Happy New Year + A Look Back At The Most Popular Linux Content Of 2019
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 31 December 2019 at 05:11 PM EST. 6 Comments
PHORONIX --
Happy New Year to all Phoronix readers.

During 2019 on Phoronix were 3,484 original Linux/open-source news articles and 270 Linux hardware reviews / multi-page featured benchmark articles written by your's truly. As has been the case since 2012, there has been new content on Phoronix each and every day of the year, which has been even more hectic with my wife giving birth last month.

If you want to support Phoronix in 2020, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join Phoronix Premium, or at the very least to not use any ad-blocker on this site. This is also the last day for our Premium Christmas / Winter special so consider partaking within the hours ahead. (If a few hours or even day into the new year before seeing this, I'll still honor those seeking the special rate, so no fear about timezone differences.)

With that, below is a look at the most popular news on Phoronix during 2019.

Google Is Uncovering Hundreds Of Race Conditions Within The Linux Kernel
One of the contributions Google is working on for the upstream Linux kernel is a new "sanitizer". Over the years Google has worked on AddressSanitizer for finding memory corruption bugs, UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer for undefined behavior within code, and other sanitizers. The Linux kernel has been exposed to this as well as other open-source projects while their newest sanitizer is KCSAN and focused as a Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer.

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.

NVIDIA Starts Publishing GPU Hardware Documentation To Help Open-Source Drivers
Today is a wild one for open-source/Linux users. Let's begin with the unexpected news: NVIDIA is releasing more GPU hardware documentation at long last! Yes, freely-available hardware interface documentation to assist in the development of the open-source NVIDIA Linux driver (Nouveau).

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.

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.

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.

Netflix Optimized FreeBSD's Network Stack More Than Doubled AMD EPYC Performance
Drew Gallatin of Netflix presented at the recent EuroBSDcon 2019 conference in Norway on the company's network stack optimizations to FreeBSD. Netflix was working on being able to deliver 200Gb/s network performance for video streaming out of Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC servers, to which they are now at 190Gb/s+ and in the process that doubled the potential of EPYC Naples/Rome servers and also very hefty upgrades too for Intel.

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.

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.

The Ryzen 3000 Boot Problem With Newer Linux Distros Might Be Due To RdRand Issue
As outlined yesterday, AMD's Ryzen 3000 processors are very fast but having issues booting newer Linux distributions. The exact issue causing that boot issue on 2019 Linux distribution releases doesn't appear to be firmly resolved yet but some are believing it is an RdRand instruction issue on these newer processors manifested by systemd.

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.

Summing Up The AMD EPYC 7742 2P Performance In One Graphic
If you didn't have a chance since last night to check out our benchmarks of the AMD EPYC 7742 and EPYC 7502 Linux performance, I certainly encourage you to do so. Even if you aren't a server enthusiast, it's incredible to see the engineering achievement of AMD with Zen 2 and how the race is certainly back on in the CPU space. If you are short on time, here's the quick summary of our initial AMD EPYC 7002 benchmark results.

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.

AMD Releases BIOS Fix To Motherboard Partners For Booting Newer Linux Distributions
AMD has just alerted us that they have released a BIOS fix to their motherboard partners that takes care of the issue around booting newer Linux distributions on the new Zen 2 processors.

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.

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.

And the most popular featured articles/reviews:

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X + Ryzen 9 3900X Offer Incredible Linux Performance But With A Big Caveat
After weeks of anticipation, we can now share how the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X performance is under Linux. These first Zen 2 processors do indeed deliver a significant improvement over Zen/Zen+ processors and also battle Intel's latest 14nm CPUs but for Linux users there is one big, unfortunate issue right now.

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 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.

Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Performance On AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
For those wondering how the performance compares of AMD's new Zen 2 processors between Windows 10 and Linux, here are our initial benchmarks across dozens of benchmarks for the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X on Windows 10 Pro 1903 against Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS.

Apple macOS 10.15 vs. Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 19.10 Performance Benchmarks
In addition to this month bringing the release of the Ubuntu 19.10 "Eoan Ermine", Apple also shipped macOS 10.15 "Catalina" as the sixteenth major release of their macOS operating system. So with that it makes for an interesting time seeing how macOS 10.15 competes against both Ubuntu 19.10 and Windows 10 on an Apple MacBook Pro. Here are those results from dozens of benchmarks.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X vs. Intel Core i9 9900K Performance In 400+ Benchmarks
Given the recent AMD "ABBA" Ryzen 3000 boost fix, the upcoming release of Ubuntu 19.10 powered by Linux 5.3, here is a fresh round of AMD Ryzen 9 3900X vs. Intel Core i9 9900K benchmarks in a side-by-side matchup . It's just not any comparison but our largest i9-9900K vs. 3900X comparison ever: 112 gaming benchmarks and 321 system/CPU benchmarks carried out for our most extensive look yet at how these ~$500 CPUs are competing in this fierce race.

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.

AMD EPYC 7502 + EPYC 7742 Linux Performance Benchmarks
Now that you have read our AMD EPYC "Rome" 7002 series overview, here is a look at the initial performance benchmarks from our testing over the past few weeks. This testing focused on the new AMD EPYC 7502 and EPYC 7742 processors in both single (1P) and dual (2P) socket configurations using AMD's Daytona server reference platform. Tests were done on Ubuntu Linux and compared to previous AMD EPYC processors as well as Intel Xeon Scalable.

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 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.

Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 19.10 vs. Clear Linux Performance On The Dell Ice Lake Laptop
Last month I posted benchmarks looking at the Windows 10 vs. Linux OpenGL and Vulkan graphics performance for the Ice Lake "Gen11" graphics. But for those wondering about the CPU/system performance between Windows and Linux for the Core i7-1065G7 with the Dell XPS 7390, here are those benchmarks as we compare the latest Windows 10 to Ubuntu 19.10 and Intel's own Clear Linux platform.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X / 3960X Linux Benchmarks
After the embargo on the Intel Core i9 10980XE expired a few hours ago, now we are allowed to share the performance numbers on the new AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X and 3970X processors. These new Zen 2 HEDT CPUs pack a real performance punch, but do come in as more expensive than the i9-10980XE and there is one boot-stopping Linux bug to mention with a workaround... But besides that lone Linux support caveat, the Threadripper 3960X and Threadripper 3970X absolutely dominate in performance.

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.

Initial Raspberry Pi 4 Performance Benchmarks
It's been (and still is) a particularly busy few weeks for benchmarking. For those curious about the Raspberry Pi 4 performance that was announced at the end of June along with Raspbian 10, here are our initial performance benchmarks of the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B in 2GB and 4GB variants compared to various other ARM SBCs.

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.

Windows 10 vs. Linux Performance On The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X
The new AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X is performing faster on Linux than Microsoft Windows 10. When carrying out more than 80 different tests on Windows 10 compared to five Linux distributions, Windows 10 was beat out by the open-source competition. However, the performance loss for Windows isn't as dramatic as we have seen out of earlier generations of Ryzen Threadripper HEDT workstations. Here are those benchmarks of Windows 10 compared to Ubuntu 19.10, CentOS 8, Clear Linux, Fedora Workstation 31, and openSUSE Tumbleweed.

The Sandy Bridge Core i7 3960X Benchmarked Against Today's Six-Core / 12 Thread AMD/Intel CPUs
Complementing our recent AMD Ryzen 5 3600X Linux benchmarking, with recently having out the Intel Core i7 3960X Sandy Bridge Extreme Edition, here are benchmarks showing that previous $999 USD six-core / twelve-thread processor compared to today's Ryzen 5 3600X (and previous-generation Ryzen 5 2600X) as well as the Core i7 8700K.

Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 19.10 vs. Clear Linux vs. Debian 10.1 Benchmarks On An Intel Core i9
Earlier this week I provided some fresh Windows vs. Linux web browser benchmarks for both Firefox and Chrome. For those curious how the current Windows 10 vs. Linux performance is for other workloads, here is a fresh look across a variety of software applications and while testing the near-final Ubuntu 19.10, Intel's rolling-release Clear Linux, and Debian 10.1 while running off an Intel Core i9 HEDT platform.

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.

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.
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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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