AMD Dominated The Conversation Among Linux/Open-Source Fans In July
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 August 2019 at 05:57 AM EDT. Add A Comment
PHORONIX --
AMD dominated the Linux hardware conversations and benchmarking in July with their 7/7 launch of their 7nm Ryzen 3000 series "Zen 2" processors and Radeon RX 5700 "Navi" processors. Of the 273 original news articles on Phoronix during July and the 19 featured Linux hardware reviews / benchmark specials, AMD news and Linux benchmark results tended to dominate many of the top spots.

In addition to the AMD launches, also popular in July was the launch of the Raspberry Pi 4, the stable Linux 5.2 kernel release and Linux 5.3 going through its merge window, and a lot of interesting distribution news. Below is a look at all of the popular content on Phoronix for the past month.

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The most popular news during July included:

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.

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.

Debian 10.0 "Buster" Now Available - Powered By Linux 4.19, GNOME + Wayland
After a long day of preparations, Debian 10.0 "Buster" is now available as planned with the CD/DVD images having just hit the mirrors.

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server Planning A New Means For Automated Installations
Canonical's server team is working on a new means of carrying out automated installations of Ubuntu Server in time for their 20.04 LTS release.

Valve Has Been Developing A New Mesa Vulkan Shader Compiler For Radeon
Valve has been funding work on "ACO", a new shader compiler alternative to the de facto AMDGPU LLVM shader compiler currently used by both the RADV and RadeonSI Mesa graphics drivers for AMD Radeon hardware.

Debian 11 "Bullseye" Cycle Prepares To Begin Long Journey
Now that Debian 10 "Buster" shipped, Debian developers are preparing already to kickoff the Debian 11 "Bullseye" development and begin with uploading new packages for this next major release of Debian GNU/Linux.

Ubuntu 19.10 Indeed Working On "Experimental ZFS Option" In Ubiquity Installer
It looks like in July we could finally see an "experimental ZFS" option within Ubuntu 19.10 and its daily images for those wanting an easy-to-use ZFS On Linux based installation of Ubuntu.

DragonFlyBSD Replacing Their 48-Core Opteron Infrastructure With Ryzen 9 3900X CPUs
DragonFlyBSD is replacing their 48-core Opteron server named "Monster" with two of the new AMD Ryzen 9 3900X "Zen 2" processors as well as a spare Xeon server. DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon continues to be mighty impressed by AMD's latest processor offerings.

To Little Surprise, Many Linux Apps Run On The Librem 5 Linux Smartphone
Now being into Q3, we're waiting to see if Purism will be able to deliver the Librem 5 GNU/Linux smartphone this quarter after being pushed back twice from their original January ship date. They haven't released any finished design yet or the finalized specifications (they still haven't finalized on the RAM, battery, cameras, and speaker(s)), but their latest series of blog posts are showing that GNOME/Linux applications can run on their Librem 5 developer kit.

Linux 5.2/5.3 Kernel Performance On The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
With yesterday's Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Linux benchmarks for the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, some suggested that the Linux performance could have been better if using a Linux 5.x kernel. Well, here are some benchmarks comparing the performance of Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS with its Linux 4.18 kernel compared to Linux 5.2 stable as well as the brand new Linux 5.3 development kernel.

Sailfish OS 3.1 Released As Jolla's Biggest Update In A Year
Jolla has released Sailfish OS 3.1 "Seitseminen" as their Linux-based mobile operating system update and their biggest since shipping Sailfish OS 3 back in 2018.

Systemd Introduces A New & Practical Service For Dealing With PStore
Adding to the list of new features for systemd 243 is another last-minute addition to this growing init system... Systemd picked up a new service and while some may view it as bloat, should be quite practical at least for those encountering kernel crashes from time to time.

ZFS On Linux Has Figured Out A Way To Restore SIMD Support On Linux 5.0+
Those running ZFS On Linux (ZoL) on post-5.0 (and pre-5.0 supported LTS releases) have seen big performance hits to the ZFS encryption performance in particular. That came due to upstream breaking an interface used by ZFS On Linux and admittedly not caring about ZoL due to it being an out-of-tree user. But now several kernel releases later, a workaround has been devised.

Merging exFAT Support For Linux Is Being Talked About - Waiting On Microsoft's Blessing
Microsoft's exFAT file-system is more than one decade old and while there has been out-of-tree efforts, the mainline Linux kernel as of yet does not support the file-system even with it appearing on more SD cards and other devices. But there is now a renewed effort to get an exFAT driver into the Linux kernel.

AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200 Announced As A Small Form Factor $199 USD Workstation Card
For those looking for a small form factor workstation-oriented graphics card or just a budget workstation GPU in general, AMD today announced the Radeon Pro WX 3200.

Microsoft Aiming For A Linux Development Workflow Around WSL + VS Code Remote
Not a particularly new feature itself, but recently Microsoft has begun promoting a workflow for developers of encouraging them to use Windows 10 to do Linux development by leveraging Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and Visual Studio Code Remote.

Linux's 32-Bit Kernel Has Been Buggy Since Being Mitigated For Meltdown
Whether you like it or not, the Linux kernel's x86 32-bit support has already begun suffering some minor forms of bit rot. Most kernel developers are no longer actively testing x86-32 and distribution vendors are beginning to drop 32-bit support. The latest example of x86 32-bit's effectively demoted state is some buggy undefined behavior functionality living within the mainline kernel for the past year since the Meltdown mitigations landed.

With An Out-Of-Tree Kernel Patch You Can Finally Read/Write To The SSDs On Newer Macs
While Apple computers once ran well with Linux, that's not been the case in recent years particularly for MacBook Pros but now really all newer Apple computers have become a mess on Linux. There's been really messy issues in trying to run Macs on Linux. With MacBook Pros from recent revisions, it's now only finally possible for Linux to read/write to the solid-state drive if using an out-of-tree patch.

WireGuard 0.0.20190702 Released For This Cross-Platform Open-Source VPN Tunnel
WireGuard 0.0.20190702 has been released as the newest snapshot for this increasingly popular open-source network VPN tunnel that has showed much potential and has now been ported to all major platforms.

Alibaba Crafts A 16-Core RISC-V Chip @ 2.5GHz
To date there haven't been any really compelling RISC-V processors from a performance perspective but it's looking like we could soon be crossing that threshold.

And the featured articles:

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.

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.

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.

AMD Radeon RX 5700 / RX 5700XT Linux Gaming Benchmarks
While last month we could talk all about the specifications for the Radeon RX 5700 series, today the embargo has lifted concerning the Radeon RX 5700/5700XT graphics cards so we can finally talk about the actual (Linux) performance. The road is a bit rougher than we had hoped, but it's possible to drive these new Navi graphics cards today using their open-source graphics driver stack at least for OpenGL games/applications. Over the weeks ahead, the Linux driver support for Navi will continue to improve.

Spectre Mitigation Performance Impact Benchmarks On AMD Ryzen 3700X / 3900X Against Intel
AMD Zen 2 processors feature hardware-based mitigations for Spectre V2 and Spectre V4 SSBD while remaining immune to the likes of Meltdown and Zombieload. Here are some benchmarks looking at toggling the CPU speculative execution mitigations across various Intel and AMD processors.

Initial Benchmarks Of Endeavour OS - The New Linux Distro Based On Arch
Following the Antergos Linux distribution being discontinued one of the new projects stemming from that decision is Endeavour OS as a new convenient to use Arch Linux distribution. Here are some early benchmarks of Endeavour OS compared to Ubuntu, Clear Linux, and other distributions on an Intel Core i9 system.

An Initial Look At The IBM POWER9 4-Core / 16-Thread CPU Performance On The Blackbird
A few weeks ago we received a POWER9 Raptor Blackbird for testing that features an IBM POWER9 4-core (16 thread) processor clocked at 3.80GHz. For those curious about the performance potential for low-end POWER9 parts compared to the more common high-core/thread count POWER processors we have benchmarked before like in the Talos II server, here are some initial tests of that petite POWER9 processor.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Linux Memory Scaling Performance
For those wondering if upgrading your RAM to higher frequency DIMMs is worthwhile when moving to AMD X570 and a new Zen 2 processor like the Ryzen 9 3900X, here are some reference benchmarks at different frequencies while maintaining the same timings.

7-Way Linux Distribution Benchmarks For July 2019, Including LTO'ed openSUSE Tumbleweed
As it's been a few weeks since last hosting any Linux distribution comparison and now with the rolling-release openSUSE Tumbleweed enabling LTO by default, here are some fresh Linux distribution comparison results plus tossing the newly-released Debian 10.0 into the mix as well. This round of testing included Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Ubuntu 19.04, Fedora Workstation 30, openSUSE Leap 15.1, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Clear Linux 30450, and Debian 10.0.

FreeBSD 12 Runs Refreshingly Easy On AMD Ryzen 9 3900X - Benchmarks Against Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
While newer Linux distributions have run into problems on the new AMD Zen 2 desktop CPUs (fixed by a systemd patch or fundamentally by a BIOS update) and DragonFlyBSD needed a separate boot fix, FreeBSD 12.0 installed out-of-the-box fine on the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X test system with ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VIII HERO WiFi motherboard.
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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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