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Graphics/Benchmarks

Kernel: Rants, PulseAudio 12, Valve-Related Bug and Mesa 19.1.1 RC

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • 'Bulls%^t! Complete bull$h*t!' Reset the clock on the last time woke Linus Torvalds exploded at a Linux kernel dev

    Linux kernel chieftain Linus Torvalds owes the swear jar a few quid this week, although by his standards this most recent rant of his is relatively restrained.

    Over on the kernel development mailing list, in a long and involved thread about the functionality and efficiency of operating system page caches, firebrand-turned-woke Torvalds described Aussie programmer Dave Chinner’s arguments in the debate as "bullshit," "complete bullshit," and "obviously garbage."

    To be fair to the open-source overlord, this is a far less personal attack than previous outbursts, such as the time he slammed "some security people" as "just f#cking morons," or that unforgettable straight-to-the-point detonation: "Mauro, SHUT THE F**K UP."

  • It Looks Like PulseAudio 13.0 Will Be Releasing Soon

    It's been a year since the release of PulseAudio 12 and even eleven months since the last point release but it looks like the next PulseAudio release will be out very soon.

    The next PulseAudio release has been under discussion with the sorting out of when the release will take place and any blocker bugs. As it stands now, there is just one blocker bug remaining and that is addressing a regression.

  • A One Line Kernel Patch Appears To Solve The Recent Linux + Steam Networking Regression

    As a follow-up to the issue reported on Friday regarding the latest Linux kernel releases causing problems for Valve's Steam client, a fix appears pending that with changing around one line of code does appear to address the regression.

    Linus Torvalds got involved and pointed out a brand new kernel patch that may solve the issue. That patch was quickly reaffirmed by Linux gamers as well as prominent Valve Linux developer Pierre-Loup A. Griffais.

  • Mesa 19.1.1 release candidate
    Hello list,
    
    The candidate for the Mesa 19.1.1 is now available. Currently we have:
     - 27 queued
     - 0 nominated (outstanding)
     - and 0 rejected patch
    
    
    The current queue consists mostly in fixes for different drivers (RADV, ANV,
    Nouveau, Virgl, V3D, R300g, ...)
    
    The queue also contains different fixes for different parts (Meson build, GLX,
    etc).
    
    Take a look at section "Mesa stable queue" for more information
    
    
    Testing reports/general approval
    --------------------------------
    Any testing reports (or general approval of the state of the branch) will be
    greatly appreciated.
    
    The plan is to have 19.1.1 this Tuesday (25th June), around or shortly after
    10:00 GMT.
    
    If you have any questions or suggestions - be that about the current patch queue
    or otherwise, please go ahead.
    
    
    Trivial merge conflicts
    -----------------------
    commit 25a34df61439b25645d03510d6354cb1f5e8a185
    Author: Kenneth Graunke 
    
        iris: Fix iris_flush_and_dirty_history to actually dirty history.
    
        (cherry picked from commit 64fb20ed326fa0e524582225faaa4bb28f6e4349)
    
    
    Cheers,
        J.A.
    
  • Mesa 19.1.1 Is Coming Next Week With A Variety Of Fixes

    Debuting two weeks ago was the Mesa 19.1 quarterly feature update while due out early next week is the first bug-fix point release.

    Mesa 19.1 is a huge update over 19.0 and earlier. Mesa 19.1 brought multiple new Gallium3D drivers as well as a new Vulkan driver (TURNIP), performance optimizations, new Vulkan extensions, mature Icelake support, and a variety of other features as listed in the aforelinked article.

AMD Navi and Linux

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
Hardware
  • More AMD Navi GPUs show up in a Linux driver

    A since-deleted commit for a Linux driver update hints at 4 new AMD Navi GPUs.

  • Libdrm Picks Up Support For AMD Navi

    As another one of the prerequisites for landing the AMD Radeon RX 5000 series "Navi" support in Mesa, the libdrm bits have just been merged.

    Libdrm is the Mesa DRM library that is needed for sitting between the Linux kernel Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) interfaces and the user-space components (depending upon the driver, as is required by like RadeonSI). Libdrm also ends up being used by the DDX drivers like xf86-video-amdgpu and other components as well depending upon the driver. As of a short time ago, the Navi bits landed in libdrm Git.

    The Navi support here isn't all that exciting and mostly boilerplate code for a new generation for a new family ID, a new member for a tile steering override for GFX10, GDDR6 as a new video memory type, and the largest addition is simply the new tests for VCN 2.0 video decode support.

The Latest Linux 5.2 + Mesa 19.2 Radeon Performance Against NVIDIA With Mid-Range GPUs

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Graphics/Benchmarks

With the Linux 5.2 kernel a few weeks out from its stable release and now being in the middle of the Mesa 19.2 development cycle for the RADV Vulkan and RadeonSI OpenGL drivers, here are some fresh results looking at the latest open-source AMD Radeon Linux graphics driver stack compared to the latest NVIDIA proprietary graphics driver. In this article the focus is on the mid-range (Polaris) line-up against the NVIDIA competition while similar tests on the high-end are currently being carried out.

These mid-range Linux GPU gaming benchmarks are intended to provide some fresh figures with the current open-source RadeonSI/RADV performance compared to NVIDIA. Beyond the upcoming high-end tests, next month of course is the Radeon RX 5700 series launch where we'll be providing launch-day Linux benchmarks. The mid-range cards tested for today's comparison included the Radeon RX 560, RX 570, RX 580, and RX 590. On the NVIDIA side was the GeForce GTX 1060, GTX 1650, GTX 1660, and GTX 1660 Ti.

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Wayfire Brings Compiz Bling Back to the Linux Desktop

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Graphics/Benchmarks

Miss those crazy Compiz effects of old? If you’re a Linux user of a certain vintage you likely do — but hey: nothing is gone forever in open-source!

Wayfire is a promising open-source project attempting to resurrect some of the Compiz-era coolness and bring to the modern Linux desktop via Wayland.

We’re talking wobbly windows, over the top window animations, and, of course, a revival of the famous 3D cube — but all implemented in a way that doesn’t demand oodles of system power.

In fact, Wayfire aims to be lightweight in performance but a heavyweight in eye candy — which is pretty sweet!

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Also: Cool Sites That Discuss About Linux, Ubuntu, and Foss!

Graphics: GAPID, HDR and AMD

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Google's Graphics API Debugger 1.6 Adds Stadia Support

    Google's GAPID, also known as the Graphics API Debugger, continues serving as an interesting open-source and cross-platform Vulkan debugger. On Thursday version 1.6 of GAPID was released.

    The GAPID 1.6 release adds Stadia support so developers working on porting their games to run on Google's cloud gaming service can use GAPID for debugging any Vulkan problems.

  • Intel Graphics Driver Ready For HDR Support In Linux 5.3, Other Last-Minute Features

    While there still is a few weeks until the Linux 5.2 kernel will debut and thus the opening of the Linux 5.3 merge window, due to DRM-Next halting new feature code from merging prior to that point, in preparation Intel open-source developers sent in their final batch of feature work aiming for Linux 5.3.

    Intel developers already had sent in multiple feature updates for 5.3 while Wednesday was their last scheduled update.

  • RadeonSI Gets Some Tidying Ahead Of Navi/GFX10 Support (Radeon RX 5700 Series)

    Well known open-source AMD developer Marek Olšák sent out a set of eight RadeonSI Gallium3D patches this morning that appear mostly mundane and namely come down to some minor code alterations. This work though is in stepping towards the actual Navi/GFX10 support we expect to be dropped incredibly soon.

    The eight patches alone aren't anything to get excited about just prep work. At least the eighth patch for renaming/re-documenting cache flush flags does make mention of changes with the GFX10 hardware.

Optane SSD RAID Performance With ZFS On Linux, EXT4, XFS, Btrfs, F2FS

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Graphics/Benchmarks

This round of benchmarking fun consisted of packing two Intel Optane 900p high-performance NVMe solid-state drives into a system for a fresh round of RAID Linux benchmarking atop the in-development Linux 5.2 kernel plus providing a fresh look at the ZFS On Linux 0.8.1 performance.

Two Intel Optane 900p 280GB SSDPED1D280GA PCIe SSDs were the focus of this round of Linux file-system benchmarking. EXT4, XFS, Btrfs, and F2FS were tested both on a single Optane SSD and then in RAID0 and RAID1 with two of these high performance drives. Additionally, ZFS On Linux 0.8.1 was tested on this system both with a single drive and in RAIDZ. For putting the Optane SSD performance in reference, there is also a standalone result provided of a Samsung 970 EVO 500GB NVMe SSD with EXT4. In case you missed out earlier Optane 900P benchmarks on Linux from 2017, see them here for this still very competitive SSD. While there are now the 905P SSDs, the 900P models remain available and cheaper hence why going for those when picking up two of them for this round of Linux RAID testing. All of the file-systems were tested using the Linux 5.2 Git kernel and running with their stock/default mount options. The EXT4/XFS/F2FS RAID was tested using Linux MD RAID while the Btrfs and ZFS RAID were using their file-system's native RAID capabilities.

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Benchmarks Of OpenMandriva's AMD Zen Optimized Linux Distribution Against Ubuntu, openSUSE, Clear Linux

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Graphics/Benchmarks

Released this week was OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 as the latest major release for this Linux distribution of Mandriva/Mandrake heritage and continues on the interesting trend of innovations. In addition to continuing to use the LLVM Clang compiler by default rather than GCC, among other changes that position it more uniquely than many other Linux distributions out there, their 4.0 release has a "znver1" spin that is optimized for AMD Ryzen/Threadripper/EPYC processors. Here are benchmarks comparing not only OpenMandriva 4.0's x86-64 and Znver1 options but also how that performance compares to the likes of Ubuntu 19.04, openSUSE Tumbleweed, and Intel's Clear Linux.

OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 is the first distribution in recent times that is catering towards AMD platform optimizations. The primary difference is all of OpenMandriva's packages have been re-built when enabling the "znver1" compiler optimizations to cater towards the AMD Zen microarchitecture along with other tweaks they hope lead to better AMD performance. But this approach isn't nearly as much as what's employed by Clear Linux as part of Intel's open-source group where they relentlessly optimize all levels of the stack in trying to seek maximum performance out of modern x86-64 hardware, primarily their own microarchitectures. Obviously OpenMandriva doesn't have as many resources as Clear Linux but still an interesting foray for this Linux distribution with AMD currently not backing their own Linux distribution.

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Graphics: AMDVLK Still Hasn't Yet Adopted FreeSync Support, a Look at Hair Renderer In Vulkan

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • AMDVLK Still Hasn't Yet Adopted FreeSync Support

    While the AMDGPU kernel driver has shipped with the long-awaited FreeSync support since the Linux 5.0 release earlier this year and was quickly wired up for the RadeonSI Gallium3D OpenGL driver in Mesa 19.0 while the recent Mesa 19.1 update brought FreeSync for the RADV Vulkan driver, AMDVLK as AMD's official open-source Vulkan driver isn't yet supporting this variable rate refresh technology.

    It's a bit ironic that the AMDVLK Vulkan driver still hasn't done its bit of hooking into the AMDGPU FreeSync support even though the code-base is partially shared with their Windows driver and the unofficial Mesa-based "RADV" Vulkan driver is already shipping with this feature in place. When looking through the latest AMDVLK code, the FreeSync functionality remains absent.

  • VKHR - An AMD-Backed Open-Source Hair Renderer In Vulkan

    VKHR is an open-source, real-time hybrid hair renderer written in Vulkan and developed under the support of AMD/RTG.

    AMD previously worked on some great hair rendering tech with TressFX but now it's being taken to a whole new level with VKHR. VKHR is being led by Erik Jansson of AMD as a real-time hybrid hair renderer "written 100% from scratch in Vulkan" and using C++17 code. VKHR has a built-in ray-tracer based on Intel's Embree technology. And there's even a built-in benchmark for comparing the project's hair rendering performance.

Graphics: Khronos Group, Radeon Software and Wayland Pains

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Samuel Iglesias: My last VK-GL-CTS contributions

    Even if you are not a gamer, odds are that you already heard about Vulkan graphics and compute API that provides high-efficency, cross-platform access to modern GPUs. This API is designed by the Khronos Group and it is supported by a new set of drivers specifically designed to implement the different functions and features defined by the spec (at the time of writing this post, it is version 1.1).

  • Radeon Software for Linux 19.20 Brings RHEL 8.0 Support

    Quietly released last week was Radeon Software for Linux 19.20, the latest quarterly update to AMD's packaged Linux driver that consists of their AMDGPU-PRO binary driver option as well as the AMDGPU-Open packaged components using a snapshot of Mesa.

    Radeon Software for Linux 19.20 only has a sole change listed: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 support and any other binary compatible downstream like the yet-to-be-released CentOS 8.0. That's it in terms of the official changes but should be also pulling in a newer snapshot of Mesa and their binary OpenGL/Vulkan drivers, newer DRM kernel driver code, etc.

  • Konsole and Wayland

    Wayland needs a different mindset when you are programming, you cannot just assume things works the same way as in as X11. One of my first patches to konsole was the rewrite of the Tab Bar, and a different way to deal with Drag & Drop of the tabs. In my mind - and how wrong I was - I could assume that I was dragging to a konsole main window by querying the widget below the mouse. Nope, this will not work. As Wayland has security by default, it will not give you anything global. What if I was a spy app trying to record another one to send to NSA? Security in Wayland is much stricter, and because of that I had to redo my drag & drop patch.

Developers Devising Plan To Ship Newer NVIDIA Drivers On Ubuntu Stable Releases

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
Ubuntu

Currently NVIDIA's packaged drivers on Ubuntu can get a bit stale on Ubuntu stable releases since they aren't updated in-step with the latest driver releases. But a new stable release update (SRU) policy/exception similar to the Firefox approach is being made for Ubuntu so that new releases will end up working their way into currently supported Ubuntu series.

The Canonical developers working on Ubuntu are really ramping up their support for NVIDIA's proprietary driver. On top of Ubuntu 19.10 to bundle the NVIDIA binary driver into the operating system's ISO image, they are working out the SRU details for shipping newer NVIDIA driver releases on existing Ubuntu stable releases.

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Linux Package Managers Compared – AppImage vs Snap vs Flatpak

Package managers provide a way of packaging, distributing, installing, and maintaining apps in an operating system. With modern desktop, server and IoT applications of the Linux operating system and the hundreds of different distros that exist, it becomes necessary to move away from platform specific packaging methods to platform agnostic ones. This post explores 3 such tools, namely AppImage, Snap and Flatpak, that each aim to be the future of software deployment and management in Linux. At the end we summarize a few key findings. Read more