A Prominent, Longtime Dell Linux Engineer Recently Joined AMD's Linux Team
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 28 August 2021 at 09:30 AM EDT. 31 Comments
AMD --
Here should hopefully be a great indication about AMD's Linux efforts moving forward with one of their recent and exciting hires at the company.

As noted across various Phoronix articles over the past year, AMD has been ramping up their Linux staff given their market successes on both client and server. This has been much desired considering nearly a decade ago they let go many of their Linux developers and closed their Operating System Research Center. AMD's Linux support for recent CPU (and GPU) launches has been good, but Intel continues to serve as the "gold standard" of Linux support when it comes to generally providing punctual pre-launch support for new hardware, generally ensuring their new hardware features are supported under Linux, making sure their forthcoming microarchitectures are well supported by the prominent open-source compilers ahead of time, etc. Intel's large open-source engineering pool has allowed this generally very good pre-launch hardware support. In addition, that large talent pool has led Intel to contributing significantly to various non-Intel-specific improvements to the Linux kernel and other areas.

While the AMD processor support is generally in good shape at launch on Linux, their Linux engineers have been under-staffed since the unfortunate OSRC closure in 2012. This has led to non-critical items like temperature and power monitoring often not coming to Linux until post-launch by the community even when it's often just been new IDs needing to be added, Google and other companies contributing hardware features normally carried out by the hardware vendor, compiler support for new microarchitectures not being published until around launch-time and thus longer until in a stable compiler, various quirks, and other areas that could be improved upon.


Thus I was rather excited to notice on Friday (albeit belated) that Mario Limonciello is among their recent Linux hires at the company. Mario is a longtime Linux engineer at Dell since ~2008 that was involved with "Project Sputnik" and their other Linux-enablement work at Dell. In particular, heavily involved with Dell's efforts around Ubuntu preloads across a range of consumer laptops/desktops over the years. He's also been involved with FWUPD firmware updating on Linux and other efforts and submitting a number of upstream Linux kernel patches.


Prior to joining Dell, he was also an Ubuntu contributor (and Mythbuntu developer, pictured above - left, back in 2007 at the former Ubuntu Live conference) and also involved with the ATI fglrx install scripts back in the day and more.

With his background and significant Linux client work at Dell, it's great to see he is now at AMD working on their Linux efforts.

It turns out he joined AMD earlier this year. His apparent joining of the company came weeks after the jobs mentioned in this prior article about AMD is hiring more Linux engineers. What is significant about that is that those job postings were for Linux on the client side. Those postings also noted "a new organization" being built at AMD around Linux on the client side.

Further pointing to the AMD Linux client work is how I noticed he was at AMD... Mario's latest kernel patches. Now at AMD, his latest patch series is bringing up Yellow Carp for the k10temp temperature monitoring driver! Pre-launch temperature monitoring support for a client APU! Yellow Carp is possibly the next-gen Rembrandt APUs. Seeing the CPU temperature monitoring driver support pre-launch for Yellow Carp / Rembrandt while it may seem silly to Windows users that take it for granted, seeing this happen on the client-side is significant. Heck as mentioned in the Ryzen 7 5700G Linux testing just this week, with that already-shipping desktop APU that k10temp support isn't even coming until the next kernel cycle (5.15).

Since joining AMD in April, Mario has also been working on some fixes for Renoir/Cezanne and other bits as well. Hopefully this is just the start of more AMD Linux client improvements. AMD has also been hiring to work on the Linux scheduler, memory management, and other areas with some of those positions not yet filled.
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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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