The Spectre/Meltdown Performance Impact On Linux 4.20, Decimating Benchmarks With New STIBP Overhead

As outlined yesterday, significant slowdowns with the Linux 4.20 kernel turned out to be due to the addition of the kernel-side bits for STIBP (Single Thread Indirect Branch Predictors) for cross-HyperThread Spectre Variant Two mitigation. This has incurred significant performance penalties with the STIBP support in its current state with Linux 4.20 Git and is enabled by default at least for Intel systems with up-to-date microcode. Here are some follow-up benchmarks looking at the performance hit with the Linux 4.20 development kernel as well as the overall Spectre and Meltdown mitigation impact on this latest version of the Linux kernel.

10 Hours Ago - Software - 27 Comments
AMD Optimizing C/C++ Compiler 1.3 Brings More Zen Tuning

Earlier this month AMD quietly released a new version of their Optimizing C/C++ compiler in the form of AOCC 1.3. This new compiler release has more Zen tuning to try to squeeze even more performance out of Ryzen/EPYC systems when using their LLVM-based compiler.

16 Hours Ago - AMD - AOCC 1.3 - 1 Comment
Radeon GCC Back-End Updated For Running Single-Threaded C & Fortran On AMD GPUs

Back in September Code Sourcery / Mentor Graphics posted the Radeon GCC back-end they have been developing with the cooperation of AMD. This is for allowing the GCC compiler to eventually offload nicely to Radeon GPUs with its different programming languages and supported parallel programming models, particularly with OpenMP and OpenACC in mind. But for now this patch series just works with single-threaded C and Fortran programs. The second version of this port was posted for review.

17 Hours Ago - GNU - Radeon GCC v2 - 2 Comments

16 November

The Open-Source AMD Linux Driver Stack Hitting Problems With The Radeon RX 590

While the Radeon RX 590 that launched this week is just yet another Polaris refresh, it turns out the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver stack isn't yet playing well with retail RX 590 graphics cards. This is quite a surprise considering the PCI ID was picked up months ago and the mature Polaris Linux driver support for quite a while now, but could be like the rough Raven Ridge Linux experience where the production cards with the shipping vBIOS isn't what the developers encountered during their pre-production driver enablement.

16 November 08:00 PM EST - Radeon - Radeon RX 590 + Linux - 38 Comments
More Benchmarks Of The Performance Pullback In Linux 4.20

Last night I published some benchmarks after finding Linux 4.20 is regressing in several workloads compared to Linux 4.18/4.19 and at least was affecting Intel Core i9 "HEDT" boxes. Here are more affected workloads regressing on Linux 4.20 and it's not just limited to high-end hardware.

16 November 06:54 AM EST - Linux Kernel - Linux 4.20 Performance Drop - 13 Comments

15 November

Benchmarking Packet.com's Bare Metal Intel Xeon / AMD EPYC Cloud

With the tests earlier this week of the 16-way AMD EPYC cloud comparison the real standout of those tests across Amazon EC2, Packet, and SkySilk was Packet's bare metal cloud. For just $1.00 USD per hour it's possible to have bare metal access to an AMD EPYC 7401P 24-core / 48-thread server that offers incredible value compared to the other public cloud options for on-demand pricing. That led me to running some more benchmarks of Packet.com's other bare metal cloud options to see how the Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC options compare.

15 November 07:40 AM EST - Computers - 1 Comment
The Newest Mesa NIR/SPIR-V Code For Handling OpenCL Kernels

It's now been nearly one year since longtime Nouveau contributor Karol Herbst joined Red Hat where one of his big projects has been working on OpenCL support for this open-source NVIDIA driver by bringing up NIR/SPIR-V support and making the necessary improvements for allowing OpenCL kernels to be represented in that IR commonly used by the Mesa drivers. The work still isn't yet in Mesa Git, but Karol this week sent out his newest patches.

15 November 05:46 AM EST - Mesa - OpenCL NIR - 5 Comments
PHP Lands Preload Feature, Boosting Performance In Some Cases 30~50%

PHP developers unanimously approved and already merged support for the new "preloading" concept for this web server language. PHP preloading basically allows loading PHP code that persists as long as the web server is running and that code will always be ready for each subsequent web request, which in some cases will dramatically speed-up the PHP performance on web servers.

15 November 05:35 AM EST - Free Software - PHP Preload - 5 Comments

14 November

Fedora Perfecting Their Flicker-Free Boot Experience With A New Plymouth Theme

The recent release of Fedora 29 the long-desired goal of a flicker-free boot experience to the Linux desktop was finally achieved... Well, assuming you are for now using Intel graphics and set a couple extra settings and don't have any quirky hardware. While all of the key components are in place, for Fedora 30 and beyond they will likely be taking care of the "rough edges" and already there is work on a new Plymouth boot theme for pairing with this flicker-free boot process.

14 November 12:55 PM EST - Fedora - Flicker-Free Fedora - 29 Comments
Trying DragonFlyBSD & FreeBSD On The Intel Core i9 9900K With ASUS PRIME Z390-A

Since last month's Intel Core i9 9900K launch for this eight core / sixteen thread processor we have explored its performance for Linux gaming, how the performance and power efficiency go from the Intel 990X to 9900K, the Spectre mitigation costs, and the Intel Coffeelake Refresh performance across various Linux distributions. For those curious about using the new Intel CPUs and Z390 motherboards with one of the BSD operating systems, I spent a few days over the weekend trying out FreeBSD and DragonFlyBSD releases with the i9-9900K and ASUS PRIME Z390-A motherboard combination.

14 November 10:00 AM EST - Operating Systems - 6 Comments
NVIDIA Working On An EGLStreams Back-End For KDE On Wayland

With no recent activity on the NVIDIA-led Unix device memory allocation work that all developer communities could get behind to supersede GBM and EGLStreams for use by Wayland compositors, NVIDIA is working on an EGLStreams back-end for KDE's KWin compositor.

14 November 07:45 AM EST - KDE - KWin + EGLStreams Wayland - 53 Comments

13 November

Wine 3.0.4 Is En Route With New Icons, Dozens Of Bug Fixes

Wine 4.0 should be out in early 2019 as the next major stable release of this increasingly used software for running Windows games and applications on Linux and other operating systems. For those not riding the bi-weekly development releases that lead up to the eventual Wine 4.0, Wine 3.0.4 is coming in the days ahead as the latest stable point revision.

13 November 09:05 PM EST - WINE - Wine 3.0.4-RC1 - 7 Comments
Debian Packages To Eliminate Vendor-Specific Patches, Affecting Downstreams Like Ubuntu

Debian packages have supported the concept of vendor-specific patches whereby when DPKG unpacks a source package on different operating systems / distributions (such as Debian vs. Ubuntu), different patches could be selectively applied. Ubuntu is one of the main benefactors of this feature while effective immediately these vendor-specific patches to source packages will be treated as a bug and will be unpermitted following the Debian 10 "Buster" release.

13 November 02:32 PM EST - Debian - No More Vendor-Specific DEB Patches - 25 Comments
A Look At The GCC 9 Performance On Intel Skylake Against GCC 8, LLVM Clang 7/8

With GCC 9 embarking upon its third stage of development where the focus ships to working on bug/regression fixes in preparation for releasing the GCC 9.1 stable compiler likely around the end of Q1'2019, here is a fresh look at the GCC 9 performance with its latest development code as of this week compared to GCC 8.2.0 stable while using an Intel Core i9 7980XE test system running Ubuntu Linux. For good measure are also fresh results from LLVM Clang 7.0 stable as well as LLVM Clang 8.0 SVN for the latest development state of that competing C/C++ open-source compiler.

13 November 12:00 PM EST - Software - 15 Comments
Mesa Gets Testing Patches For New Zen Optimization Around Thread Pinning

It was just yesterday that the AMD Zen L3 thread pinning was dropped from Mesa due to that optimization not panning out as intended for benefiting the new AMD processors with the open-source Linux graphics driver stack. Lead Mesa hacker Marek Olšák is already out with a new Zen tuning implementation that may deliver on the original optimization goal.

13 November 05:36 AM EST - Mesa - Mesa + Zen Tuning - 8 Comments
Systemd-Free, XBPS-Powered Void Linux Releases New Images

If you are looking for a new Linux distribution to experiment with, Void Linux is one of the interesting ones that is an original creation and community driven that often doesn't receive the attention it deserves. Void Linux is built off its BSD-licensed XBPS packaging system, is a rolling-release platform, uses runit as the init system instead of systemd, opts for LibreSSL in place of OpenSSL, optional musl libc usage, and has a wealth of other changes.

13 November 05:03 AM EST - Operating Systems - Void Linux - 20 Comments

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