Intel vs. AMD, Systemd-Homed, Kernel Advancements Top H1'2020 For Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 30 June 2020 at 01:28 AM EDT. Add A Comment
PHORONIX --
It's been quite an unfortunately wild year thus far with everything going on in the world, but at least within the open-source / Linux scope it's been an exciting time as ever. Here is a look at the top stories on Phoronix during the first half of this year.

During H1'2020 on Phoronix have been 1,637 original news articles on open-source/Linux/hardware topics and 120 featured Linux hardware reviews / benchmark articles. This continued daily content each and every day is made possible by those viewing this site without any ad-blockers or by joining Phoronix Premium, especially at a time when the coronavirus has continued to hurt ad rates. Consider showing your support or making a tip to hopefully see a strong (and healthy) H2'2020.

Of all the Linux / open-source topics in H1'2020, of our 1600+ original news articles mostly written by your's truly, the highlights include:

Linus Torvalds Switches To AMD Ryzen Threadripper After 15 Years Of Intel Systems
An interesting anecdote shared in today's Linux 5.7-rc7 announcement is word that Linux and Git creator Linus Torvalds switched his main rig over to an AMD Ryzen Threadripper.

A NVIDIA Engineer In His Spare Time Wrote A Vulkan Driver That Works On Older Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi 1 through Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and even the Raspberry Pi Zero can now see Vulkan support via a new unofficial "RPi-VK-Driver" that is offering even better performance than the Broadcom OpenGL driver.

Linus Torvalds Just Made A Big Optimization To Help Code Compilation Times On Big CPUs
For those using GNU Make in particular as their build system, the parallel build times are about to be a lot faster beginning with Linux 5.6 for large core count systems. This landing just after the AMD Threadripper 3990X 64-core / 128-thread CPU launch is one example of systems to benefit from this kernel change when compiling a lot of code and making use of many GNU Make jobs.

AMD vs. Intel Contributions To The Linux Kernel Over The Past Decade
Driven by curiosity sake, here is a look at how the total number of AMD and Intel developers contributed to the upstream Linux kernel during the 2010s as well as the total number of commits each year from the respective hardware vendors.

Torvalds' Comments On Linux Scheduler Woes: "Pure Garbage"
As you may recall a few days ago there was the information on the Linux kernel scheduler causing issues for Google Stadia game developers. The scheduler was to blame and in particular Linux's spinlocks. Linus Torvalds has now commented on the matter.

Keith Packard Talks About The Early Politics Of X Window System + Code Licensing
At last week's Linux.Conf.Au conference was an interesting presentation by longtime X developer Keith Packard on the early days of the pre-X.Org X Window System, the collapse of Unix, and how his views formed on copyleft licenses for building thriving communities.

The Linux Kernel Obsoletes The Intel Simple Firmware Interface
We haven't heard of the Simple Firmware Interface in a number of years, but that changed this week in Linux now formally marking SFI as "obsolete" and confirmation Intel does not plan to ship any future platforms with this standard that dates back to their early days of working on Atom-powered mobile devices.

Even Apple Is Interested In Migrating Their C Code To Rust
Even Apple is on the bandwagon of transitioning select C code-bases of theirs over to Rust as well as expanding the code they are writing in Rust.

Firefox 75 On Wayland Now To Have Full WebGL, Working VA-API Acceleration
Firefox 75 due to be released next month should finally have its native Wayland support in good order.

A New Desktop Theme Is Coming For Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
With Ubuntu 20.04 to see installation on many desktops (and servers) given its Long-Term Support status, Canonical and the Yaru community team have begun working on a successor to the Yaru theme for this Linux distribution release due out in April.

Systemd-Homed Merged As A Fundamental Change To Linux Home Directories
Systemd-homed has been merged as the latest (optional) fundamental change to Linux distributions in how home directories are handled.

Linus Torvalds Doesn't Recommend Using ZFS On Linux
Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds doesn't recommend using ZFS On Linux at least until Oracle were to re-license the code to make it friendly for mainline inclusion. But even then he doesn't seem turned on by the ZFS features or general performance.

Linux Kernel's Floppy Disk Code Is Seeing Improvements In 2020
While many would argue it's past due for the Linux kernel's floppy disk code to be gutted from the mainline code-base, instead it's seeing improvements in 2020 ahead of the Linux 5.7 kernel... The same kernel where Intel stabilized Tiger Lake graphics, AMD preparing Zen 3 support, a new exFAT driver, and a multitude of other modern improvements is also now seeing floppy work.

Multipath TCP Support Is Working Its Upstream - First Bits Landing With Linux 5.6
We've already been looking forward to Linux 5.6 with already there being a lot of good stuff coming and now it's even more exciting: at least the prerequisites have been merged overnight for Multipath TCP (MPTCP) support!

Deleting A Few Lines Of Code Can Yield "Significant" Power Savings On Some Linux Systems
A patch slated to be merged for the Linux 5.8 kernel cycle next month that simply deletes ten lines of code (well, six lines of code and four lines of comments) will for some systems yield "significant power savings" due to an oversight in the kernel code that has lasted for about twelve years.

Intel KVM Virtualization Hit By Vulnerability Over Unfinished Code
At least not another hardware vulnerability, but CVE-2020-2732 appears to stem from unfinished code within the Intel VMX code for the Linux kernel's Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) support.

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Adds WireGuard Support
While WireGuard was merged into Linux 5.6, the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release is currently tracking Linux 5.4 and for the April release is likely to be shipping with Linux 5.5 as the 5.6 release will be cutting it too close. But Ubuntu 20.04's kernel has now back-ported WireGuard.

There Is Finally Open-Source Accelerated NVIDIA Turing Graphics Support
Here is another big feature coming for Linux 5.6: the Nouveau driver will have initial accelerated support for NVIDIA "Turing" GPUs! This is coming at long-last with NVIDIA set to release publicly the Turing firmware images needed for hardware initialization.

X.Org's XDC2020 May Abandon Poland Conference To Find More Welcoming European Location
Hopefully you didn't yet book your tickets to XDC2020 as the annual X.Org conference as the venue -- and host country for that matter -- may change.

It's Official But Sad: TrueOS Is Over As Once The Best Desktop BSD OS
It's been on life support for a while but to much sadness, TrueOS indeed is no longer being maintained as the once very promising downstream of FreeBSD that for a while offered arguably the best out-of-the-box BSD desktop experience.

And the most viewed featured articles:

Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Performance On A $199 AMD Ryzen Laptop
When carrying out our Windows vs. Linux benchmarks we normally are doing so on interesting high-end hardware but for today's benchmarking is a look at how a $199 USD laptop powered by an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor compares between Windows 10 as it's shipped on the laptop against the forthcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Linux distribution.

Linux 5.6 Is The Most Exciting Kernel In Years With So Many New Features
The Linux 5.6 merge window is anticipated to be ending today followed by the Linux 5.6-rc1 test release. This kernel is simply huge: there is so many new and improved features with this particular release that it's mind-boggling. I'm having difficulty remembering such a time a kernel release was so large.

Windows vs. Linux Scaling Performance From 16 To 128 Threads With AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X
As has been known for a while now, AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors really show their true potential on Linux with often significant increases to the performance thanks to the kernel's better scalability compared to Microsoft Windows. While Microsoft has made some improvements in this area over the past year, with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-core / 128-thread HEDT processor it really shines on Linux. In this article are benchmarks of Windows 10 Professional and Windows 10 Enterprise against Linux on the Threadripper 3990X when going from 16 cores to 128 threads for seeing how the three operating systems are scaling.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X Offers Incredible Linux Performance
If you are looking for the absolute best single-socket workstation performance for Linux, there has already been the Threadripper 3970X that easily outperforms the likes of the Core i9 10980XE as Intel's top-end HEDT product, but now the Threadripper 3990X is shipping. The Threadripper 3990X is AMD's first 64-core / 128-thread desktop/workstation processor and will love your multi-threaded workloads from code compilation to content creation. As shown in our benchmarks, this single CPU is indeed faster than $20k worth of Intel Xeon Platinum CPUs.

Windows 10 Outperforming Linux On A ~$5000 Laptop, Ubuntu Beating Clear Linux
We are used to seeing tier-one Linux distributions outperforming Microsoft Windows on hardware ranging from $199 laptops to HEDT and server processors and everything in between. Thus it came as a large surprise to us when finding Windows 10 outperforming multiple Linux distributions on a new Intel laptop. Not only was Windows 10 leading, but the performance paradigm shifted that Ubuntu was even outperforming Clear Linux, which normally is the fastest of Linux distributions out-of-the-box.

Ryzen 9 3900X vs. Ryzen 9 3950X vs. Core i9 9900KS In Nearly 150 Benchmarks
This week our AMD Ryzen 9 3950X review sample finally arrived and so we've begun putting it through the paces of many different benchmarks. The first of these Linux tests with the Ryzen 9 3950X is looking at the performance up against the Ryzen 9 3900X and Intel Core i9 9900KS in 149 different tests.

Even With A $199 Laptop, Clear Linux Can Offer Superior Performance To Fedora Or Ubuntu
The latest in our benchmarking fun with the $199+ Motile M141 laptop is seeing how well Intel's Clear Linux performs on it in relation to Ubuntu and Fedora.

Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 20.04 Linux Performance On The AMD Ryzen 7 4700U
While most of you are well aware how Linux often slaughters Microsoft Windows performance on high-end desktop and platform servers with large core counts, on smaller systems it can be a different story and often comes down to the particular workloads and any peculiarities of the hardware under test. With recently buying the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 (14) for our AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Linux benchmarking, here are some benchmarks for how that Zen 2 laptop is comparing with different workloads between Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

Ubuntu 18.04 vs. 20.04 LTS Performance Preview With Intel Xeon Scalable
There is less than one month to go until the official release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS "Focal Fossa" but we've already begun experimenting with it for weeks across a variety of platforms. For the most part we have found Ubuntu 20.04 slated to offer some nice performance improvements, especially if upgrading from the existing LTS series, Ubuntu 18.04. In this article are our initial benchmarks looking at the Intel Xeon Scalable from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to the current 20.04 near-final state.

Intel's Mitigation For CVE-2019-14615 Graphics Vulnerability Obliterates Gen7 iGPU Performance
Yesterday we noted that the Linux kernel picked up a patch mitigating an Intel Gen9 graphics vulnerability. It didn't sound too bad at first but then seeing Ivy Bridge Gen7 and Haswell Gen7.5 graphics are also affected raised eyebrows especially with that requiring a much larger mitigation. Now in testing the performance impact, the current mitigation patches completely wreck the performance of Ivybridge/Haswell graphics performance.
Related News
About The Author
Author picture

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.

Popular News This Week