Happy New Year! A Look Back At The Most Popular Phoronix Content Of 2020
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 31 December 2020 at 08:34 PM EST. 8 Comments
PHORONIX --
After 219 Linux hardware reviews / benchmark featured articles and 3,206 original news articles on Phoronix for 2020, it's finally time to put a wrap on this year... Happy New Year and 2021 couldn't have come soon enough!

2020 is finally in the books and a couple hours time off before getting to the 2021 open-source/Linux coverage and benchmarking in the morning. Thanks to those that continue to support Phoronix into its 17th year of providing daily content and Linux performance/benchmarking metrics. In 2020 with everything happening I did come up short of my usual goal of around one review / featured article per day though still managing close to ten original news articles each and every day of the year.

If you would like to see a strong Phoronix in 2021, at the very least please do not use any ad blockers or other extensions on Phoronix -- ads remain the primary means of allowing the site to continue to operate. You can join Phoronix Premium if wishing to view the site ad-free and multi-page articles on a single page, among other benefits. There is the end of year Phoronix Premium special that I will still happily honor over the next few days for those that otherwise missed it in time and every effort taken to get ad-block users off from the harmful practice.

Now onto the most popular reviews / featured articles of 2020 on Phoronix:

Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Performance On A $199 AMD Ryzen Laptop
When carrying out our Windows vs. Linux benchmarks we normally are doing so on interesting high-end hardware but for today's benchmarking is a look at how a $199 USD laptop powered by an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor compares between Windows 10 as it's shipped on the laptop against the forthcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Linux distribution.

Linux 5.6 Is The Most Exciting Kernel In Years With So Many New Features
The Linux 5.6 merge window is anticipated to be ending today followed by the Linux 5.6-rc1 test release. This kernel is simply huge: there is so many new and improved features with this particular release that it's mind-boggling. I'm having difficulty remembering such a time a kernel release was so large.

Windows vs. Linux Scaling Performance From 16 To 128 Threads With AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X
As has been known for a while now, AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors really show their true potential on Linux with often significant increases to the performance thanks to the kernel's better scalability compared to Microsoft Windows. While Microsoft has made some improvements in this area over the past year, with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-core / 128-thread HEDT processor it really shines on Linux. In this article are benchmarks of Windows 10 Professional and Windows 10 Enterprise against Linux on the Threadripper 3990X when going from 16 cores to 128 threads for seeing how the three operating systems are scaling.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X Offers Incredible Linux Performance
If you are looking for the absolute best single-socket workstation performance for Linux, there has already been the Threadripper 3970X that easily outperforms the likes of the Core i9 10980XE as Intel's top-end HEDT product, but now the Threadripper 3990X is shipping. The Threadripper 3990X is AMD's first 64-core / 128-thread desktop/workstation processor and will love your multi-threaded workloads from code compilation to content creation. As shown in our benchmarks, this single CPU is indeed faster than $20k worth of Intel Xeon Platinum CPUs.

Windows 10 Outperforming Linux On A ~$5000 Laptop, Ubuntu Beating Clear Linux
We are used to seeing tier-one Linux distributions outperforming Microsoft Windows on hardware ranging from $199 laptops to HEDT and server processors and everything in between. Thus it came as a large surprise to us when finding Windows 10 outperforming multiple Linux distributions on a new Intel laptop. Not only was Windows 10 leading, but the performance paradigm shifted that Ubuntu was even outperforming Clear Linux, which normally is the fastest of Linux distributions out-of-the-box.

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.

Even With A $199 Laptop, Clear Linux Can Offer Superior Performance To Fedora Or Ubuntu
The latest in our benchmarking fun with the $199+ Motile M141 laptop is seeing how well Intel's Clear Linux performs on it in relation to Ubuntu and Fedora.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 Series Linux Performance
Today is the big day: Big Navi is shipping! This also means we can talk at length finally about the Linux support and performance for the Radeon RX 6800 series and how well they perform for Linux gaming. Here is a look at the Linux driver state for these initial RDNA 2 graphics cards and their performance capabilities with the multiple different open-source driver stacks available.

Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 20.04 Linux Performance On The AMD Ryzen 7 4700U
While most of you are well aware how Linux often slaughters Microsoft Windows performance on high-end desktop and platform servers with large core counts, on smaller systems it can be a different story and often comes down to the particular workloads and any peculiarities of the hardware under test. With recently buying the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 (14) for our AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Linux benchmarking, here are some benchmarks for how that Zen 2 laptop is comparing with different workloads between Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

Ubuntu 18.04 vs. 20.04 LTS Performance Preview With Intel Xeon Scalable
There is less than one month to go until the official release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS "Focal Fossa" but we've already begun experimenting with it for weeks across a variety of platforms. For the most part we have found Ubuntu 20.04 slated to offer some nice performance improvements, especially if upgrading from the existing LTS series, Ubuntu 18.04. In this article are our initial benchmarks looking at the Intel Xeon Scalable from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to the current 20.04 near-final state.

Apple M1 ARM Performance With A 2020 Mac Mini
For those curious about the hardware potential out of Apple's in-house M1 processor powering new Mac Book Pros and Mac Mini, for the past week we have been running benchmarks of this ARM-based processor and have a number of benchmarks to share today looking at how the performance compares to prior Intel-powered Macs along with the Rosetta 2.0 performance for running x86_64 binaries on ARMv8.

Initial AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Linux Performance Is Very Good
Since AMD Renoir laptops began shipping some weeks ago, I've been on the hunt for an interesting laptop to pick up for Linux testing and to potentially even use as my next main production laptop. Given the successes of AMD Zen 2 on the desktop and server front, I've been very eager to try out a Renoir laptop and last week picked up a Lenovo IdeaPad with Ryzen 7 4700U and the experience so far has been very good and with captivating Linux performance.

AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Performance On Windows 10 vs. Six Linux Distributions
As part of our Ryzen 5 4500U and Ryzen 7 4700U Linux benchmarking there have been multiple requests for showing how various Linux distributions run and perform with these exciting Ryzen 4000 series mobile CPUs. Here are some benchmarks not only looking at six Linux distributions but also the performance of Microsoft Windows 10 as was preloaded on the Lenovo Flex 5 15-inch 2-in-1.

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.

Intel Core i7 1165G7 "Tiger Lake" Linux Performance With The Dell XPS 13 9310
Here are our initial benchmarks of Intel Tiger Lake on Ubuntu Linux via the premium Core i7 1165G7 processor. This also appears to be the first public benchmarks of the new Dell XPS 13 9310 laptop that just-launched as the refreshed XPS notebook for Tiger Lake and with Intel EVO certification.

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS A Nice Upgrade For AMD Ryzen Owners From 18.04 LTS
Particularly for those on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or derivative distributions based on the current long-term support base, moving to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS due out next month will yield some nice improvements particularly for those on newer platforms like the AMD Ryzen 3000 series. Here are some benchmarks at how the Ryzen 9 3900X performance is looking between Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS, Ubuntu 19.10, and the current Ubuntu 20.04 LTS development snapshot.

Ubuntu 20.04 vs. Windows 10 WSL/WSL2 Performance In 170+ Benchmarks
Earlier this month was a look at the Windows 10 May 2020 Update performance for WSL/WSL2 with many benchmarks and testing on an Intel Core i9 10900K. Here is a follow-up round of testing this time with HEDT performance in the form of running an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X and running even more benchmarks up to 172 in total for this comparison of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS against WSL and WSL2 performance on this newest Microsoft Windows 10 update.

XFS / EXT4 / Btrfs / F2FS / NILFS2 Performance On Linux 5.8
Given the reignited discussions this week over Btrfs file-system performance stemming from a proposal to switch Fedora on the desktop to using Btrfs, here are some fresh benchmarks of not only Btrfs but alongside XFS, EXT4, F2FS, and for kicks NILFS2 was also tossed into the mix for these mainline file-system tests off the in-development Linux 5.8 kernel.

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.

20-Way GPU Gaming Comparison With March 2020 Linux Drivers
Given the continuously evolving state of the open-source Radeon Linux graphics drivers in particular, here are fresh AMD Radeon vs. NVIDIA GeForce Linux gaming benchmarks with the latest Linux graphics drivers as we begin March 2020. Besides the latest NVIDIA 440.64 Linux driver, on the Radeon side was Mesa 20.1-devel paired with the Linux 5.5.5 kernel and also having the RADV ACO back-end enabled.

As for the most popular news on Phoronix for 2020, the highlights include:

Linus Torvalds Switches To AMD Ryzen Threadripper After 15 Years Of Intel Systems
An interesting anecdote shared in today's Linux 5.7-rc7 announcement is word that Linux and Git creator Linus Torvalds switched his main rig over to an AMD Ryzen Threadripper.

The AMD Radeon Graphics Driver Makes Up Roughly 10.5% Of The Linux Kernel
Given the impending release of Linux 5.9, I was having some fun with cloc today looking at the current lines of code count for this near-final Linux 5.9 kernel state.

A NVIDIA Engineer In His Spare Time Wrote A Vulkan Driver That Works On Older Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi 1 through Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and even the Raspberry Pi Zero can now see Vulkan support via a new unofficial "RPi-VK-Driver" that is offering even better performance than the Broadcom OpenGL driver.

It's Time To Admit It: The X.Org Server Is Abandonware
The last major release of the X.Org Server was in May 2018 but don't expect the long-awaited X.Org Server 1.21 to actually be released anytime soon.

IBM Drops The "Silliness" - POWERXX Is Indeed POWER10 With Updated Open-Source Patches
Over the past year IBM engineers have been plumbing "future" processor support into the GCC compiler and related GNU toolchain components. The patches often referred to the work either as "future" or "powerxx" while today is christened as what was pretty much obvious all along: it's POWER10.

Linus Torvalds Just Made A Big Optimization To Help Code Compilation Times On Big CPUs
For those using GNU Make in particular as their build system, the parallel build times are about to be a lot faster beginning with Linux 5.6 for large core count systems. This landing just after the AMD Threadripper 3990X 64-core / 128-thread CPU launch is one example of systems to benefit from this kernel change when compiling a lot of code and making use of many GNU Make jobs.

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.

Sony Publishes An Official Linux Driver For PlayStation 5 DualSense Controllers
Well here is a pleasant Christmas surprise... Sony has published a new "hid-playstation" Linux kernel driver for bringing up the PlayStation 5 DualSense controller and will also be used for supporting other PlayStation hardware on Linux.

Linus Torvalds: "I Hope AVX512 Dies A Painful Death"
Linux creator Linus Torvalds had some choice words today on Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (AVX-512) found on select Intel processors.

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.

Firefox 75 On Wayland Now To Have Full WebGL, Working VA-API Acceleration
Firefox 75 due to be released next month should finally have its native Wayland support in good order.

It's 2020: Linux Kernel Sees New Port To The Nintendo 64
It's been a turbulent year and 2020 is certainly ending interesting in the Linux/open-source space... If it wasn't odd enough seeing Sony providing a new official Linux driver for their PlayStation 5 DualSense controller for ending out the year, there is also a new Linux port to the Nintendo 64 game console... Yes, a brand new port to the game console that launched more than two decades ago.

Even Apple Is Interested In Migrating Their C Code To Rust
Even Apple is on the bandwagon of transitioning select C code-bases of theirs over to Rust as well as expanding the code they are writing in Rust.

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.

Systemd-Homed Merged As A Fundamental Change To Linux Home Directories
Systemd-homed has been merged as the latest (optional) fundamental change to Linux distributions in how home directories are handled.

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.

Deleting A Few Lines Of Code Can Yield "Significant" Power Savings On Some Linux Systems
A patch slated to be merged for the Linux 5.8 kernel cycle next month that simply deletes ten lines of code (well, six lines of code and four lines of comments) will for some systems yield "significant power savings" due to an oversight in the kernel code that has lasted for about twelve years.

seL4 Microkernel Being Ported To RISC-V
The seL4 micro-kernel that is focused on delivering robust security and performance is being ported to the RISC-V architecture.
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About The Author
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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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