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Linux and Graphics

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  • 'Upset' Linus Torvalds gets sweary and gets results

    Linus Torvalds has unleashed a little ripe language on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, and quickly got results for having done so.

    “This piece-of-shit branch has obviously never been even compile-tested”, Torvalds wrote after receiving a pull request for some fixes to the KVM hypervisor that it was hoped might make it into Linux 4.10.

    Torvalds' ire looks justifiable, as the code he was asked to review included errors that the contributors added to their own branch.

    “Am I upset?” Torvalds asked on the list, answering “You bet I am. Get your act together. You can't just randomly revert things without checking the end result.”

  • An AMDGPU Branch For Security PSP / HDCP Support

    There's an AMDGPU Linux branch in development for supporting HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) security and the PSP (Platform Security Processor).

  • 70 Patches Of Cleaning & Bug Fixes For Mesa

    It's not as exciting as seeing a massive patch series arrive for like the OpenGL shader cache or other key features, but Collabora's Timothy Arceri sent out a set of 70 patches today providing some clean-ups and bug fixes for Mesa.

Linux and Graphics

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  • OPAL Self-Encrypting Drive Support For Linux Steps Closer

    An Intel developer has sent out the latest version of his patches for implementing the Self-Encrypting Drive (SED) protocol support for the Linux kernel.

    The Opal storage specification sets a cross-vendor standard for self-encrypting drives and is the work of the Trusted Computing Group's storage workgroup. Scott Bauer of Intel sent out his third version of these patches for implementing Opal for self-encrypting devices. The driver has support for storing the locking range password as well as activating a device from a SED's default-inactive state.

  • VC4 Stepping Closer To Feature Parity With Original Raspberry Pi Driver

    The open-source VC4 driver stack with DRM/KMS driver and Gallium3D driver for the Raspberry Pi hardware continues stepping closer to feature parity with the original binary blob graphics driver, particularly when it comes to mode-setting related functionality.

    Broadcom developer Eric Anholt wrote a new blog post today concerning the latest improvements on the VC4 front. Recent highlights include pulling the VEC SDTV support into the Linux 4.10 kernel on top of the other VC4 DRM 4.10 changes, DSI panel support is finally working after nine months of development, and more. The DSI driver along with related work should come for Linux 4.11 along with other improvements. Work is also ongoing for getting the HDMI audio code working as well as VC4 driver interoperability with media decoding.

  • AMD Publishes "Polaris 12" Support For AMDGPU+RadeonSI Linux Driver

    Patches were published today for supporting "Polaris 12" graphics cards within the AMDGPU DRM kernel driver on Linux.

  • libinput touchpad pointer acceleration analysis

    A long-standing criticism of libinput is it's touchpad acceleration code, oscillating somewhere between "terrible", "this is bad and you should feel bad" and "I can't complain because I keep missing the bloody send button". I finally found the time and some more laptops to sit down and figure out what's going on.

Btrfs Mount Option Benchmarks With The Linux 4.9 Kernel

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Following last week's Btrfs / EXT4 / XFS / F2FS benchmarks using the Linux 4.6 through 4.9 kernels, some requests came in for doing some fresh Btrfs mount option comparison benchmarks. Thus for your viewing pleasure ahead of the holidays are some Btrfs mount option tests with the Linux 4.9 kernel.

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Graphics and Hardware

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  • Nintendo's Switch Game Console Is Vulkan & OpenGL Conformant

    Since Nintendo's Switch game console launch powered by the NVIDIA Tegra we have suspected they were making use of Vulkan as the graphics API, particularly with Nintendo joining The Khronos Group, now it's been pretty much firmed up.

    The Nintendo Switch has been certified as a Vulkan 1.0 conformant implementation by The Khronos Group. Over on is now public confirmation with the Nintendo Switch currently being listed as the newest certified Vulkan product. The OS is listed as "Nintendo OS" and it passes the Vulkan CTS.

  • AMD's ROCm 1.4 Now Available With OpenCL Support

    The Radeon Open Compute platform has been updated and quietly released prior to the weekend. The ROCm 1.4 release comes with preliminary OpenCL support.

  • Libav Now Supports VA-API HEVC Accelerated Decoding
  • Reworked Touchpad Acceleration For Libinput: No Longer Terrible

    Peter Hutterer has an early Christmas present for users of libinput on mobile devices with touchpads: much-improved touchpad acceleration.

    The Red Hat input developer explained, "This patchset is a cleanup and revamp of the touchpad acceleration code. It doesn't give us perfect acceleration, but it goes from the current rather abysimal state to one that should at least be good enough most of the time...he first 10 patches separate the touchpad code from the mouse acceleration code and switch it to use mm/s as base velocity unit (rather than the current 1000dpi-mouse-equivalency units). 11 is the main change that changes the acceleration pattern, mostly to start accelerating at a lot higher finger speed (found mostly by trial and error)."

  • The Power Efficiency From A Radeon HD 4890 Through The RX 480 & R9 Fury

    This past weekend I published a number of year-end 2016 AMD Linux benchmarks on a wide-range of AMD GPUs going back many generations while using the Linux 4.9 kernel on Ubuntu along with the Mesa 13.1-development code for having the newest open-source Gallium3D drivers. Those results were very interesting and go check them out now if you haven't done so already. For this article is a sub-set of those tests carried out again while monitoring the AC power consumption, GPU temperature, and CPU utilization while also automatically calculating the performance-per-Watt.

Kernel and Graphics News

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  • PCI Updates For The Linux 4.10 Kernel

    The PCI subsystem updates for the Linux 4.10 merge window were sent in a few days ago.

  • Hearing The Sound Updates For Linux 4.10

    Takashi Iwai submitted all of the sound driver updates on Wednesday for the Linux 4.10 kernel. Intel Skylake audio continues to be refined but there is also a lot of other hardware driver work.

  • Linux Kernel 3.12.69 LTS Has Many Networking Improvements, Updated Drivers

    Today, December 18, 2016, Linux kernel maintainer Jiri Slaby announced the release of the sixth-ninth maintenance update of the long-term supported Linux 3.12 kernel series, which will be maintained until 2017.

    The Linux 3.12 kernel branch was supposed to reach end-of-life in spring this year, but it's used in the SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) 12 Service Pack 1 (SP1) operating system, which is supported with security and software updates until 2017. As such, Jiri Slaby decided to move the EOL status of Linux kernel 3.12 to 2017 too, and the latest release, Linux kernel 3.12.69 LTS, changes a total of 48 files, with 414 insertions and 162 deletions.

  • Linux Kernel, tested by the Linux-version of PVS-Studio

    Since the release of the publicly available Linux-version of PVS-Studio, it was just a matter of time until we would recheck the Linux kernel. It is quite a challenge for any static code analyzer to check a project written by professionals from all around the world, used by people in various fields, which is regularly checked and tested by different tools. So, what errors did we manage to find in such conditions?

  • 3D-Accelerated Remote Wayland Displays Are Being Discussed Again

    The subject of remote Wayland displays with hardware-acceleration is again back to being talked about, this time initiated by the developer of VirtualGL.

    VirtualGL is one of the open-source projects working on remote Linux display support with the ability to run OpenGL applications with full 3D hardware acceleration via a GLX interposer and a high-speed X proxy. The lead developer of VirtualGL is wanting to go beyond just supporting X11 but also to handling Wayland/Weston.

  • The Strange Behavior Of My Radeon R9 290 Is Still There

    In recent days there have been a few Phoronix readers inquiring why I am not testing with my Radeon R9 290 graphics card in all our frequent comparisons and driver benchmarks. The short story is that the regression since Linux 4.7 remains and for my Radeon R9 290 and others with select Hawaii graphics cards, there still is a performance regression. Though over Christmas I hope to finally find the time to bisect it.

    So for those wondering but haven't asked why the R9 290 hasn't been used, it's since there is still that pesky regression... While there was a fix for some, my HIS Radeon R9 290 and that of other select users still are having issues, likely due to differing video BIOS. AMD, meanwhile, reportedly hasn't been able to reproduce this issue with their hardware.

  • RADV Vulkan Driver Patches To Support Compute Queues
  • AMD MxGPU Virtualization For The AMDGPU Driver

    The patches by AMD's Xiangliang Yu work to implement CSA and KIQ along with mailbox communication with the GPU hypervisor. CSA is the Context Save Area. KIQ in this context is the Kernel Interface Queue, as described in one of the patches, "KIQ is queue-memory based initialization method: setup KIQ queue firstly, then send command to KIQ to setup other queues, without accessing registers. For virtualization, need KIQ to access virtual function registers when running on guest mode."

2016 End-of-Year Open-Source Radeon Benchmarks With Linux 4.9, Mesa 13.1-dev On Many Different GPUs

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With 2016 soon drawing to an end, it's time for all of my year-end recaps now of Linux drivers that I have been doing for the past 12 years. Today are benchmarks of a wide assortment of AMD graphics cards on both R600g and RadeonSI Gallium3D drivers when using Mesa 13.1-dev + LLVM 4.0 SVN and the Linux 4.9 kernel for providing a bleeding-edge look at the open-source AMD Linux graphics performance across hardware going from the Radeon HD 4890 series all the way up through the RX 480 and R9 Fury hardware. Here's a fun look at the OpenGL driver performance across this range of GPUs.

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Kernel Space: Linux, Graphics

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  • The KVM & Xen Changes For Linux 4.10: Includes Intel GVT Work

    Earlier in the week the KVM and Xen updates were sent in for the Linux 4.10 kernel to add to the list of changes so far for Linux 4.10.

    On the KVM front within the x86 space there is now support for hiding nested VMX features from guest, nested VMX can now run Microsoft Hyper-V in a guest, there is support for more AVX512 extensions, and there is infrastructure support for virtual Intel GPUs.

  • AMD's Display Core difficulties

    Back in 2007, the announcement that AMD intended to reverse its longstanding position and create an upstream driver for its graphics processors was joyfully received by Linux users worldwide. As 2017 approaches, an attempt by AMD to merge a driver for an upcoming graphics chip has been rejected by the kernel's graphics subsystem maintainer — a decision that engendered rather less joy. A look at this discussion reveals a pattern seen many times before; the positions and decisions taken can seem arbitrary to the wider world but they are not without their reasons and will, hopefully, lead to a better kernel in the long run.

  • NVIDIA Linux Video Game Tearing Fix
  • VK9 Hits Its Sixth Milestone For Direct3D 9 Over Vulkan
  • It's Been a Bad Week for Linux as Several Security Flaws Surface [Ed: This is sensationalism; those were not prevalent/severe bugs]

    Two security researchers published details this week about several security flaws that allow attackers to execute code on affected machines and take over devices.

    These security flaws affect Linux distros such as Fedora and Ubuntu, and two of these exploits are zero-days, meaning there's no patch to prevent attacks.

  • Redux: compromising Linux using... SNES Ricoh 5A22 processor opcodes?!

EXT4, Btrfs, XFS & F2FS On Linux 4.6 Through 4.9

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For those curious how various Linux file-systems have evolved since Linux 4.6, here are some fresh benchmarks of the Btrfs, EXT4, F2FS, and XFS file-systems being tested on Linux 4.6 vs. 4.7 vs. 4.8 vs. 4.9 with a solid-state drive for looking at any performance changes.

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10-Way AMD GPU Comparison For Team Fortress 2 With RadeonSI Mesa 13.1-dev

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In case you didn't hear, last week a nine year old Mesa bug was fixed that ended up causing stability issues for RadeonSI and was one of the reasons Valve's Team Fortress 2 game wasn't running stable on the open-source AMD driver in quite a while. With Mesa Git now running Team Fortress 2 on RadeonSI without any stability problems, here are fresh benchmarks of that game when using Mesa 13.1-dev and Linux 4.9.

As mentioned in a few other articles already, a big year-end RadeonSI OpenGL performance comparison on many different graphics cards will be published in the days ahead. But given Team Fortress 2 back to running nicely on RadeonSI without stability concerns, I decided to run fresh benchmarks on ten different GCN graphics cards to show the performance difference.

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Linux Graphics Driver From Nvidia

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