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Linux Hardware Reviews & News
Updated: 2 hours 49 min ago

Intel's Assembler Changes For JCC Erratum Are Not Hurting AMD

Thursday 14th of November 2019 09:23:13 AM
When writing about the Intel Jump Conditional Code (JCC) Erratum and how Intel is working to mitigate the performance hit of the CPU microcode update with patches to the GNU Assembler, there was some concern expressed by readers that it might hurt AMD performance. That does not appear to be the case...

NVIDIA 435.27.06 Vulkan Linux Driver Has Useful Display Improvements

Thursday 14th of November 2019 05:54:18 AM
Released on Wednesday was the NVIDIA 435.27.06 Linux driver as their newest beta build focused on offering better Vulkan driver support...

Mesa 19.2.4 Released As Emergency Update After 19.2.3 Broke All OpenGL Drivers

Thursday 14th of November 2019 05:04:55 AM
Mesa 19.2.4 was released on Wednesday as an "emergency release" after a bug was discovered that made last week's Mesa 19.2.3 version buggy for all OpenGL drivers...

CodeWeavers Is Hiring Another Graphics Developer To Help With Wine D3D / Steam Play

Wednesday 13th of November 2019 08:35:52 PM
CodeWeavers is looking to hire another developer to work on Wine's graphics stack and in particular the WineD3D code while having an emphasis that it's part of Valve's Steam Play (Proton) efforts...

The Firefox + Chrome Web Browser Performance Impact From Intel's JCC Erratum Microcode Update

Wednesday 13th of November 2019 08:19:19 PM
With yesterday's overview and benchmarks of Intel's Jump Conditional Code Erratum one of the areas where the performance impact of the updated CPU microcode exceeding Intel's 0~4% guidance was on the web browser performance. Now with more time having passed, here are more web browser benchmarks on both Chrome and Firefox while comparing the new CPU microcode release for the JCC Erratum compared to the previous release. Simply moving to this new CPU microcode does represent a significant hit to the web browser performance.

LibreOffice 6.4 Branched - Beta Release Underway With QR Code Generator, Threading Improvements

Wednesday 13th of November 2019 06:57:49 PM
As of this morning LibreOffice 6.4 was branched from master and the beta release tagged with those LO 6.4 Beta binaries expected out shortly...

Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 19.Q4 for Linux Released

Wednesday 13th of November 2019 04:50:52 PM
AMD on Tuesday released their Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 19.Q4 for Linux package as their newest quarterly driver release intended for their professional graphics card offerings...

Khronos Next Pursuing An Analytic Rendering API

Wednesday 13th of November 2019 03:34:41 PM
The Khronos Group has been expanding into a lot of new areas in recent times from OpenXR to 3D Commerce to NNEF and now forming an exploratory group for creating an analytic rendering API...

Phoronix Test Suite 9.2 Milestone 2 Released

Wednesday 13th of November 2019 01:12:25 PM
The second development release of Phoronix Test Suite 9.2-Hurdal is now available for open-source, cross-platform and fully-automated benchmarking...

The Linux Kernel Disabling HPET For Intel Coffee Lake

Wednesday 13th of November 2019 12:46:10 PM
Another Intel change being sent off for Linux 5.4 and to be back-ported to current stable series is disabling of HPET for Coffee Lake systems...

AMD GCN OpenMP/OpenACC Offloading Patches For The GCC 10 Compiler

Wednesday 13th of November 2019 08:48:58 AM
Over the past year Code Sourcery / Mentor Graphics has been working extensively on the new AMD Radeon "GCN" back-end for the GCC code compiler. With the code that is found in GCC 9 and up to now in GCC 10 hasn't supported OpenMP/OpenACC parallel programming interfaces but that could soon change with patches under review...

GNU Assembler Patches Sent Out For Optimizing The Intel Jump Conditional Code Erratum

Wednesday 13th of November 2019 07:40:00 AM
Now that Intel lifted its embargo on the "Jump Conditional Code" erratum affecting Skylake through Cascade Lake processors, while Intel's own Clear Linux was first to carry these patches they have now been sent out on the Binutils mailing list for trying to get the JCC optimization patches into the upstream Binutils/GAS code-base...

VirtualBox SF Driver Ejected From The Linux 5.4 Kernel

Wednesday 13th of November 2019 05:06:36 AM
Merged to the mainline Linux kernel last week was a driver providing VirtualBox guest shared folder support with the driver up to now being out-of-tree but important for sharing files between the host and guest VM(s). While the driver was part of Linux 5.4-rc7, Linus Torvalds decided to delete this driver on Tuesday...

The Gaming Performance Impact From The Intel JCC Erratum Microcode Update

Wednesday 13th of November 2019 12:30:00 AM
This morning I provided a lengthy look at the performance impact of Intel's JCC Erratum around the CPU microcode update issued for Skylake through Cascade Lake for mitigating potentially unpredictable behavior when jump instructions cross cache lines. Of the many benchmarks shared this morning in that overview, there wasn't time for any gaming tests prior to publishing. Now with more time passed, here is an initial look at how the Linux gaming performance is impacted by the newly-released Intel CPU microcode for this Jump Conditional Code issue.

Intel's Linux Graphics Driver Updated For Denial Of Service + Privilege Escalation Bugs

Tuesday 12th of November 2019 10:34:56 PM
Of the 77 security advisories Intel is making public and the three big ones of the performance-sensitive JCC Erratum, the new ZombieLoad TAA (TSX Asynchronous Abort), and iTLB Multihit No eXcuses, there are also two fixes to their kernel graphics driver around security issues separate from the CPU woes...

Linux Kernel Gets Mitigations For TSX Async Abort Plus Another New Issue: iITLB Multihit

Tuesday 12th of November 2019 07:35:31 PM
The Linux kernel has just received its mitigation work for the newly-announced TSX Asynchronous Abort (TAA) variant of ZombieLoad plus revealing mitigations for another Intel CPU issue... So today in addition to the JCC Erratum and ZombieLoad TAA the latest is iITLB Multihit (NX) - No eXcuses...

New ZombieLoad Side-Channel Attack Variant: TSX Asynchronous Abort

Tuesday 12th of November 2019 07:05:08 PM
In addition to the JCC erratum being made public today and that performance-shifting Intel microcode update affecting Skylake through Cascade Lake, researchers also announced a new ZombieLoad side-channel attack variant dubbed "TSX Asynchronous Abort" or TAA for short...

Benchmarks Of JCC Erratum: A New Intel CPU Bug With Performance Implications On Skylake Through Cascade Lake

Tuesday 12th of November 2019 06:00:00 PM
Intel is today making public the Jump Conditional Code (JCC) erratum. This is a bug involving the CPU's Decoded ICache where on Skylake and derived CPUs where unpredictable behavior could happen when jump instructions cross cache lines. Unfortunately addressing this error in software comes with a performance penalty but ultimately Intel engineers are working to offset that through a toolchain update. Here are the exclusive benchmarks out today of the JCC erratum performance impact as well as when trying to recover that performance through the updated GNU Assembler.

Mozilla + Intel + Red Hat Form The Bytecode Alliance To Run WebAssembly Everywhere

Tuesday 12th of November 2019 05:00:38 PM
Mozilla, Fastly, Intel, and Red Hat have announced the Bytecode Alliance as a new initiative built around WebAssembly and focused on providing a secure-by-default bytecode that can run from web browsers to desktops to IoT/embedded platforms...

LinuxBoot Continues Maturing - Now Able To Boot Windows

Tuesday 12th of November 2019 02:05:40 PM
LinuxBoot is approaching two years of age as the effort led by Facebook and others for replacing some elements of the system firmware with the Linux kernel...

More in Tux Machines

Pinebook Pro Review: A $200 laptop that’s only for cool people.

There’s a $200 laptop out in the wild now that has been getting a lot of buzz in the Fediverse. It’s called the Pinebook Pro and it ships with a customized version of Debian Stretch with the Mate desktop. If you don’t know what that means, it’s Linux. This is a Linux laptop. But that’s not all… it also has a few other tricks up its sleeve, like a bootable MicroSD card slot so you can easily run other operating systems off a cheap memory card whenever you feel like it. Now, this is being sold at cost mainly as a gift to the Free (as in Freedom) Open Source Software (FOSS) community so it’s not really meant for normal people. If you just want to open web pages like Facebook or Google Docs, you’re probably better off with a Chromebook or Macbook. If you believe in freedom and like to seriously learn about technology, keep reading… The Pinebook Pro is serious fun! Read more

Kernel: LWN's Latest Free Articles and Linux Support for "Data Streaming Accelerator" (DSA)

  • The 2019 Automated Testing Summit

    As with the first ATS, this edition was organized by Tim Bird and Kevin Hilman. Bird welcomed everyone to the conference then turned things over to Hilman for something of an overview of the "kernel testing landscape". Hilman started by noting that there were some gatherings and discussions at the Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC) in September, which he described in an email to the automated-testing mailing list. There were some themes that came out of those discussions, he said, which led to the title of his talk (slides [PDF]): "The bugs are too fast (and why we can't catch them)". He gave a brief summary of the new kernel unit-testing frameworks that were discussed at LPC in order to bring attendees up to date on what kernel developers have been up to. The existing kernel test efforts, including kselftest, Linux Test Project (LTP), syzbot, and others, are likely pretty familiar to attendees, he said. The KUnit framework (LWN article from March) has been merged into linux-next; it is a fast way to test kernel functionality in an architecture-independent way and can be run in user space with user-mode Linux (UML). The Kernel Test Framework (KTF) is another unit-test framework that has been posted for comments. Since KUnit is headed for the mainline, though, the KTF project will need to figure out how to add its functionality to KUnit, Hilman said, since there won't be multiple unit-test frameworks in the mainline. He then turned to the various testing initiatives that are currently active. The Intel 0-Day test service is probably the longest running; it is "mostly Intel focused". The Linaro Linux kernel functional testing (LKFT) has "quite a bit of in-depth testing but on a narrower set of hardware". The Red Hat continuous kernel integration (CKI) project has been around for a while, but has only recently been seen more publicly, he said; it is focused on testing stable kernels. And, of course, there is KernelCI that he cofounded; it was officially announced as a Linux Foundation project earlier in the week.

  • Emulated iopl()

    Operating systems and computing hardware both carry a lot of their history with them. The x86 I/O-port mechanism is one piece of that history; it is rarely used by hardware designed in the last 20 years, but it must still be supported. That doesn't mean that this support can't be cleaned up and improved, though, especially when the old implementation turns out to have some unpleasant properties. An example can be seen in the iopl() patch set from Thomas Gleixner. On most architectures, I/O is handled through memory-mapped I/O (MMIO) regions. A peripheral device will make a set of registers available as a range of memory; that range is then mapped into the processor's address space. Device drivers can then interact with the device by reading from and writing to those registers using normal memory accesses (or something close to that). This mechanism is flexible and it allows, for example, a set of registers to be mapped into a user-space process if the need arises; user-space drivers generally depend on this capability. Back in the early days of the x86 architecture, though, things were done a little differently. A separate address space was created for up to 65536 I/O ports, which have to be accessed via special instructions. Even devices that could map memory ranges for other purposes would use I/O ports for their control interfaces. The instructions for accessing I/O ports are necessarily privileged, so user-space code cannot normally use them.

  • Statistics from the 5.4 development cycle

    As of this writing, just over 14,000 non-merge changesets have found their way into the mainline repository for the 5.4 release; that is a bit less than we saw for 5.3, but more than most of the other recent kernels. The final 5.4 release is approaching, so it must be time for our usual look at where the code merged in this development cycle came from. It's mostly business as usual in the kernel community, modulo an appearance from none other than Hulk Robot. Those 14,000 changesets were contributed by 1,802 developers, which is just short of the 1,846 who contributed to 5.3; there is still time, though, for 5.4 to set a new record for the number of contributors — a surprising number of developers wait until the end of the release cycle to fix something. Of the developers seen so far, 266 made their first contribution to the kernel in this cycle. The combined work from these developers increased the size of the kernel by 393,000 lines.

  • Analyzing kernel email

    Digging into the email that provides the cornerstone of Linux kernel development is an endeavor that has become more popular over the last few years. There are some practical reasons for analyzing the kernel mailing lists and for correlating that information with the patches that actually reach the mainline, including tracking the path that patches take—or don't take. Three researchers reported on some efforts they have made on kernel email analysis at the 2019 Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE), held in late October in Lyon, France. The presentation (slides [PDF]) actually listed four speakers, though one could not make it to ELCE. The three present were Ralf Ramsauer, from the Technical University of Applied Sciences Regensburg, Sebastian Duda, of Friedrich–Alexander University Erlangen–Nürnberg, and Wolfgang Mauerer, of Siemens AG in Munich. Lukas Bulwahn, who is a hobbyist active in the Linux Foundation ELISA Project and employed at BMW AG, was unable to attend. In the introduction, Mauerer jokingly suggested that the goal of the research was to understand more "than the NSA already knows" about the behavior of kernel developers. Really, though, the presentation was meant partly as a request for comments; the researchers have been observing the kernel community for some time and have been pulling out pieces they find interesting, but they would be happy to hear other ideas on the kinds of analysis that would be useful to the community.

  • Intel Details New Data Streaming Accelerator For Future CPUs - Linux Support Started

    The "Data Streaming Accelerator" (DSA) is a new block on future Intel CPUs that hasn't been talked about much publicly... Until now. Intel's open-source crew has begun detailing DSA for future Intel CPUs that will offer high-performance data movement and transformation operations. The Linux driver enablement has begun.

Red Hat: Application Migration, Departure, OpenShift Commons Gathering and More

  • Application Migration with Container-native virtualization

    More and more frequently, modern applications are choosing a container-first development and deployment paradigm built on the foundation of Kubernetes. However, not all applications are fully modernized and containerized micro services. Many applications are a hybrid of architectures and technology which have existed for years, even decades. This can add complexity, both to the application architecture and management overhead, when a container-based, cloud-native application component needs to access existing functionality which is virtual machine based. Container-native virtualization provides flexibility during the modernization process so that you can focus on the most critical aspects first, while still being able to access, manage, and consume VM-based aspects using the new Kubernetes-centric tools. Based on the KubeVirt project, recently accepted by the CNCF, Container-native virtualization manages both virtual machines and containers through a single control plane saving time, resources, and budget. Red Hat Container-native virtualization delivers KubeVirt functionality directly to OpenShift customers and helps to manage both virtual machines and OpenShift deployments from a single platform. This single platform simplifies the management of virtual machines and containers with a common Kubernetes interface that standardizes orchestration, networking, and storage management while also supporting the long term move to containers.

  • Alberto Ruiz: Hanging the Red Hat

    After 6+ wonderful years at Red Hat, I’ve decided to hang the fedora to go and try new things. For a while I’ve been craving for a new challenge and I’ve felt the urge to try other things outside of the scope of Red Hat so with great hesitation I’ve finally made the jump. I am extremely proud of the work done by the teams I have had the honour to run as engineering manager, I met wonderful people, I’ve worked with extremely talented engineers and learned lots. I am particularly proud of the achievements of my latest team from increasing the bootloader team and improving our relationship with GRUB upstream, to our wins at teaching Lenovo how to do upstream hardware support to improvements in Thunderbolt, Miracast, Fedora/RHEL VirtualBox guest compatibility… the list goes on and credit goes mostly to my amazing team. Thanks to this job I have been able to reach out to other upstreams beyond GNOME, like Fedora, LibreOffice, the Linux Kernel, Rust, GRUB… it has been an amazing ride and I’ve met wonderful people in each one of them.

  • Recap: OpenShift Commons Gathering at Kubecon/NA San Diego [Videos Uploaded]

    The OpenShift Commons Gathering in San Diego brought together over 550+ Kubernetes and Cloud Native experts from all over the world to discuss container technologies, best practices for cloud native application developers and the open source software projects that underpin the OpenShift ecosystem.

  • IBM Kicks Up Kubernetes Compatibility With Open Source

Antoine Beaupré: a quick review of file watchers

File watchers. I always forget about those and never use then, but I constantly feel like I need them. So I made this list to stop searching everywhere for those things which are surprisingly hard to find in a search engine. Read more