Kernel Talk, AMD Hardware + Other Popular Linux Topics Of January
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 February 2020 at 03:56 AM EST. Add A Comment
PHORONIX --
During the first month of 2020 on Phoronix were 305 original news stories and another 18 Linux hardware reviews / featured-length articles. Here is a look back at what has been exciting Linux and open-source enthusiasts so far in 2020.

As a friendly reminder, before getting to the most popular articles of the month, if you enjoy reading the new and original content and Phoronix each and every day please so your support. At the very least you can browse Phoronix without any ad-blocker otherwise there is Phoronix Premium to enjoy the site ad-free, multi-page articles on a single page, and other benefits to subscribing while also supporting our daily Linux hardware benchmarking efforts. Also be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

The most popular featured articles/reviews for January included:

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.

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.

Linux 5.4 vs. Liquorix Kernel Benchmarks For AMD Ryzen + Radeon Gaming On Ubuntu
The Liquorix kernel is the long-standing effort for providing a "better distro kernel" optimized for desktop/multimedia/gaming workloads. As it's been a while since last testing the Liquorix kernel spin of Linux, I recently carried out some tests of its Linux 5.4 based kernel compared to Ubuntu's generic mainline PPA images of Linux 5.4 as well as the low-latency kernel variety.

The XanMod Kernel Is Working Well To Boost Ubuntu Desktop / Workstation Performance
It's been four years since last testing out the XanMod kernel as a spin of the Linux kernel with various patches and extra tuning designed to offer better desktop/workstation performance, similar to the Liquorix kernel. But given the recent Liquorix kernel testing and discussions over kernel schedulers and more, here are some fresh benchmarks of the latest XanMod kernel. Long story short, I am quite impressed by these latest XanMod results.

Looking At The Linux Performance Two Years After Spectre / Meltdown Mitigations
Last week marked the two year anniversary since the formal public disclosure of the Spectre and Meltdown disclosures. To commemorate that anniversary, I was running some fresh benchmarks of various Intel desktop and server processors with the in-development Ubuntu 20.04 LTS to look at the performance impact today with the default CPU vulnerability mitigations and then again with the mitigations disabled at run-time.

Chrome 79 Is Running Past Firefox 72 Performance On Linux
While no major performance improvements were noted as part of the release notes, given this week's Firefox 72 release here are some fresh benchmarks of Firefox 70/71/72 on Ubuntu Linux benchmarked with and without WebRender being enabled. As well, these numbers show how Firefox on Linux is currently stacking up against Google Chrome 79 as its latest stable release.

AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT Linux Gaming Performance
As announced back at CES, the Radeon RX 5600 XT is being launched as the newest Navi graphics card to fill the void between the original RX 5700 series and the budget RX 5500 XT. The Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics cards are beginning to ship today at $279+ USD price point and offers great Linux support but with one last minute -- and hopefully very temporary -- caveat.

Linux 5.5 SSD RAID 0/1/5/6/10 Benchmarks Of Btrfs / EXT4 / F2FS / XFS
Last month were benchmarks of RAID benchmarks on four hard drives in not visiting the Linux HDD RAID performance in a while. Stemming from that article were requests of fresh tests of the SSD RAID performance on Linux 5.5 Git, so here are those results for single drive performance and RAID0 / RAID1 / RAID5 / RAID6 / RAID10.

Benchmarking 9 Linux Distributions On A $50 Processor
Your choice of Linux distribution on a budget PC can mean the difference of ~14% performance overall. Here are benchmarks of Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, EndeavourOS, Manjaro Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Fedora Workstation, and Clear Linux on a $50 processor as we roll into 2020 with the newest Linux distribution releases.

The Performance Cost To SELinux On Fedora 31
Following the recent AppArmor performance regression in Linux 5.5 (since resolved), some Phoronix readers had requested tests out of curiosity in looking at the performance impact of Fedora's decision to utilize SELinux by default. Here is how the Fedora Workstation 31 performance compares out-of-the-box with SELinux to disabling it.

And the most popular news:

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Fedora 32 Greenlit For Enabling FSTRIM Support By Default
Back in December was the proposal to finally enable FSTRIM by default for Fedora 32 in benefiting solid-state storage. Today the formal approval was given by the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee to go ahead with this long overdue change.

Linux In 2020 Can Finally Provide Sane Monitoring Of SATA Drive Temperatures
Here is another long overdue kernel change... For more than a decade there have been patches trying to get SATA/SCSI drive temperature monitoring working nicely within the Linux kernel but none of that work ever made it through for mainlining. That has left various user-space tools to provide the functionality, but in doing so that has required root access and not to mention the need to first install said utilities. Well, with Linux 5.6 in 2020, there is finally a proper drive temperature driver for disks and solid-state drives with temperature sensors.

Unity 8 Desktop On Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Could Take A Year Before Being Usable
While Canonical no longer develops their Unity 8 stack for Ubuntu, the UBports crew continues advancing Ubuntu Touch mobile as a community project and as part of that they do work on Unity 8 for their devices and desktop support. But if you're hoping to see Unity 8 running nicely on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, that could be a while.

The Linux Kernel's Scheduler Apparently Causing Issues For Google Stadia Game Developers
Among the issues that game developers have been facing in bringing their games to Linux for Google's Stadia cloud gaming service apparently stem from kernel scheduler issues. We've known the Linux kernel scheduler could use some improvements and independent developers like Con Kolivas with BFS / MuQSS have pushed for such, but hopefully in 2020 we'll see some real action.

Git 2.25 Released As Its First Update Of 2020
Git 2.25 is out today with over 500 commits making up this latest feature release.

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.

PineBook Benchmarks For The ARM Linux Laptop Starting At $99 USD
For those interested in benchmarks of the $99+ PineBook ARM Linux laptop, more results continue to be uploaded on OpenBenchmarking.org.

Intel Ivybridge + Haswell Require Security Mitigation For Graphics Hardware Flaw
Earlier today we were first to report on an Intel graphics driver patch mitigating a "Gen9" graphics hardware vulnerability. Details on that new security disclosure are coming to light and it turns out older Intel "Gen" graphics are also affected.

Xfce 4.16 Is Making Good Progress On Utilizing GTK3 Client-Side Decorations
Several months ago we learned of the Xfce 4.16 plans to drop GTK2 support and explore client-side decoration goals among other changes for this lightweight desktop environment release expected in late 2020.

The Linux Kernel Enters 2020 At 27.8 Million Lines In Git But With Less Developers For 2019
As of this morning in the Linux kernel Git source tree, the kernel weighs in at 27.8 million lines!

Tesla Is Making Use Of The Open-Source Coreboot Within Their Electric Vehicles
Not only is Linux increasingly used within automobiles but it turns out at least one automobile manufacturer is even using Coreboot within their vehicles.

Intel's Linux Graphics Driver Gets Patched For A Gen9 Graphics Vulnerability
On top of the Intel graphics driver patches back from November for denial of service and privilege escalation bugs, the Linux kernel received a new patch today for "CVE-2019-14615" regarding a possible data disclosure with Gen9 graphics hardware.
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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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