Steam Deck, Ryzen Servers, Apple M1 On Linux & Milan-X Excited Linux Users In Q1
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 31 March 2022 at 07:40 PM EDT. Add A Comment
PHORONIX --
Here is a look back at the most-read stories on Phoronix during Q1'22 with our daily content around Linux hardware, open-source news, and lots of benchmarking.

During this past quarter on Phoronix were 42 featured Linux hardware reviews written by your's truly as well as 729 original news articles pertaining to Linux/open-source happenings. Fresh new and original content each and everyday continues to be the norm. Sadly still being the norm are the challenges of the web advertising industry and continuing to be compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry and that of ad-blockers... Operations continue to be stretched thin here with being reliant on pay-per-impression web advertising to keep Linux hardware testing and the daily flow of news going ahead of Phoronix.com turning 18 years old in June. If you enjoy the daily content, consider showing your support by joining Phoronix Premium or making a PayPal tip. You can also keep up with the flow of original content via Twitter and Facebook.

The most popular featured multi-page articles/reviews for Q1 on Phoronix included:

Raspberry Pi OS 32-bit vs. 64-bit Performance
Last week marked the long awaited release of a 64-bit spin of Raspberry Pi OS. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has now made available a 64-bit build of their default Linux OS build derived from Debian for all recent Raspberry Pi hardware supporting AArch64. For those curious, here are some benchmarks looking at the performance improvement by switching from Raspberry Pi OS 32-bit to 64-bit.

AMD Makes A Compelling Case For Budget-Friendly Ryzen Dedicated Servers
While AMD EPYC processors offer phenomenal performance at the high-end for servers with up to 64 cores / 128 threads per socket, eight memory channels, and other features, not all server deployments call for such capabilities. In the lower-end dedicated web server rental space, budget web hosting, and similar personal / small office server space, AMD Ryzen processors can prove more than capable. Already some dedicated server providers are offering AMD Ryzen powered servers and more are expected to come soon -- especially with even more server-minded wares for Ryzen expected next generation. In looking at this space, we have been testing a number of AMD Ryzen processors recently compared to Intel Xeon E class competition for looking at the performance and value in the low-end dedicated server space.

For Linux Enthusiasts Especially, The Steam Deck Is An Incredible & Fun Device
Over the past nearly 18 years of running Phoronix, I have come across many interesting Linux-based products from Linux embedded in motherboards for instant-on use to the BlackDog USB port pen drive Linux servers to solar-powered super-computers in trash cans. The most fun and promising Linux-powered gaming device for the masses though is launching today: Valve's Steam Deck. I've been fortunate to be testing out this Arch Linux derived handheld game console the past month and it has been working out very well -- both as a portable Steam gaming device but making it even more compelling from the Linux enthusiast angle is its "developer mode" that effectively turns it into a general Linux handheld and also being free to load your own Linux distribution of choice.

Further Investigating The Raspberry Pi 32-bit vs. 64-bit Performance
Finally released earlier this month was the first official 64-bit build of Raspberry Pi OS, the official Debian-based operating system of the low-cost Raspberry Pi single board computers. Following that I posted some Raspberry Pi 32-bit vs. 64-bit benchmarks. Given that generated a fair amount of interest and also some open questions, here is round two of looking at the Raspberry Pi 32-bit vs. 64-bit performance including its impact on memory usage and thermals.

NVIDIA Linux Gaming Performance For Wayland vs. X.Org On Ubuntu 22.04
With NVIDIA's newly-introduced 510 Linux driver series paired with the latest XWayland and a modern Wayland compositor like the newest GNOME/Mutter packages, the NVIDIA (X)Wayland experience is in great shape and delivering comparable performance to a traditional X.Org session. The NVIDIA Wayland support with GBM usage has stabilized and appears to be in good shape for the upcoming Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release. Here are some benchmarks of the NVIDIA 510 driver on the current state of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

Linux Now Faster Than Windows 11 For Intel Core i9 12900K With Latest Kernel
Back in November when Intel's 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake" processors first launched I ran benchmarks across operating systems and found Windows 11 delivering better performance than Linux with the Core i9 12900K flagship processor. Fortunately, thanks to kernel improvements since Linux 5.16, that is largely no longer the case. Here is a fresh look at the i9-12900K performance under Ubuntu 22.04 daily with Linux 5.16 and 5.17-rc3 kernels tested as well and Clear Linux for Intel's very own reference Linux platform.

Windows vs. Linux Benchmarks For AMD Ryzen Server Performance
As a follow-up to last week's article looking at how AMD is making an interesting case for budget-friendly Ryzen dedicated servers and not only in Europe but throughout the world more hosting providers are offering cost-conscious AMD Ryzen powered dedicated server options, here is a look at how various Linux distributions run on an ASRock Rack based AMD Ryzen server up against Microsoft Windows.

Apple M1 Performance On Linux: Benchmarks Better Than Expected For Its Alpha State
Last Friday the crew at Asahi Linux led by Hector Martin released the first alpha release for running Linux on Apple Silicon hardware. I eagerly loaded up Asahi Linux on an M1-powered Apple Mac Mini knowing the various early limitations of the Linux kernel support that is still settling. Overall the Apple M1 Linux performance ended up exceeding my expectations for the performance in its early alpha state. Here are some benchmarks.

The Performance Impact Of AMD Changing Their Retpoline Method For Spectre V2
Made public this week was the Spectre-BHB / BHI vulnerability and while only Intel and Arm processors are currently believed to be impacted, in the course of that research the folks at VUSec discovered AMD's current Retpoline strategy for Spectre V2 mitigations is not adequate. This has led to a change in behavior for AMD processors and is already applied to the Linux kernel. Here is a look at what it means for desktop and server performance due to the change in return trampoline handling.

AMD EPYC 7773X "Milan-X" Benchmarks Show Very Strong HPC Performance Upgrade
While Milan-X was announced back in November, today is the day of the Milan-X embargo lift for reviewing these new processors and sharing more about these high-end server processors focused on delivering even greater performance for high performance computing (HPC) workloads. In this review is a look at the performance of the AMD EPYC 7773X series against other AMD EPYC parts and the Intel Xeon Scalable competition under Linux.

And the most popular original news articles on Phoronix for the quarter out of the 700+ published:

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.

Linux's getrandom() Sees A 8450% Improvement With Latest Code
The Linux kernel's random number generator code has been seeing a number of improvements recently led by Jason Donenfeld of WireGuard fame.

Less Than 10% Of Firefox Users On Linux Are Running Wayland
Thanks to Mozilla's Telemetry capabilities, there is some interesting insight to how many Linux desktop users are still relying on an X.Org (X11) Server without Wayland.

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.

Linux Developers Discuss Deprecating & Removing ReiserFS
Besides no discussion in years over possibly upstreaming Reiser4 nor have any been brought up about eventually trying to mainline Reiser5, it looks like the original and feature-rich for its original time ReiserFS file-system could be on its way out of the Linux kernel in 2022.

Steam Deck Platform Driver Posted For The Linux Kernel
A Linux kernel driver was posted today for platform control support for Valve's upcoming Steam Deck.

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.

ReactOS "Open-Source Windows" Making Progress On SMP/Multi-Core Support
ReactOS as the open-source project striving for binary compatibility with Windows applications/drivers is still working away in 2022 on symmetric multi-processing (SMP) support.

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.

Numerous Linux/X11 Display Drivers Can No Longer Even Properly Build
While many Linux enthusiasts like to cite Linux's stellar support for older hardware platforms, in reality that isn't always the case. For instance with many old X.Org user-space mode-setting drivers for powering old graphics cards at least for display purposes, they can no longer even build with with modern toolchains / software components. Given the lack of bug reports around such issues, there are very likely few users trying some of these vintage hardware combinations.

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.

AMD Linux Kernel Graphics Driver Closing In On 4 Million Lines
For quite a while now the modern AMD Linux kernel graphics driver (AMDGPU/AMDKFD code) has been the single largest driver within the mainline Linux kernel code-base. It's been far larger than the other upstream kernel drivers given the complexities of modern GPUs and is only becoming even larger.

Google Has A Problem With Linux Server Reboots Too Slow Due To Too Many NVMe Drives
Hyperscaler problems these days? Linux servers taking too long to reboot due to having too many NVMe drives. Thankfully Google is working on an improvement to address this where some of their many-drive servers can take more than one minute for the Linux kernel to carry out its shutdown tasks while this work may benefit other users too albeit less notably.

Microsoft Has Another Go At Their DirectX Linux Kernel Driver
Microsoft on Tuesday posted a third iteration of their "DXGKRNL" Linux kernel driver for DirectX / Hyper-V compute support for use within Windows Subsystem for Linux / Windows Subsystem for Android.

Future Intel Systems To Reportedly Be Even Less Friendly For Open-Source Firmware
According to the Coreboot camp, future Intel systems with FSP 3.0 and Universal Scalable Firmware (USF) will be even less friendly for open-source system firmware.

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.

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.

Linux 5.18 Plans To Switch From C89 To C11/GNU11 C Version
When Linus Torvalds gets motivated and behind kernel changes, they tend to happen more quickly, with the latest example being the switching from the C89 language standard to C11 (GNU11). That change is now expected early on for the Linux 5.18 merge window.

The Worst Razer Mouse I've Tested In The Past 17 Years
Going back to the original Razer Copperhead mouse in 2005, I've tested many different Razer mice over the years and have exclusively used Razer mice on my main production system for basically as long. This week the scrollwheel physically broke on a Razer DeathAdder mouse I've used the past few years so quickly ordered a replacement, which sadly turned out to be the worst Razer mouse I've personally ever used, and replaced it a day later.

See you in Q2.
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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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