Stadia, Web Browsers, GNOME 3.32 & Jetson Nano Dominated Linux Interest In March
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 1 April 2019 at 02:00 AM EDT. 2 Comments
PHORONIX --
During March on Phoronix was 299 original news articles and 22 featured Linux hardware reviews / benchmark specials in quite an exciting month, though looking ahead to April and Q2'2019 should be quite exciting as well.

The past month on Phoronix brought news of Google's new "Stadia" Linux+Vulkan game streaming service, GNOME 3.32's release with many performance improvements and fixes, the launch of the interesting $99 NVIDIA Jetson Nano, several browser benchmark articles with the Phoronix Test Suite now supporting the automated execution of browser-based tests, Linux 5.0 being released and Linux 5.1 kicking off, and much more.

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The most popular news for March included:

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.

ReactOS 0.4.11 "Open-Source Windows" Available With Big Kernel Improvements
ReactOS 0.4.11 is now available as the newest version of this open-source operating system re-implementing the Windows APIs with a focus on binary driver/application compatibility. With this being the first release since November's ReactOS 0.4.10, there are a fair amount of changes to find in this new build.

AFS For Linux 5.1 Would Have Pleased Firefox/SQLite But Was Rejected As Untested Crap
The Andrew File-System (AFS) continues to evolve as a distributed file-system. Over the past year and a half there's been a lot of activity to AFS in the mainline Linux kernel, including material slated for the in-development Linux 5.1 kernel but then Linus Torvalds ended up having to un-pull the changes.

A Look At The Many Improvements & New Features In GNOME 3.32
Barring any last minute delays, GNOME 3.32 is expected to ship today as the latest six-month update to this popular open-source desktop environment. GNOME 3.32 personally has me quite excited more so for the improvements -- and bug fixes -- over "new" features, but here is a look at some of what there is to get excited about with this latest update to the GNOME 3 desktop.

A DRM-Based Linux Oops Viewer Is Being Proposed Again - Similar To Blue Screen of Death
Back when kernel mode-setting (KMS) was originally talked about a decade ago one of the talked about possibilities of implementing a Linux "Blue Screen of Death" / better error handling when a dramatic system problem occurs. Such an implementation never really materialized but now in 2019 there is a developer pursuing new work in this area with a DRM-based kernel oops viewer.

Intel CPUs Reportedly Vulnerable To New "SPOILER" Speculative Attack
SPOILER is the newest speculative attack affecting Intel's micro-architecture.

Orbital: A PlayStation 4 Emulator That Is Emulating The PS4's AMD GPU Using Vulkan
Orbital is an open-source project providing a virtualization-based PlayStation 4 emulator that is still in its early stages but what interests us is its technical details including the use of Vulkan/SPIR-V.

The Faster & More Beautiful GNOME 3.32 Has Been Released
GNOME 3.32, which is codenamed "Taipei" given the location of GNOME.Asia Summit 2018, has been officially released on time.

Linux 5.1 Continues The Years-Long Effort Preparing For Year 2038
Linux 5.1 continues the massive undertaking in preparing the kernel for the Year 2038 problem.

Stadia Is Google's Cloud Gaming Service Using Linux, Vulkan & A Custom AMD GPU
Google used the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC 2019) to officially unveil "Stadia" as their cloud-based game streaming service formerly known as Project Stream.

And the most popular featured articles:

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.

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.

Benchmarking A 10-Core Tyan/IBM POWER Server For ~$300 USD
If you live in the EU and have been wanting to explore IBM POWER hardware on Linux, a load of Tyan Habanero servers recently became available through a German retailer for 269 EUR (~$306 USD) that comes equipped with a 10-core POWER8 processor. While not POWER9, it's still an interesting Linux-capable beast and the price is unbeatable if you have been wanting to add POWER hardware to your collection. Phoronix reader Lauri Kasanen recently bought one of these IBM POWER servers at the 269 EUR price point and has shared thoughts on this server as well as some benchmarks. Here is Lauri's guest post checking out this low-cost 2U IBM server.

NVIDIA Jetson Nano: A Feature-Packed Arm Developer Kit For $99 USD
One of the most interesting announcements out of NVIDIA's 2019 GTC conference is the introduction of the Jetson Nano, NVIDIA's latest Arm developer board featuring a Tegra SoC. This developer board is very different from the past Jetson boards in that it's aiming for a very affordable price point: just $99 USD.

The 2019 Laptop Performance Cost To Linux Full-Disk Encryption
I certainly recommend that everyone uses full-disk encryption for their production systems, especially for laptops you may be bringing with you. In over a decade of using Linux full-disk encryption on my main systems, the overhead cost to doing so has fortunately improved with time thanks to new CPU instruction set extensions, optimizations within the Linux kernel, and faster SSD storage making the performance penalty even less noticeable. As it's been a while since my last look at the Linux storage encryption overhead, here are some fresh results using a Dell XPS laptop running Ubuntu with/without LUKS full-disk encryption.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Linux Benchmarks
Last week NVIDIA announced the GeForce GTX 1660 as the newest RTX-less Turing GPU but costing only $219+ USD. The GTX 1660 is a further trimmed down version of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti that launched several weeks prior. After picking up an ASUS GeForce GTX 1660 Phoenix Edition, here are Linux OpenGL/Vulkan gaming benchmarks compared to a wide assortment of AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards under Ubuntu.

AMDGPU vs. Radeon Kernel Driver Performance On Linux 5.0 For AMD GCN 1.0/1.1 GPUs
A seldom advertised experimental feature of the AMDGPU kernel driver has long been the GCN 1.0/1.1 graphics support. By default these Southern Islands and Sea Islands graphics processors default to the Radeon DRM driver, but with some kernel command lime parameters can use the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager driver. The AMDGPU code path is better maintained since it's used for all modern Radeon GPUs, using AMDGPU opens up Vulkan driver support, and possible performance benefits. It's a while since last testing the Radeon vs. AMDGPU driver performance for these original GCN graphics cards, so here are some fresh benchmarks using the Linux 5.0 kernel and Mesa 19.1-devel.

Linux 4.19 Kernel Benchmarks On The Raspberry Pi
With the Raspberry Pi Foundation recently having begun rolling out a Linux 4.19-based kernel to Raspberry Pi boards, here are some benchmarks looking at the performance of two Raspberry Pi systems with the new Linux 4.19 kernel compared to its previous 4.14 kernel.

The Current Spectre / Meltdown Mitigation Overhead Benchmarks On Linux 5.0
With it being a little over one year since Spectre and Meltdown mitigations became public and with the Linux kernel today hitting the big "5.0" release, I decided to run some benchmarks of the current out-of-the-box performance hit as a result of the current default mitigation techniques employed by the Linux kernel. The default vs. unmitigated performance impact for Spectre/Meltdown are tested on an Intel Core i7 and Core i9 systems while there is also an AMD Ryzen 7 box for reference with its Spectre mitigation impact on Linux 5.0.

Intel P-State vs. CPUFreq Frequency Scaling Performance On The Linux 5.0 Kernel
It's been a while since last running any P-State/CPUFreq frequency scaling driver and governor comparisons on Intel desktop systems, so given the recent release of Linux 5.0 I ran some tests for looking at the current state of affairs. Using an Intel Core i9 9900K I tested both the P-State and CPUFreq scaling drivers and their prominent governor options for seeing not only how the raw performance compares but also the system power consumption, CPU thermals, and performance-per-Watt.
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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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