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Graphics: ATI R300 Gallium3D Driver, AMDGPU Driver and Mesa 19.2 R600 Gallium3D

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  • ATI R300 Gallium3D Driver Seeing A Big Performance Fix After Being Regressed For Years

    For those still running decade and a half old ATI Radeon graphics hardware like the Radeon Xpress 200M found in numerous notebooks back in the day, a performance regression in the R300 Gallium3D driver is being sorted out after concerned users on this vintage hardware began bisecting and testing patches for a regression to this old ATI open-source driver that appears to have been adversely affected back in 2017.

    Not only is the R600 Gallium3D driver seeing some recent attention around OpenGL 4.5 support, the R300 Gallium3D driver for the Radeon X1000 series and older has also been seeing some attention thanks to some users still relying upon this open-source OpenGL driver in old systems.

  • Linux 5.3 To Enable HDR Metadata Support For AMDGPU Driver

    When it comes to HDR display support on Linux we've seen a lot of infrastructure work being pursued by the developers at NVIDIA going back a few years while more recently Intel's open-source developers have been on it too with Icelake Gen11 graphics supporting HDR. We haven't seen much publicly on the AMD Linux front but with the upcoming 5.3 kernel cycle one of their HDR DC patches will be merged.

    Buried within the drm-misc-next pull request today being sent to DRM-Next is HDR metadata support for the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager driver.

  • Mesa 19.2 R600 Gallium3D Can Advertise OpenGL 4.5 With Select GPUs

    A change merged to Mesa 19.2 last month has the R600 Gallium3D driver officially advertising OpenGL 4.5 support.

    This Gallium3D driver is what provides Linux OpenGL support from the Radeon HD 2000 "R600" through Radeon HD 6000 (pre-GCN) series. Granted, only the Radeon HD 5800 and HD 6900 series is currently able to offer OpenGL 4.x support out-of-the-box with Mesa right now until the FP64 emulation support is all in place for being able to flip on GL_ARB_gpu_shader_fp64 that otherwise blocks OpenGL 4.0 support.

Graphics and Benchmarks: Mesa 19.2 Punts AMD Register Descriptions Into JSON, Linux Beats Vista 10 and More

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  • Mesa 19.2 Punts AMD Register Descriptions Into JSON

    If you want an easy way to go through the AMD Radeon GPU register descriptions, they are now storing them in a JSON format within Mesa following more than ten thousand lines of code/headers being shifted around today. 

    Rather than keeping the AMD register descriptions as raw headers and trying to parse that for other purposes like debugging tables, the open-source AMD developers are now storing the original register descriptions in a convenient JSON format and generating the headers at build time.

  • Linux beats Windows 10 v1903 at multi-threaded performance [Ed: Even Microsoft sites admit that GNU/Linux is better than Vista 10]

    The latest Geekbench results confirmed the Windows 10 May 2019 Update enhances single-core performance by 5%.

    We can see that the latest Windows 10 build is all set to overtake Linux. However, in terms of performance, Ubuntu 19.04 is currently better than the Windows 10 May 2019 Update with a difference of around 8%.

  • ClearFog ARM Workstation Speed Even More Compelling But Now Called HoneyComb LX2K

    ClearFog was the name for that 16-core mini-ITX workstation development board/platform that we've been eager to learn more about with its $500~750 USD price point, extensive networking connections, M.2, SATA, socketed DDR4 memory support, and other features we've been long desiring to see out of an affordable yet powerful ARM workstation. It turns out that dream board is being renamed to the HoneyComb LX2K and its performance is increasingly competitive with AMD/Intel x86 enthusiast offerings.

Logic Supply's Karbon 300: A Well Built, Extremely Durable Linux PC For Demanding Low-Power Environments

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Back in March we wrote about industrial-grade PC manufacturer Logic Supply announcing the Karbon 300 as a compact and rugged Ubuntu/Windows system. Fast forward to last month, Logic Supply sent over the now-shipping Karbon 300 system to put it through our tests at Phoronix. This passively-cooled PC has passed our tests after weeks of benchmarking and is running great.

The Logic Supply Karbon 300 is built to withstand extreme temperature ranges (-25C to 70C), variable power or shock, and vibration-prone environments (MIL-STD-810 certification). While nothing is stopping you from using it as a rugged, passive Linux desktop PC, the Karbon 300 is tailored towards low-power industrial applications with featuring a CAN bus, two COM ports, a ventless chassis to deal with often dirty industrial environments.

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Graphics: Sway 1.1, Mesa 19.1.0 Release Plan and NVIDIA's 418.52.10 Vulkan Linux Beta Driver

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  • Sway 1.1 Released With Switch Event Support, Touch Support For Swaybar

    Three months after the release of Sway 1.0, Sway 1.1 is now available as the next feature update for this i3-inspired and increasingly popular Wayland compositor.

    Sway 1.1 adds touch support for Swaybar. support for manually inhibiting DPMS idle notifications via inhibit_idle, support for explicitly configuring output subpixel layouts, support for an overlay mode with Swaybar, support for switch devices/events like laptop lid switches, and pretty-printing support for Swaymsg.

  • Mesa 19.1.0 release plan
    Last week we published the RC4, which should be in theory the last RC.
    Unfortunately, there are still two issues blocking the release:
    - there's a general feeling
    that this shouldn't block the release. We are waiting to confirm if it is fine
    remove this issue from the blocking list.
    - seems Emil is working on
    a fix for this. So we need to wait for it.
    Hence, unless said the contrary, I'll go with another RC round (RC5) this week.
    Hope those issues are unblocked this week so we can make the final release next
  • Mesa 19.1 Now Aiming For Release Next Week With Its Many OpenGL/Vulkan Improvements

    Mesa 19.1 had been aiming to ship before the end of May but blocker bugs once again have dragged out the release cycle. The current plan is to now issue a fifth release candidate this week with hopes of the final release being in store for next week.

    There's been two blocker bugs now for several weeks and while bisected haven't been resolved. For one of the bugs they are now debating to just drop it has a blocker requirement so it won't hold up 19.1.0. For the second bug, a fix is being worked on and we'll hopefully see that fix land this week.

  • NVIDIA Releases 418.52.10 Vulkan Linux Beta Driver

    NVIDIA issued the 418.52.10 Linux beta driver this weekend (and version 425.62 for Windows) that offers their latest Vulkan API support.

    The updated NVIDIA Vulkan beta driver code introduces support for VK_EXT_fragment_shader_interlock, VK_EXT_calibrated_timestamps (Windows only), and VK_NV_shader_sm_builtins. There are also known fixes to take care of crashes when changing present modes between swap chains.

Running NVIDIA On GNOME's X.Org Session May Get A Lot Smoother

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Canonical's Daniel van Vugt continues doing a lot of interesting performance investigations and optimizations around improving the experience of GNOME not only for Ubuntu but the upstream components. His latest focus has been on NVIDIA enhancements and now for the X.Org session there is a merge request pending to provide for a smoother experience.

This week Van Vugt opened up a pull request that provides a "significant improvement" to the frame-rate smoothness for NVIDIA's proprietary Linux graphics driver running on GNOME under the X.Org session (this MR doesn't affect the Wayland session).

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The ClearFog ARM ITX Workstation Performance Is Looking Very Good

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If there's one Arm hardware launch I am looking forward to this year of known products in the pipeline, it would certainly be SolidRun's ClearFog mini-ITX workstation product.

The SolidRun ClearFog was announced back in April and is the 16-core ITX-based workstation board that is trying to get in at the $500~750 USD price-point. This board is expected to have multiple 10GbE SFP+ connections, Gigabit Ethernet, mPCIe, SATA ports, and socketed DDR4 memory support. The 16 Arm cores are Cortex-A72s.

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Also: Resource Usage Comparison Between Ubuntu native packages(APT) and Appimage

DragonFlyBSD's Kernel Optimizations Are Paying Off - 3 BSDs & 5 Linux OS Benchmarks On Threadripper

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DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon has been working on a big VM rework in the name of performance and other kernel improvements recently. Here is a look at how those DragonFlyBSD 5.5-DEVELOPMENT improvements are paying off compared to DragonFlyBSD 5.4 as well as FreeBSD 12 and five Linux distribution releases. With Dillon using an AMD Ryzen Threadripper system, we used that too for this round of BSD vs. Linux performance benchmarks.

The work by Dillon on the VM overhaul and other changes (including more HAMMER2 file-system work) will ultimately culminate with the DragonFlyBSD 5.6 release (well, unless he opts for DragonFlyBSD 6.0 or so). These are benchmarks of the latest DragonFlyBSD 5.5-DEVELOPMENT daily ISO as of this week benchmarked across DragonFlyBSD 5.4.3 stable, FreeBSD 12.0, Ubuntu 19.04, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, Debian 9.9, Debian Buster, and CentOS 7 1810 as a wide variety of reference points both from newer and older Linux distributions. (As for no Clear Linux reference point for a speedy reference point, it currently has a regression with AMD + Samsung NVMe SSD support on some hardware, including this box, prohibiting the drive from coming up due to a presumed power management issue that is still being resolved.)

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Kernel: Linux and EFI, Qualcomm Adreno 540 Support, AMD Is Aiming For Radeon RX 5700 "Navi" Support In Linux 5.3 + Mesa 19.2

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  • Linux Continues Prepping EFI Special Purpose Memory Support

    EFI Special Memory (EFI_MEM_SP) succeeds the earlier ACPI HMAT (Heterogeneous Memory Attribute Table) for indicating if a memory pool is general purpose memory or intended for application-specific usage. If it is and the kernel obeys this new attribute, the kernel will avoid allocating to that region and reserve it for use by applications specifically looking for this specialized memory. For the most part it's intended for cases like HBM (High Bandwidth Memory) on a chip that may be addressable by the system itself but given its performance heuristics and limited capacity should be reserved for application-specific purposes rather than inadvertently being used by the kernel for mundane memory storage.

  • Qualcomm Adreno 540 Support Prepped For Open-Source Linux Kernel Graphics Driver

    Support for Qualcomm's Adreno 540 series display/graphics could potentially be on the table for the Linux 5.3 kernel series. Patches are at least being reviewed for this A540 open-source support.

    Jeffrey Hugo of the Qualcomm-aligned Code Aurora posted on Wednesday their latest patches on A540 enablement as found in the MSM8998 SoC. These patches are enough to get the MSM DRM/KMS driver lighting up for the Adreno 540 hardware though some user-space bits for the Mesa Freedreno/Turnip drivers might still be needed.

  • AMD Is Aiming For Radeon RX 5700 "Navi" Support In Linux 5.3 + Mesa 19.2

    As I've been saying for weeks now since the initial AMDGPU LLVM compiler back-end support was posted and based upon the release cadences for the various projects: AMD's next-gen "Navi" GPU support is likely to come with Linux 5.3 and Mesa 19.2. That's now been further firmed up and does appear AMD will be posting those kernel and Mesa/OpenGL driver changes in early to mid June for meeting those release windows.

Xorg-server 1.20.5

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Minor bugfix release to fix some input, Xwayland, glamor, and Present
issues. Thanks to all who contributed fixes and testing.

Adam Jackson (1):
      xserver 1.20.5

Michel Dänzer (3):
      Revert "gitlab-ci: Only run docker-image stage if relevant source files change"
      xwayland/present: Destroy sync_callback in xwl_present_cleanup
      present/scmd: Check that the flip and screen pixmap pitches match

Olivier Fourdan (2):
      xwayland: search for a render node to use
      glamor: pixmap FBO may not be allocated

Peter Hutterer (2):
      xwayland: fix a realloc OOM error case
      dix: leave last.valuators alone on slave switch

Ray Strode (1):
      dix: ensure work queues are cleared on reset

git tag: xorg-server-1.20.5

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Also: X.Org Server 1.20.5 Released With A Few XWayland & GLAMOR Fixes

AMDVLK Still Has Some Performance Advantages Over Mesa's Radeon RADV Vulkan Driver, But It's A Good Fight

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As it's been a while since our last comparison of the two AMD Vulkan drivers for Linux gaming and with getting the Radeon VII situation straightened out here are some fresh benchmarks of the latest AMDVLK and RADV Vulkan drivers when running various Ubuntu gaming benchmarks with Radeon RX Vega 64 and Radeon VII graphics cards.

The AMDVLK Vulkan driver tests were using the new 2019.Q2.4 release while the RADV Vulkan driver was using Mesa 19.2.0-devel via the Oibaf PPA. All tests were done from Ubuntu 19.04 while running with a Linux 5.1 kernel. The only changes to the system were swapping of the RADV/AMDVLK drivers and testing both the Radeon RX Vega 64 and Radeon VII graphics cards for the current summer 2019 Vulkan gaming performance.

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Android Leftovers

Stable kernels 5.1.10, 4.19.51, and 4.14.126

  • Linux 5.1.10
    I'm announcing the release of the 5.1.10 kernel. All users of the 5.1 kernel series must upgrade. The updated 5.1.y git tree can be found at: git:// linux-5.1.y and can be browsed at the normal git web browser:
  • Linux 4.19.51
  • Linux 4.14.126

Android Leftovers

My personal journey from MIT to GPL

As I got started writing open source software, I generally preferred the MIT license. I actually made fun of the “copyleft” GPL licenses, on the grounds that they are less free. I still hold this opinion today: the GPL license is less free than the MIT license - but today, I believe this in a good way.


I don’t plan on relicensing my historical projects, but my new projects have used the GPL family of licenses for a while now. I think you should seriously consider it as well.

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