20 Git vs. DRM-Next (Linux 4.21 material) with the Radeon RX Vega 64 compared to the relevant NVIDIA GeForce competition.

The Performance Of Five Linux Distributions From Early 2016 To The End Of 2018
With the end of another year upon us, there has been the start of many year-end benchmark comparisons looking at how various aspects of Linux performance has evolved over 2018. In this comparison though is going back further than that and seeing how five Linux distributions have experienced performance changes over the past nearly three years -- using the CentOS, Clear Linux, Fedora, and openSUSE Linux distribution releases from early 2016 to their latest releases as of right now with their stable updates.

Initial Linux Benchmarks Of The NVIDIA TITAN RTX Graphics Card For Compute & Gaming
Yesterday I unexpectedly found my hands on a NVIDIA TITAN RTX graphics card as the company's newest Titan graphics card built upon the Turing architecture and is now available via retail channels at $2499 USD. Here is an initial look at the NVIDIA TITAN RTX performance under Ubuntu Linux with a variety of compute workloads (including TensorFlow) as well as for entertainment are some Vulkan gaming benchmarks.

Samsung 860 QVO SSD Linux Benchmarks: 1TB SATA 3.0 SSD For $150 USD
After being announced a few weeks back, the Samsung 860 QVO series is beginning to ship as a new, lower-cost SATA 3.0 SSD offering. The Samsung 860 QVO series offers four bit per cell flash memory to usher in a new era of lower-cost solid-state storage with the now-shipping 1TB model costing just $150 USD while the 2TB version coming soon at $300 USD and $600 USD for a 4TB edition.

180+ Benchmarks On Debian GNU/Linux 9.6 Against Debian Buster Testing
There is the release of Debian 10 "Buster" to look forward to (hopefully) next year for succeeding Debian 9 "Stretch" that debuted back in 2017. Curious about the current performance of Debian Buster, I ran 183 benchmarks on Debian 9.6 stable against the current Debian Buster Testing images for seeing how the performance compares.
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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