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Graphics/Benchmarks

Arcan 0.6 – ‘M’ – Start Networking

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Graphics/Benchmarks

This time around, the changes are big enough across the board that the sub-projects will get individual posts instead of being clumped together, and that will become a recurring theme as the progress cadence becomes less and less interlocked.

We also have a sister blog at www.divergent-desktop.org that will slowly cover higher level design philosophy, rants and reasoning behind some of what is being done here. A few observant ones have pieced together the puzzle — but most have not.

This release is a thematic shift from low level graphics plumbing to the network transparency related code. We will still make and accept patches, changes and features to the lower video layers, of course — ‘Moby Blit’ is still out there — but focus will be elsewhere. Hopefully this will be one of the last time these massive releases make sense, and we can tick on a (bi-)monthly basis for a while.

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Also: Arcan 0.6 Display Server Adds Network Transparency, XWayland Client Isolation - Phoronix

The Performance Impact To POWER9's Eager L1d Cache Flushing Fix

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Graphics/Benchmarks

Last week a new vulnerability was made public for IBM POWER9 processors resulting in a mitigation of the processor's L1 data cache needing to be flushed between privilege boundaries. Due to the possibility of local users being able to obtain data from the L1 cache improperly when this CVE is paired with other side channels, the Linux kernel for POWER9 hardware is flushing the L1d on entering the kernel and on user accesses. Here are some preliminary benchmarks looking at how this security change impacts the overall system performance.

All the latest Linux kernel stable series are now patched with the new POWER9 behavior for the L1 data cache flushing when crossing privilege boundaries. As outlined already, that L1d flushing behavior is the default but can be disabled with new "no_entry_flush" and "no_uaccess_flush" kernel options to maintain the prior behavior of not flushing.

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Tiger Lake + Renoir On Ubuntu Linux For Battery vs. AC Performance

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Graphics/Benchmarks

Given the recent Intel presentation alleging AMD Ryzen laptop performance being worse on battery relative to the AC vs. battery performance seen with Intel EVO notebooks featuring Tiger Lake processors, I ran a mini comparison on my side to see whether there is any merit to Intel's information when testing under Ubuntu Linux.

Here is just some initial data on my side when benchmarking AMD Ryzen "Renoir" versus Intel Core i7 "Tiger Lake" when running Ubuntu 20.10 and comparing the AC power versus battery performance.

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Valve Backs Zink Work

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Mike Blumenkrantz: Don’t Call It A Comeback

    I guess I never left, really, since I’ve been vicariously living the life of someone who still writes zink patches through reviewing and discussing some great community efforts that are ongoing.

    But now I’m back living that life of someone who writes zink patches.

    Valve has generously agreed to sponsor my work on graphics-related projects.

    For the time being, that work happens to be zink.

  • Valve Now Funding Blumenkrantz - Zink OpenGL-On-Vulkan To Continue

    Longtime open-source developer Mike Blumenkrantz who has been an Enlightenment developer for many years and was working for Samsung's Open-Source Group prior to its demise jumped into the open-source Linux graphics world this year. While being unemployed he began hacking on the Zink Gallium3D code that allows generic OpenGL acceleration over the Vulkan API. He quickly got the code to the point of OpenGL 4.6 support and quite compelling performance compared to where Zink was at earlier this year. Now it turns out he will continue with his Linux graphics adventures thanks to funding from Valve.

    Mike Blumenkrantz shared today that Valve is going to be sponsoring his graphics-related work moving forward. At least for now, that Linux graphics work is still on the matter of Zink.

Radeon RX 6800 Series Performance Comes Out Even Faster With Newest Linux Code

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Graphics/Benchmarks

Last week we delivered AMD Radeon RX 6800 / RX 6800 XT Linux benchmarks and the performance was great both for Linux gaming as well as the OpenCL compute performance. But for as good as those Big Navi numbers were on the open-source Linux graphics driver stack, they are now even better.

That launch-day testing was based on the Linux state in the second-half of October when the cards arrived and initial (re-)testing began in preparing for the Radeon RX 6800 series reviews -- not only the Radeon RX 6800 series but re-testing all of the other AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards for the comparison too. Thanks to the rate of the open-source graphics driver progression and the newest code always being available, now just days after launch the numbers are even more compelling for Linux gamers with the slightly newer Linux 5.10 and Mesa Git compared to just weeks ago.

In particular were the last minute NGG fixes and other Big Navi tweaks along with an important Radeon RX 6800 (non-XT) fix. There has also been other RADV improvements and more that accumulated in Mesa 21.0-devel this month. On the kernel side, Linux 5.10 is still at play. Both the old and newer Mesa snapshots were also on LLVM 11.0.

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Also: Intel: AMD Gimps On Battery-Powered Laptop Performance - But DPTF On Linux Still Sucks - Phoronix

Vulkan Ray Tracing

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • NVIDIA Releases Beta Driver With Khronos Vulkan Ray Tracing Support

    While NVIDIA has supported its own vendor-specific Vulkan ray-tracing extension on Windows and Linux since the GeForce RTX GPUs originally debuted, they are moving quick to support the Khronos ray-tracing extensions for Vulkan given the industry adoption and games coming to market likely opting for using the KHR version.

    This morning with Vulkan 1.2.162 the Vulkan KHR ray-tracing extensions were made official after being out in provisional form since earlier this year. NVIDIA has now released beta drivers for Windows and Linux that support these finalized versions.

  • Vulkan Ray Tracing becomes official with Vulkan 1.2.162 (updated) | GamingOnLinux

    The day has arrived, along with the release of Vulkan 1.2.162 being tagged in the Vulkan-Docs repository on GitHub the Vulkan Ray Tracing extensions are now officially released. From being announced as a provisional set in March 2020, The Khronos Group formally announced it's done.

    "Welcome to the era of portable, cross-vendor, cross-platform ray tracing acceleration!" - Daniel Koch, NVIDIA

  • Vulkan 1.2.162 Released With Ray-Tracing Support Promoted - Phoronix

    Earlier this year Vulkan ray-tracing arrived in provisional form while with today's Vulkan 1.2.162 specification update this functionality has been promoted to stable and ready for broad industry support.

    The Vulkan ray-tracing support is now deemed final and out of the provisional guard. This includes the finalized versions of VK_KHR_acceleration_structure, VK_KHR_ray_tracing_pipeline, VK_KHR_ray_query, VK_KHR_pipeline_library, and VK_KHR_deferred_host_operations.

AMDGPU Linux Driver Seeing A Lot Of Power Saving Optimization Work

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

In addition to squaring away the Radeon RX 6000 series RDNA 2 support and promoting the Arcturus support for the new GPU found within the AMD MI100 accelerator, this month AMD open-source Linux driver developers have been devoting a fair amount of work towards power optimizations.

With the many different DC display core patch series this month and other patches floating around, there has been seemingly a lot of work on optimizing the graphics power usage. And in particular a lot of work on the optimizations from the DCN3 (Display Core Next 3) perspective with Van Gogh in particular being a focus.

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Humble Store and Blender Fund

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Gaming
  • Humble Store is doing a big Fall Sale, save on loads until December 1 | GamingOnLinux

    Another chance to stock up for the weekend and the coming Winter, as Humble Store are running a big Fall Sale and as usual there's plenty discounted you might like.

  • Facebook are now funding the open source 3D creation suite Blender | GamingOnLinux

    In a move that's sure to raise a few eyebrows, the Blender Foundation has announced that Facebook has joined the Blender Development Fund.

    Facebook are joining as a Corporate Patron, meaning they will be supplying Blender with at least €120K/year or more. It's not a small sum but for the likes of Facebook, it's likely still money they found down the back of a sofa. Ton Roosendaal, Chairman of the Blender Foundation mentions, "We at Blender see this as another important signal of the industry’s willingness to migrate to open source, and contribute to open source’s continual improvement.".

  • Facebook joins the Blender Development Fund — blender.org

    To support these artists and the countless other animators, researchers, engineers, designers and content creators who depend on open source tools, Facebook wishes to contribute to the development of Blender. Which is why we’re proud to announce that Facebook will join the Blender Foundation’s Development Fund as a Corporate Patron as of Q4, 2020.

Kernel: Linux Security and Graphics

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • Why eBPF is the Future of Linux and Cloud Native Networking

    For decades, IPtables has been the cornerstone of Linux networking, but that's no longer the case. Over the last few years, extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF) has emerged as a better option for Linux whether it's running on-premises, or more likely than not, in the cloud.

    What eBPF provides is a low-level interface to enable data packet transmission and control. On its own it has tremendous potential for networking. While there is lots of open source eBPF code now in the Linux kernel, on its own, it can be quite complex, which is where the open source Cilium project has been making inroads in the last few years.

    I first wrote on Cilium in 2017, when the project first got started and the company behind it - Isovlanet - was still shrouded in stealth. Cilium and Isovalent are led by CEO and co-founder Dan Wendlandt, who helped to create the OpenStack Quantum networking project and was a pioneer in the Software Defined Networking (SDN) industry at VMware.

    Last week, Isovalent emerged from stealth, along with $29 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Wendlandt and Andreessen Horowitz are hardly strangers; after he left VMware in 2016 he went to work as a partner at the venture capital firm, alongside fellow SDN pioneer and VMware alum Martin Casado.

  • [Mesa-dev] Intent to retire ancient driver support
    Sending this on to the list for visibility, since not everyone follows
    everything on gitlab. In this merge request:
    
    https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/mesa/mesa/-/merge_requests/7660
    
    I retire support for DRI drivers older than Mesa 8.0, which was
    February 2012. In particular this retires the ability for libGL to
    even load DRI1 drivers, which last existed in Mesa 7.11. We are not
    aware of any currently supported distros trying to ship both DRI1
    drivers and anything newer. In fact the only distro I'm aware of that
    ever _tried_ was RHEL 6, which goes into extended-life support at the
    end of the month, and which is currently shipping Mesa 11.0.7 and is
    thus _way_ behind the times in terms of hardware enablement.
    
    Eric Anholt suggested that glvnd is the better way to retain DRI1
    support at this point, and to that end there is also:
    
    https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/mesa/mesa/-/merge_requests/7674
    
    Which allows us to override the glvnd vendor name. xserver could then
    select a different name for DRI1 screens, and now you get
    parallel-installable Mesa packages, which could be nice for a bunch of
    reasons.
    
    If you still care about DRI1 support, I am very sorry, but hopefully
    !7674 (backported to 20.x) and a bit of polish to xserver should keep
    things working for you, and your feedback/testing would be greatly
    appreciated.
    
  • Mesa To Drop Support For Ancient Drivers - Phoronix

    The fallout should be minimal and hopefully not impact any Phoronix readers, but as Mesa rolls into 2021 it is looking to drop support for loading DRI1 graphics drivers.

    Back in 2011 the classic Radeon drivers were removed Adam Jackson of Red Hat is planning to remove the ability for Mesa's current libGL to be able to load DRI1 drivers. This is basically about trying to load old DRI1 drivers from Mesa pre-8.0 onto a system with the current Mesa libGL loader. Mesa has retained this ability for being able to load these classic DRI1 drivers but nearly nine years after old driver code was dropped from Mesa, phasing out this ability to load DRI1 drivers is now planned.

  • Arcturus No Longer Experimental - AMD Instinct MI100 Linux Support Is Ready - Phoronix

    Being sent in as a "fix" this week to the Linux 5.10 kernel is removing the experimental flag for the Arcturus GPU, days after AMD announced the MI100 accelerator at SC20.

    Going back to the summer of 2019 there have been Linux graphics driver patches for "Arcturus" as an evolution of GFX9/Vega but with not a lot being known about it. Much work was poured into this open-source driver code for Arcturus and the Linux support all squared away over the past year. This week it finally entered the limelight in the form of the AMD Instinct MI100 accelerator.

  • NVIDIA Is Working On Vulkan Support With RDMA Memory - Phoronix

    Well this will be interesting to see what NVIDIA use-case pans out... NVIDIA engineers are working on a Vulkan extension for making use of RDMA memory.

    Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) for zero-copy networking with high throughput and low latency is very common for cluster computing and other enterprise scenarios to allow direct memory access from one computer to another without the intervention of the CPU. NVIDIA now though is preparing to support RDMA memory usage in the Vulkan context.

Graphics: Intel, X11 and Wayland

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Intel Preparing To Restore Frame-Buffer Compression For Tiger Lake - Phoronix

    This summer Intel disabled frame-buffer compression for Gen12 Tiger Lake graphics. While FBC helps conserve memory bandwidth and can be beneficial to power-savings, under-run issues and related problems resorted Intel to disabling this common feature for Tiger Lake.

    But now the open-source Intel Linux developers are preparing to restore frame-buffer compression for benefiting these latest-generation Intel laptops. Well, at least in part.

  • Robert O'Callahan: Debugging With Screenshots In Pernosco

    When debugging graphical applications it can be helpful to see what the application had on screen at a given point in time. A while back we added this feature to Pernosco.

    This is nontrivial because in most record-and-replay debuggers the state of the display (e.g., the framebuffer) is not explicitly recorded. In rr for example, a typical application displays content by sending data to an X11 server, but the X11 server is not part of the recording.

    Pernosco analyzes the data sent to the X11 server and reconstructs the updates to window state. Currently it only works for simple bitmap copies, but that's enough for Firefox, Chrome and many other modern applications, because the more complicated X drawing primitives aren't suitable for those applications and they do their complex drawing internally.

  • Paalanen: Developing Wayland Color Management and High Dynamic Range [LWN.net]

    Over on the Collabora blog, Pekka Paalanen writes about adding color management and high dynamic range (HDR) support to the Wayland display server protocol.

  • Developing Wayland Color Management and High Dynamic Range

    Wayland (the protocol and architecture) is still lacking proper consideration for color management. Wayland also lacks support for high dynamic range (HDR) imagery which has been around in movie and broadcasting industry for a while now (e.g. Netflix HDR UI).

    While there are well established tools and workflows for how to do color management on X11, even X11 has not gained support for HDR. There were plans for it (Alex Goins, DeepColor Visuals), but as far as I know nothing really materialized from them. Right now, the only way to watch HDR content on a HDR monitor in Linux is to use the DRM KMS API directly, in other words, not use any window system, which means not using any desktop environment. Kodi is one of the very few applications that can do this at all.

    This is a story about starting the efforts to fix the situation on Wayland.

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