Intel Alder Lake & Linux Kernel Advancements Made For An Exciting January
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 February 2022 at 12:00 AM EST. 2 Comments
PHORONIX --
Even with the pandemic still ongoing, there were plenty of exciting Linux software advancements and new hardware that made for an exciting January. Here is a look at the past from our Linux / open-source perspective.

January brought 255 original news articles on Phoronix over the course of each and every day. Additionally, there were another 17 Linux hardware reviews / featured benchmark articles. If you enjoy this daily content consider joining Phoronix Premium or making a PayPal tip but at the very least please do not enable ad-blockers on this site as it is the primary source of revenue for allowing the site to continue now for nearly 18 years. You can also follow all of the original content via Facebook and Twitter.

When it came to the most exciting Linux/open-source news in January it included:

Massive ~2.3k Patch Series Would Improve Linux Build Times 50~80% & Fix "Dependency Hell"
Longtime Linux kernel developer Ingo Molnar posted a massive set of patches today: 2,297 patches that have been in the works since late 2020 and completely rework the Linux kernel's header file hierarchy. The goal of this "fast kernel headers" effort is to speed up kernel build times and also clean-up a lot of things in the process to address the "dependency hell".

Rust-Written Replacement To GNU Coreutils Progressing, Some Binaries Now Faster
Along with the broader industry trend of transitioning security-sensitive code to memory-safe languages like Rust, there has been an effort to write a Rust-based replacement to GNU Coreutils. For nearly a year that Rust Coreutils has been able to run a basic Debian system while more recently they have been increasing their level of GNU Coreutils compatibility and in some cases now even outperforming the upstream project.

Fast Kernel Headers v2 Posted - Speeds Up Clang-Built Linux Kernel Build By ~88%
What may end up being one of the greatest Linux kernel features of 2022 is the recently published "Fast Kernel Headers" effort for cleaning up the kernel headers and dramatically speeding up Linux kernel builds both for absolute/clean and incremental builds. Fast Kernel Headers can cut the Linux kernel build time in half or greater and out this weekend are the v2 patches.

AMD Ryzen 6000 Series Mobile CPUs Feature Microsoft's Pluton Security
Back in 2020 Microsoft announced their "Pluton" security chip that woulld be coming to future AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm processors. The Pluton security processor is designed to improve the system security under Windows and now we find out that AMD's forthcoming Ryzen 6000 "Rembrandt" mobile processors will be the first featuring this security feature that may prove controversial to Linux/open-source fans.

Firefox 95 vs. Chrome 97 Browser Performance On Linux
With starting a new year, it's an interesting time to take a fresh look at how the latest Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers are competing on the Linux desktop.

Cemu Emulator Plans For 2022 With Going Open-Source, Aiming For Linux Support
Cemu as one of the leading Nintendo Wii U video game emulators is planning to go open-source this year and is also working on Linux support and related cross-platform advancements.

Linux Preparing To Finally Remove Support For The a.out Format
Back in 2019 the Linux kernel deprecated a.out support for that file format used several decades ago before ELF tookover. Now in 2022 it looks like that a.out code will be removed from the kernel.

Microsoft Reworks The "DXGKRNL" Driver It Wants To Get Into The Linux Kernel
Back in 2020 Microsoft announced the DXGKRNL driver as the kernel driver component for supporting GPU accelerated use-cases within Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL2). That original DXGKRNL driver was quickly shot down by upstream kernel developers and various issues raised while now for the past year Microsoft has been reworking this kernel driver and on Wednesday published the new version.

MGLRU Is A Very Enticing Enhancement For Linux In 2022
Going back a number of months Google engineers have been working to address the issue of the Linux kernel's page reclaim code being too expensive for which they devised the multi-generational LRU framework "MGLRU" and it continues being worked on with mainline ambitions.

Astounding Progress Made In Porting Wine To Haiku For Running Windows Software
Haiku as the open-source operating system in development for two decades as the inspirational successor to BeOS is kicking off 2022 by.... beginning to be able to run Windows applications via Wine. There is great progress being made in porting Wine to running on Haiku.

Valve Is Sponsoring More CI Testing For The Open-Source Radeon Linux Graphics Driver
As good news not only to future Steam Deck users but all Linux gamers making use of the Mesa open-source graphics drivers, Valve is sponsoring additional continuous integration (CI) testing of Mesa commits.

Valve Working On Radeon Dynamic VRS For The Steam Deck To Increase Power Savings
Yet another open-source Radeon Vulkan "RADV" driver improvement being worked on by Valve's engineers is around better controlling variable rate shading "VRS" behavior with a focus on improving power savings for the Steam Deck.

BOLT Merged Into LLVM To Optimize Binaries For Faster Performance
Merged into LLVM's mono repository minutes ago was BOLT! This is the Facebook-developed tool for optimizing the layout of binaries in the name of delivering greater performance. Facebook (now Meta) already has been using BOLT internally to great success with production workloads, it's continued advancing in the public as open-source for a while, and is now upstream in LLVM for fostering its future development.

FFmpeg 5.0 Released For This Popular, Open-Source Multimedia Library
FFmpeg 5.0 is out today as a shiny feature update to this widely-used open-source audio/video handling suite.

KDE Gets A 2022 Roadmap - Plasma Wayland To Shine, Updated Breeze Icons
Well known KDE developer Nate Graham who publishes the weekly KDE desktop development summaries has published the 2022 road-map for what he sees as the major undertakings this year by this community-driven, open-source desktop environment.

Steam On Linux Ended 2021 At 1.11% Marketshare
After a reporting snafu over the weekend, Valve has now made available the December 2021 results of the Steam Survey. This metric has been quite interesting to monitor with the increases since Steam Play (Proton) was first introduced but particularly in recent months since the announcement of the Linux-powered Steam Deck causing more excitement around Linux gaming and more people trying out the current state of Steam Play.

NVIDIA Releases Quake II RTX 1.6 With Support For AMD FidelityFX FSR
It's been nearly one year since NVIDIA's last update to Quake II RTX as their port of Quake II to using Vulkan ray-tracing extensions for RTX path-traced global illumination. Fortunately, that changed today as they are out with a big update in the form of Quake II RTX v1.6.

Linux 5.17 Adds Support For "The First Usable, Low-Cost RISC-V Platform"
In addition to the prompt support for Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, another exciting milestone for the in-development Linux 5.17 kernel is introducing mainline support for the StarFive JH7100, which has been trying to make its debut as the first usable and low-cost RISC-V platform.

Linux 5.17 Is Bringing Big Improvements For AMD Hardware
Thanks to hiring more Linux developers and preparing to ramp up for next-generation hardware support, the in-development Linux 5.17 kernel is going to be another exciting step forward for AMD Linux customers.

Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Planning To Stick With Linux 5.15 By Default
It turns out Ubuntu 22.04 LTS is planning to use the Linux 5.15 kernel as its default kernel. It makes sense in that Linux 5.15 is also a long-term support kernel, but unfortunate in that Ubuntu LTS releases haven't always used LTS kernel versions and v5.15 will be a half-year old already by the time the "Jammy Jellyfish" ships in April. This is a choice particularly unfortunate for those with recent hardware but at least there is the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA and other non-default options available.

And the most-viewed featured articles:

Intel Core i5 12400 "Alder Lake": A Great ~$200 CPU For Linux Users
Formally announced at CES, the Core i5 12400 and other Alder Lake non-K desktop CPUs are beginning to appear in retail channels. Last week I was able to buy an Intel Core i5 12400 "Alder Lake" from a major Internet retailer for $209 USD -- and one week later there remains availability during these turbulent supply chain times. The i5-12400 has wound up being a very nice processor for Linux use that exceeded my initial expectations.

Linux 5.16 Graphics Performance In Great Shape For AMD Ryzen APUs
Back on Christmas Eve I noted how the Linux 5.16 performance was looking real good for AMD APUs as a performance improvement not widely noted to that point with significant uplift over Linux 5.15 stable. The good news is Linux 5.16 is set to debut as stable today and the benchmark results with AMD APU graphics is looking very promising after carrying out tests on additional available systems.

AMD Radeon Open-Source Linux GPU Driver Performance: 2020 vs. 2021
Across dozens of articles over the past year I have covered a variety of different open-source AMD Radeon Linux graphics driver optimizations from their kernel driver through their Mesa RadeonSI Gallium3D driver and the popular RADV Vulkan driver, among other interesting open-source AMD contributions. For those wondering what the cumulative gain was for 2021 from all these AMD graphics driver changes, here are some end-of-year 2020 vs. 2021 benchmarks across a number of different Linux games while testing on Vega, Navi, and Navi 2 graphics cards.

Building A Silent Linux Desktop For 2022 With The Streacom DB4
The long time Phoronix reader, with an excellent long-term memory, may remember an odd article from back in August 2017 on buying a passively cooled computer. It tells the tale of the consumer who decided to buy a rather niche, fanless, therefore passively cooled computer.

Intel Celeron G6900 Benchmarks - Performance Of Intel's $40~60 Alder Lake Processor
At the top-end of Intel's current Alder Lake line-up is the Core i9 12900K while at the opposite end is the Celeron G6900... The Celeron G6900 is a dual-core Alder Lake processor with a suggested customer price of $42~52 USD (though for the limited quantities available, I ended up paying $69). Curiosity got the best of me for seeing how well this lowest-end Alder Lake part performs under Ubuntu Linux.

Intel's Linux OS Shows The Importance Of Software Optimizations, Further Optimized Xeon "Ice Lake" In 2021
As part of the various end-of-year Linux comparisons that I've made a habit of over the past 17 years, with the EOY 2021 benchmarking I was rather curious to see how Intel's Clear Linux distribution has evolved Xeon Scalable "Ice Lake" performance since that platform launched in Q2'2021. It turns out there have been some terrific optimizations squeezed out of that latest-generation Xeon Scalable platform on Intel's Clear Linux. In this article is a look at the Ubuntu and Clear Linux performance on the flagship Xeon Platinum 8380 2P reference server back around the time Ice Lake launched and then again using the latest software packages that closed out 2021.

AMD Threadripper 3990X + RX 5700 XT System76 Thelio Major Performance After 2 Years
Next month marks two years since AMD introduced the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-core / 128-thread processor. All of our testing of the 3990X on Linux over the past two years has been with the System76 Thelio Major, which continues holding up well with that US-assembled workstation with hand-crafted enclosure from Colorado. With System76 having recently released Pop!_OS 21.10 as the latest update to their Ubuntu Linux derived operating system and upcoming two year anniversary of the 3990X, it made for an interesting time to see how the performance of the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X and Radeon RX 5700 XT within that workstation has evolved.

Intel Core i9 12900K P-State Governor Performance On Linux
Since Intel's Alder Lake launch one of the test requests to come in a few times has been about the Intel P-State CPU frequency scaling driver and how its performance differs with the various governor choices available for altering the CPU frequency scaling behavior. Now that Linux 5.16 stable is out and running in good shape on Alder Lake, here are some Core i9 12900K benchmarks looking at various CPU frequency scaling choices and their impact on raw performance as well as CPU thermals and power consumption.

HITMAN 3 Runs Well On Linux With Steam Play - Open-Source Radeon Performance Especially Good
After being an Epic Games exclusive for its first year, HITMAN III launched on Steam last week. While there isn't a native Linux port for HITMAN 3, it does run wonderful under Steam Play with Proton for enjoying this Windows game on Linux complete with Vulkan API rendering. Here are some initial benchmarks of HITMAN 3 on Linux with NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards.

Lenovo USB-C 7-in-1 Hub On Linux
For those considering the Lenovo USB-C 7-in-1 Hub for connecting to your Lenovo laptop for enjoying USB-C power charging, HDMI output, and additional USB ports, it does work out on Linux. While there have been some users running into seemingly firmware-related issues, at least with my testing over the past month this $50~60 (USD) USB-C hub has been working out well under Linux.
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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, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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