Radeon Graphics, Zombieload & Kernel Changes Intrigued Open-Source Fans In H1-2019
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 9 July 2019 at 02:58 AM EDT. Add A Comment
PHORONIX --
During H1'2019 on Phoronix.com were 1,766 original news articles and 130 original Linux hardware reviews / featured benchmark multi-page articles. Here is a look back at the most popular articles during the first half of the year on Phoronix.

First up, of the 1,766 news articles during H1, here are the twenty most popular:

Linux 5.2 Is Introducing The Fieldbus Subsystem
A new subsystem queued for introduction in the upcoming Linux 5.2 cycle is the Fieldbus Subsystem, which is initially being added to the staging area of the kernel.

Allwinner Continues Work On Linux Patches To Dump Kernel Errors To Block Devices
While Allwinner Technology isn't known as one of the most gracious contributors to the Linux kernel, their continued work on the "pstore_block" kernel patches will be of interest to many especially in the ARM/embedded space and just not for those using Allwinner SoCs.

The Expected Linux Driver State For The Radeon VII
With yesterday's surprise announcement of the Radeon VII "Radeon 7" as a new $699 7nm second-generation Vega consumer graphics card launching in early February, you may be wondering about the open-source Linux driver support state. While nothing official has come down the wire yet, here is what appears to be the state for this new Vega graphics card on Linux.

Purism Shares The Progress Made On Their Librem 5 Smartphone For The End Of 2018
The folks at Purism have shared their latest status update on the Librem 5 Linux-powered, security-minded smartphone they plan to begin shipping in the months ahead.

Red Hat Expecting X.Org To "Go Into Hard Maintenance Mode Fairly Quickly"
With the Fedora Workstation 31 feature outlook covered earlier this week, there was an interesting comment in that article by Red Hat's Christian Schaller that deserves special coverage.

Canonical Releases "WLCS" Wayland Conformance Suite 1.0
While Ubuntu is not currently using Wayland by default with its GNOME Shell desktop and it doesn't look like they will try again until Ubuntu 20.10, the option is still available and they continue working in the direction of a Wayland Linux desktop future. One of their interesting "upstream" contributions in this area is with the Wayland Conformance Suite.

Linux's vmalloc Seeing "Large Performance Benefits" With 5.2 Kernel Changes
On top of all the changes queued for Linux 5.2 is an interesting last-minute performance improvement for the vmalloc code.

Electron Apps Are Bad, So Now You Can Create Desktop Apps With HTML5 + Golang
The Electron software framework that allows creating desktop GUI application interfaces using JavaScript and relies upon a bundled Chromium+Node.js run-time is notorious among most Linux desktop users for being resource heavy, not integrating well with most desktops, and generally being despised. For those that are fond of using web standards for creating desktop GUIs, now there is a way to create desktop application front-ends using HTML5 and Golang but with less baggage.

Dell's New WD19 Thunderbolt/USB-C Docks Should Be Playing Nicely On Linux
In addition to Dell releasing "budget-friendly" laptops with Ubuntu Linux on Wednesday, the company released new Thunderbolt and USB-C docks that should be working fine out-of-the-box on Linux.

A Quick Look At The Firefox 66.0 vs. Chrome 73.0 Performance Benchmarks
Given the recent releases of Chrome 73 and Firefox 66, here are some fresh tests of these latest browsers on Linux under a variety of popular browser benchmarks.

Ubuntu 19.04 Released As A Big Linux Desktop Improvement Thanks To GNOME 3.32
The Ubuntu 19.04 "Disco Dingo" has been officially released as the latest non-LTS, six-month installment to Ubuntu Linux.

MDS / Zombieload Mitigations Come At A Real Cost, Even If Keeping Hyper Threading On
The default Linux mitigations for the new Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) vulnerabilities (also known as "Zombieload") do incur measurable performance cost out-of-the-box in various workloads. That's even with the default behavior where SMT / Hyper Threading remains on while it becomes increasingly apparent if wanting to fully protect your system HT must be off.

In 2019, Most Linux Distributions Still Aren't Restricting Dmesg Access
Going back to the late Linux 2.6 kernel days has been the CONFIG_DMESG_RESTRICT (or for the past number of years, renamed to CONFIG_SECURITY_DMESG_RESTRICT) Kconfig option to restrict access to dmesg in the name of security and not allowing unprivileged users from accessing this system log. While it's been brought up from time to time, Linux distributions are still generally allowing any user access to dmesg even though it may contain information that could help bad actors exploit the system.

Spectre/Meltdown/L1TF/MDS Mitigation Costs On An Intel Dual Core + HT Laptop
Following the recent desktop CPU benchmarks and server CPU benchmarks following the MDS/ZombieLoad mitigations coming to light and looking at the overall performance cost to mitigating these current CPU vulnerabilities, there was some speculation by some in the community that the older dual-core CPUs with Hyper Threading would be particularly hard hit. Here are some benchmarks of a Lenovo ThinkPad with Core i7 Broadwell CPU looking at those mitigation costs.

Even In 2019, A Long Road Still For Getting The VIA OpenChrome Driver In Linux
It's been over a decade since VIA x86 hardware has been relevant and with that their Unichrome/Chrome integrated graphics chipsets, but the effort still isn't over for trying to get the OpenChrome DRM/KMS driver into the mainline Linux kernel for these vintage systems.

It Looks Like AMD Is About To Post The Open-Source Radeon "Navi" Driver Code
It looks like the AMD posting of the open-source Radeon driver enablement code for next-gen "Navi" GPUs is imminent. In fact, the first bits of it quietly were pushed out today.

Facebook Is JIT'ing C++ Code To Treat It Like A Crazy Fast Scripting Language
Facebook has worked on various programming language innovations over the years from all their work on HHVM at a time when PHP was slow to working on a super fast C/C++ pre-processor to other open-source language work. Their latest work in this area is on supporting just-in-time compilation of C++ code to treat it like a scripting language.

Linux Kernel Getting io_uring To Deliver Fast & Efficient I/O
The Linux kernel is getting a new ring for Valentine's Day... io_uring. The purpose of io_uring is to deliver faster and more efficient I/O operations on Linux and should be coming with the next kernel cycle.

The Linux Kernel Likely To See A Hardware Accelerator Subsystem
Given the increasing rise of hardware accelerators for compute offloading of particular tasks especially now around deep/machine learning with more chips coming to market, the Linux kernel will likely soon see the introduction of a formal subsystem for these different accelerator drivers.

Don't Look For Gentoo's CPU Optimization Options To Land In The Mainline Linux Kernel
Gentoo's Linux kernel build has long offered various CPU options in allowing those building their distribution to optimize their kernel build to the CPU being used. Every so often the patch is suggested for upstreaming to the mainline Linux kernel before being quickly rejected by the upstream maintainers.

And the most popular featured articles/reviews:

The Performance Impact Of MDS / Zombieload Plus The Overall Cost Now Of Spectre/Meltdown/L1TF/MDS
The past few days I've begun exploring the performance implications of the new Microarchitectural Data Sampling "MDS" vulnerabilities now known more commonly as Zombieload. As I shared in some initial results, there is a real performance hit to these mitigations. In this article are more MDS/Zombieload mitigation benchmarks on multiple systems as well as comparing the overall performance impact of the Meltdown/Spectre/Foreshadow/Zombieload mitigations on various Intel CPUs and also AMD CPUs where relevant.

Linux 5.0 File-System Benchmarks: Btrfs vs. EXT4 vs. F2FS vs. XFS
With all of the major file-systems seeing clean-up work during the Linux 4.21 merge window (now known as Linux 5.0 and particularly with F2FS seeing fixes as a result of it being picked up by Google for support on Pixel devices, I was curious to see how the current popular mainline file-system choices compare for performance. Btrfs, EXT4, F2FS, and XFS were tested on a SATA 3.0 solid-state drive, USB SSD, and an NVMe SSD.

The Fastest Linux Distributions For Web Browsing - Firefox + Chrome Benchmarks On Eight Distros
With now having WebDriver/Seleneium integration in PTS for carrying out browser benchmarks, we've been having fun running a variety of web browser benchmarks in different configurations. The latest is looking at the Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome web browser performance across eight Linux distribution releases (or nine if counting Fedora Workstation on both X.Org and Wayland) for looking at how the web browsing performance compares.

The Current Windows 10 vs. Linux Browser Performance For Google Chrome + Mozilla Firefox
Last week were tests looking at the Firefox/Chrome web browser performance on eight Linux distributions but how does the situation look if adding Microsoft Windows 10 to the equation? Well, this article addresses that question as we looking at how well Chrome and Firefox compare Windows 10 vs. Linux on the same system and using the latest releases of these web browsers.

AMD Radeon VII Linux Benchmarks - Powerful Open-Source Graphics For Compute & Gaming
Today we can finally reveal the Linux performance details for the AMD Radeon VII graphics card... Especially if you are an open-source driver fan, it's quite a treat thanks to having fully open-source and fairly mature driver support, but can this $699 USD graphics card dance with the likes of the GeForce RTX 2080? Here is our initial look at the Radeon VII performance on Linux using fifteen different AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards for both OpenCL compute and Vulkan/OpenGL gaming on Ubuntu Linux.

The Many New Features & Improvements Of The Linux 5.0 Kernel
Linus Torvalds just released Linux 5.0-rc1, what was formerly known as Linux 4.21 over the past two weeks. While the bumping was rather arbitrary as opposed to a major change necessitating the big version bump, this next version of the Linux kernel does come with some exciting changes and new features (of course, our Twitter followers already have known Linux was thinking of the 5.0 re-brand from 4.21). Here is our original feature overview of the new material to find in this kernel.

Ubuntu 19.04 Is Offering Some Performance Improvements Over Ubuntu 18.10, Comparison To Clear Linux
With the Ubuntu 19.04 "Disco Dingo" release less than one month away, we are getting ready for rolling out more tests of this next six-month installment to Ubuntu Linux. For those curious about the direction of Ubuntu 19.04's performance, here are some very preliminary data points using the latest daily state of Ubuntu 19.04 right ahead of the beta period. Tests were done on a high-end Intel Core i9 9900K desktop as well as a Dell XPS Developer Edition notebook when comparing Ubuntu 19.04 to Ubuntu 18.10 and also tossing in Clear Linux as a performance reference point.

Ubuntu 19.04 Radeon Linux Gaming Performance: Popular Desktops Benchmarked, Wayland vs. X.Org
Leading up to the Ubuntu 19.04 release, several premium supporters requested fresh results for seeing the X.Org vs. Wayland performance overhead for gaming, how GNOME Shell vs. KDE Plasma is performing for current AMD Linux gaming, and related desktop comparison graphics/gaming metrics. Here are such benchmarks run from the Ubuntu 19.04 "Disco Dingo" while benchmarking GNOME Shell both with X.Org and Wayland, Xfce, MATE, Budgie, KDE Plasma, LXQt, and Openbox.

Radeon RX 560/570/580 vs. GeForce GTX 1060/1650/1660 Linux Gaming Performance
If you are looking to soon upgrade your graphics card for Linux gaming -- especially with the increasing number of titles running well under Steam Play -- but only have a budget of around $200 USD for the graphics card, this comparison is for you. In this article we're looking at the AMD Radeon RX 560 / RX 570 / RX 580 against the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 / GTX 1650 / GTX 1660 graphics cards. Not only are we looking at the OpenGL/Vulkan Linux gaming performance both for native titles and Steam Play but also the GPU power consumption and performance-per-dollar metrics to help guide your next budget GPU purchasing decision.

NVIDIA Jetson Nano: A Feature-Packed Arm Developer Kit For $99 USD
One of the most interesting announcements out of NVIDIA's 2019 GTC conference is the introduction of the Jetson Nano, NVIDIA's latest Arm developer board featuring a Tegra SoC. This developer board is very different from the past Jetson boards in that it's aiming for a very affordable price point: just $99 USD.

The Ryzen 7 1800X Linux Performance Evolution Since The AMD Zen Launch
With it quickly approaching two years since the launch of the original AMD Ryzen processors and complementing our other end-of-2018 Linux performance benchmarks, in this article are some fresh benchmarks seeing how the Linux performance at the start of 2017 on the Ryzen 7 1800X compares to the latest Linux performance at the start of 2019.

Benchmarking A 10-Core Tyan/IBM POWER Server For ~$300 USD
If you live in the EU and have been wanting to explore IBM POWER hardware on Linux, a load of Tyan Habanero servers recently became available through a German retailer for 269 EUR (~$306 USD) that comes equipped with a 10-core POWER8 processor. While not POWER9, it's still an interesting Linux-capable beast and the price is unbeatable if you have been wanting to add POWER hardware to your collection. Phoronix reader Lauri Kasanen recently bought one of these IBM POWER servers at the 269 EUR price point and has shared thoughts on this server as well as some benchmarks. Here is Lauri's guest post checking out this low-cost 2U IBM server.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Linux Performance From Gaming To TensorFlow & Compute
Yesterday NVIDIA kicked off their week at CES by announcing the GeForce RTX 2060, the lowest-cost Turing GPU to date at just $349 USD but aims to deliver around the performance of the previous-generation GeForce GTX 1080. I only received my RTX 2060 yesterday for testing but have been putting it through its paces since and have the initial benchmark results to deliver ranging from the OpenGL/Vulkan Linux gaming performance through various interesting GPU compute workloads. Also, with this testing there are graphics cards tested going back to the GeForce GTX 960 Maxwell for an interesting look at how the NVIDIA Linux GPU performance has evolved.

Linux 5.0 Kernel Performance Is Sliding In The Wrong Direction
With the Linux 5.0 kernel performance approaching the finish line, the past few days I've been ramping up my tests of this new kernel in our benchmarking farm. Unfortunately, when looking at the results at a macro level it's pointing towards Linux 5.0 yielding lower performance than previous kernel releases.

AMDVLK vs. RADV Radeon Vulkan Driver Performance For Linux Gaming On Ubuntu 19.04
With the continuously evolving RADV Mesa Radeon Vulkan driver and near-weekly updates to the AMD's official "AMDVLK" open-source tree Vulkan driver, how are these competing AMD Vulkan Linux drivers comparing these days? As it's been a while since our last benchmarking comparison of the official AMDVLK driver against the open-source and more common/popular Mesa RADV driver, here are some fresh benchmarks of RADV from Mesa 19.0 on Ubuntu 19.04 as well as 19.1-devel compared to the latest AMDVLK driver code.

Dell XPS 13 9380 + Intel Core i7 8565U Ubuntu Linux Performance Benchmarks
At the end of January, Dell announced the Dell XPS 13 9380 Developer Edition laptop as an upgraded version of the XPS 9370 with now having Intel Whiskey Lake CPUs and other minor improvements. Over the past two weeks I've been testing out the Dell XPS 9380 with Intel Core i7 8565U processor with 256GB of NVMe SSD storage and 16GB of RAM. Here are benchmarks of the Dell XPS 9380 compared to several other laptops running Ubuntu Linux as well as looking at the system thermal and power consumption among other metrics.

The Performance Impact Of GCC CPU Tuning On The Linux Kernel's Performance
Last week there was the patch being proposed for the mainline Linux kernel that has long been carried by Gentoo's kernel to provide CPU optimization options, which were quickly shot-down by upstream maintainers, there were many requests to benchmark said patches... Here are dozens of performance figures looking at the performance impact of these optimizations for AMD Zen (znver1), Skylake, and Skylake X (Skylake-AVX512) compared to a stock mainline kernel build on several different systems.

Six Linux Distributions Benchmarked On The Dell XPS 9380 Laptop
While Dell is offering the option of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS as the Linux option with their new XPS 9380 laptop, what happens if the Bionic Beaver isn't of interest to you? As part of our testing of the Dell XPS 9380 with Core i7 8565U laptop, I've just finished up testing six different Linux distributions on this 13-inch laptop.

Initial Benchmarks Of Microsoft's WSL2 - Windows Subsystem For Linux 2 On Windows 10 Is A Mixed Bag
Since the release of WSL2 as a Windows 10 Insider Preview update this week, we've been putting the new Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 under some benchmarks compared to WSL1 and bare metal Linux. While WSL2 has improved the I/O performance thanks to the new Hyper-V-based virtualization approach employed by WSL2, the performance has regressed in other areas for running Linux binaries on Windows 10. Here are our preliminary benchmark results.

Intel Xeon Scalable "Cascade Lake" Processors Launch - Initial Xeon Platinum 8280 Linux Benchmarks
Intel's 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable Cascade Lake processors are officially launching today! Last month we were briefed out at one of Intel's campuses in Oregon and have been testing the new Xeon Platinum 8280 processors in recent days. In this article is a look at what's new with Cascade Lake as well as our preliminary Ubuntu Linux performance figures for the Xeon Platinum 8280 processors.

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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