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Graphics/Benchmarks

Linux Kernel: EROFS, Heterogeneous Memory Management, Getting Involved, 4.20-rc3, and DRM ('Secure Output Protocol')

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • There Is Finally A User-Space Utility To Make EROFS Linux File-Systems

    Back when Huawei introduced the EROFS Linux file-system earlier this year, there wasn't any open-source user-space utility for actually making EROFS file-systems. Even when EROFS was merged into the mainline tree, the user-space utility was still non-existent but now that issue has been rectified.

  • The State Of Heterogeneous Memory Management At The End Of 2018

    Heterogeneous Memory Management is the effort going on for more than four years that was finally merged to the mainline Linux kernel last year but is still working on adding additional features and improvements. HMM is what allows for allowing the mirroring of process address spaces, system memory to be transparently used by any device process, and other functionality for GPU computing as well as other device/driver purposes.

    Jerome Glisse at Red Hat who has spearheaded Heterogeneous Memory Management from the start presented at last week's Linux Plumbers Conference on this unified memory solution.

  • An attempt to create a local Kernel community

    Now I am close to complete one year of Linux Kernel, and one question still bugs me: why does it have to be so hard for someone in a similar condition to become part of this world? I realized that I had great support from many people (especially from my sweet and calm wife) and I also pushed myself very hard. Now, I feel that it is time to start giving back something to society; as a result, I began to promote some small events about free software in the university and the city I live. However, my main project related to this started around two months ago with six undergraduate students at the University of Sao Paulo, IME [3]. My plan is simple: train all of these six students to contribute to the Linux Kernel with the intention to help them to create a local group of Kernel developers. I am excited about this project! I noticed that within a few weeks of mentoring the students they already learned lots of things, and in a few days, they will send out their contributions to the Kernel. I want to write a new post about that in December 2018, reporting the results of this new tiny project and the summary of this one year of Linux Kernel. See you soon Smile

  • Feral Interactive Announces Total War: WARHAMMER II to Be Released for Linux Tomorrow, Uber Joined The Linux Foundation, Security Bug Discovered in Instagram, Fedora Taking Submissions for Supplemental Wallpapers and Kernel 4.20-rc3 Is Out

    Linux kernel 4.20-rc3 is out. Linus says the only unusual thing was his travel and that the changes "are pretty tiny".

  • Wayland Secure Output Protocol Proposed For Upstream - HDCP-Like Behavior

    Collabora developer Scott Anderson sent out a "request for comments" patch series that would add a Secure Output Protocol to the Wayland space.

    The Secure Output Protocol is for allowing a Wayland client to tell the compositor to only display if it's going to a "secure" output, such as for HDCP-like (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) configurations, but there is no mandate at the protocol level about what is the definition of secure -- if anything.

    This does not impose any DRM per se by Wayland but is mostly intended for set-top-boxes and other closed systems where a Wayland client can reasonably trust the compositor. The Wayland Secure Output Protocol is based upon the work done by Google on their Chromium Wayland code.

Void Linux, Solus, Manjaro, Antergos, Sabayon & Clear Linux Put To A Performance Battle

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Graphics/Benchmarks

Given last week's new images release of the rolling-release, systemd-free, original-creation Void Linux I decided to take it for a spin with some fresh benchmarking as it had been two years or so since last trying out that Linux distribution with its XBPS packaging system. For seeing how the performance compares, I benchmarked it against some of the other primarily enthusiast/rolling-release/performant Linux distributions including Antergos, Clear Linux, Debian Buster Testing, Fedora Workstation 29, Manjaro 18.0, Sabayon Linux, Solus, and Ubuntu 18.10.

These nine Linux distributions were tested on the new Intel Core i9 9900K eight-core / sixteen-thread processor. The i9-9900K was running at its stock speeds with the ASUS PRIME Z390-A motherboard, 2 x 8GB DDR4-3000 memory, Samsung 970 EVO 256GB NVMe SSD, and Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics.

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20-Way AMD / NVIDIA Linux Gaming Benchmarks For The 2018 Holidays

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Gaming

If you are hoping to pick-up a new graphics card during the upcoming holiday sales, here is a 20-way NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon Linux gaming benchmark comparison using a wide assortment of GPUs while using the very newest graphics drivers and a variety of OpenGL/Vulkan titles.

In preparation for the Radeon RX 590 launch this week, I've been re-testing my available graphics cards on the latest AMD/NVIDIA drivers and newest kernel (unlike some Windows sites that may regurgitate their existing data points for months at a time, Phoronix tests are always done fresh on the current/latest components). But with the Radeon RX 590 currently being a dud on Linux with the current AMDGPU kernel code, I decided to keep testing including some older graphics cards to make for this twenty-way comparison ahead of Black Friday sales and the holidays.

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GPU/Graphics: DRM/KMS and CUDA

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Google's Pixel 3 Is Using The MSM DRM Driver, More Android Phones Moving To DRM/KMS Code

    It turns out Google's recently announced Pixel 3 smartphone is making use of the MSM Direct Rendering Manager driver associated with the Freedreno open-source Qualcomm graphics project. Google is also getting more Android vendors moving over to using DRM/KMS drivers to power their graphics/display.

    Alistair Strachan of Google presented at this week's Linux Plumbers Conference and the growing adoption of Direct Rendering Manager / Kernel Mode-Setting drivers by Android devices.

  • Red Hat Developers Working Towards A Vendor-Neutral Compute Stack To Take On NVIDIA's CUDA

    At this week's Linux Plumbers Conference, David Airlie began talking about the possibility of a vendor-neutral compute stack across Intel, Radeon, and NVIDIA GPU platforms that could potentially take on NVIDIA's CUDA dominance.

    There has been the work on open-source NVIDIA (Nouveau) SPIR-V compute support all year and that's ongoing with not yet having reached mainline Mesa. That effort has been largely worked on by Karol Herbst and Rob Clark, both open-source GPU driver developers at Red Hat. There has also been other compute-motivated open-source driver/infrastructure work out of Red Hat like Jerome Glisse's ongoing kernel work around Heterogeneous Memory Management (HMM). There's also been the Radeon RADV driver that Red Hat's David Airlie co-founded and continues contributing significantly to its advancement. And then there has been other graphics/compute contributions too with Red Hat remaining one of the largest upstream contributors to the ecosystem.

The Spectre/Meltdown Performance Impact On Linux 4.20, Decimating Benchmarks With New STIBP Overhead

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Graphics/Benchmarks

As outlined yesterday, significant slowdowns with the Linux 4.20 kernel turned out to be due to the addition of the kernel-side bits for STIBP (Single Thread Indirect Branch Predictors) for cross-HyperThread Spectre Variant Two mitigation. This has incurred significant performance penalties with the STIBP support in its current state with Linux 4.20 Git and is enabled by default at least for Intel systems with up-to-date microcode. Here are some follow-up benchmarks looking at the performance hit with the Linux 4.20 development kernel as well as the overall Spectre and Meltdown mitigation impact on this latest version of the Linux kernel.

Some users have said AMD also needs STIBP, but at least with Linux 4.20 Git and the AMD systems I have tested with their up-to-date BIOS/microcode, that hasn't appeared to be the case. Most of the AMD STIBP references date back to January when Spectre/Meltdown first came to light. We'll see in the week ahead if there is any comment from AMD but at this time seems to be affecting up-to-date Intel systems with the Linux 4.20 kernel.

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Graphics: Open-Source AMD Linux Driver Stack, Mesa 18.3.0 RC, ROCm 1.9.2 and Firefox on Wayland

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • The Open-Source AMD Linux Driver Stack Hitting Problems With The Radeon RX 590

    While the Radeon RX 590 that launched this week is just yet another Polaris refresh, it turns out the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver stack isn't yet playing well with retail RX 590 graphics cards. This is quite a surprise considering the PCI ID was picked up months ago and the mature Polaris Linux driver support for quite a while now, but could be like the rough Raven Ridge Linux experience where the production cards with the shipping vBIOS isn't what the developers encountered during their pre-production driver enablement.

    [...]

    Long story short, it looks like at least one initialization issue is blocking the Radeon RX 590 Linux support. Hopefully the workaround ends up being trivial enough that it can be quickly back-ported to existing stable Linux kernel series. Once the Radeon RX 590 is running well on Linux, I'll be through with a ton of benchmarks that I have already been working on this week with other graphics cards using the newest Linux driver stacks. This situation is sadly reminiscent of the Raven Ridge launch earlier this year where the open-source driver team was working on support for months in advance, but the production hardware/BIOS ended up varying a lot from their hardware bring-up that is was very shaky support at launch. The Raven Ridge support improved a lot on Linux since launch, but even to this day some hardware still seems to be problematic both of hardware in my labs as well as reports by users. Hopefully it won't take nearly as long for the RX 590 support to be in shape.

  • mesa 18.3.0-rc3

    The third release candidate for Mesa 18.3.0 is now available.

  • Mesa 18.3-RC3 Released With RADV Fixes, Drops Zen L3 Thread Pinning

    Mesa release manager Emil Velikov has announced the latest weekly release candidate of the upcoming Mesa 18.3.

    Mesa 18.3 has a number of Meson build system updates, several RADV driver corrections, a few NIR updates, fixes video API support for Raven 2 APUs, and back-ports the change to drop the AMD Zen L3 thread pinning functionality.

  • Radeon ROCm 1.9.2 Released - Brings SDMA/RDMA Support For Vega 20, HIP/HCC Improvements

    While we know ROCm 2.0 is coming out before year's end and that will have many improvements like complete OpenCL 2.0 support, ROCm 1.9.2 is out today as the latest stable release for this Radeon Open Compute stack.

    ROCm 1.9.2 brings some notable changes for just being a point release ahead of the big ROCm 2.0 milestone. Vega 20 remains one of the big areas for AMD's driver/software developers for what will begin shipping next year as the Radeon Instinct MI50 / MI60 accelerators.

  • Mozilla Now Ships Firefox Nightly Builds With Wayland Enabled

    After what feels like an eternity in waiting years for Mozilla to ship their Firefox web-browser with native Wayland support enabled, their latest Firefox Nightly builds have achieved this milestone.

    There have been Wayland patches for Firefox going back years but the Wayland support hasn't been enabled in the official Firefox binaries up until now. Starting yesterday, the Mozilla.org Firefox Nightly packages have Wayland support built-in and when launching Firefox if GDK_BACKEND=wayland is set, should now work with native Wayland rather than XWayland.

More Benchmarks Of The Performance Pullback In Linux 4.20

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

Last night I published some benchmarks after finding Linux 4.20 is regressing in several workloads compared to Linux 4.18/4.19 and at least was affecting Intel Core i9 "HEDT" boxes. Here are more affected workloads regressing on Linux 4.20 and it's not just limited to high-end hardware.

This morning I decided to check in on my automated bi-daily kernel benchmarks on LinuxBenchmarking.com. It's all automated and thus don't necessarily have the time to look at the data too often (even though PTS' LinuxBenchmarking.com does also provide email notifications when auto-detecting possible regressions), but in looking back at the archived data it too captured a significant performance pullback on multiple systems on Linux 4.20.

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Bisected: The Unfortunate Reason Linux 4.20 Is Running Slower

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Graphics/Benchmarks

After running a lot of tests and then bisecting the Linux 4.20 kernel merge window, the reason for the significant slowdowns in the Linux 4.20 kernel for many real-world workloads is now known...

This latest Linux 4.20 testing endeavor started out with seeing the Intel Core i9 performance pulling back in many synthetic and real-world tests. This ranged from Rodinia scientific OpenMP tests taking 30% longer to Java-based DaCapo tests taking up to ~50% more time to complete to code compilation tests taking measurably longer to lower PostgreSQL database server performance to longer Blender3D rendering times. That happened with a Core i9 7960X and Core i9 7980XE test systems while the AMD Threadripper 2990WX performance was unaffected by the Linux 4.20 upgrade.

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Graphics: RADV Vulkan Driver, NVIDIA 410.78 Linux Driver, Mesa 18.2.5, Firefox Nightly on Wayland and AMD Radeon RX 590 Launches

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • RADV Vulkan Driver To Enable Vega Primitive Binning By Default - Helps Performance

    The RadeonSI OpenGL driver offered Vega primitive binning support the past year followed by the RADV Vulkan driver, but it hadn't been enabled by default. Those working on the RADV driver are now planning on unconditionally enabling this Vega performance optimization for up to a few percent performance boost.

    It seems the primitive binning driver support for RADV is mature enough that it can be flipped on by default and at least doesn't appear to be hurting any prominent Vulkan-powered Linux games. Samuel Pitoiset of Valve's Linux driver team sent out the patch today for flipping it on by default. On that patch message he describes this Vega feature as helping out some games by a few percent, "After doing a bunch of benchmarks, primitive binning helps some games like The Talos Principle (+5%) or Serious Sam 2017 (+3%). For other titles, either it doesn't change anything or it hurts very few (less than 1%)."

  • NVIDIA 410.78 Linux Driver Fixes Vulkan Corruption, Adds Quadro RTX 4000 Support

    For those using the NVIDIA long-lived 410 Linux driver series over the in-beta 415.xx driver series, the 410.78 driver release is out today as the newest stable binary driver build.

    The NVIDIA 410.78 rolls out with official support for the Quadro RTX 4000 graphics card and a handful of bug fixes. The bug fixes include addressing a possible X Server hang when using legacy VGA mode, mode-setting failure with SDI output, and Vulkan rendering corruption.

  • [Mesa-dev] [ANNOUNCE] mesa 18.2.5

    A patch for nine state tracker that fixes several crashes using nine's thread_submit feature. There are other patches to other state trackers.

    A couple of patches for Meson build system, as well as for autotools.

    In the drivers side, there are a couple of fixes for RADV, one regarding subgroups and another regarding conditional rendering. There are also fixes for virgl, r600, and i965.

  • Mesa 18.2.5 Brings Fixes For Direct3D 9 State Tracker, RADV Vulkan Driver

    For those sticking to the Mesa stable release train, Mesa 18.2.5 is now available ahead of the Mesa 18.3 quarterly feature release due out in the weeks ahead.

    As is the case for Mesa point releases, Mesa 18.2.5 is geared to deliver the latest bug/regression fixes. this 18.2.5 release has around three dozen changes, including fixes for the Gallium "Nine" D3D9 state tracker when using its thread-submit functionality, Meson build system updates, RADV Vulkan driver fixes, and also some basic fixes/tweaks to the common NIR, Mesa, and Intel code. There is no particular standout prominent fixes unless you were personally affected by one of the bugs.

  • Firefox Nightly now with experimental Wayland support

    As of last nightly (20181115100051), Firefox now supports Wayland on Linux, thanks to the work from Martin Stransky and Jan Horak, mostly.

    Before that, it was possible to build your own Firefox with Wayland support (and Fedora does it), but now the downloads from mozilla.org come with Wayland support out of the box for the first time.

    However, being experimental and all, the Wayland support is not enabled by default, meaning by default, you’ll still be using XWayland. To enable wayland support, first set the GDK_BACKEND environment variable to wayland.

  • AMD Radeon RX 590 Launches, Linux Support Presumably Okay

    While it comes as no surprise given all the leaks in recent weeks, today AMD officially announced the Radeon RX 590 graphics card as another update to Polaris.

    The new Polaris PCI ID addition we spotted back in September indeed turned out to be for a new high-end Polaris refresh. The Radeon RX 590 is this new high-end Polaris graphics card that is manufactured on a 12nm FinFET process.

Linux 4.20 Showing Some Performance Slowdowns

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

Being well past the Linux 4.20 merge window I have moved onto benchmarking more of this development version of the Linux kernel. Unfortunately, there are some clear performance regressions.

This week I got to firing off some Linux 4.20 kernel benchmarks... I started with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX and Intel Core i9 7980XE for being the interesting HEDT CPUs in my possession at the moment. On the 7980XE I spotted several performance regressions with this Linux 4.20 development kernel compared to Linux 4.19 and 4.18, so then I fired up the completely separate Intel Core i9 7960X box to carry out the same tests. Sure enough, with that different hardware, there is further confirmation of slowdowns with Linux 4.20.

The common trait of these systems was Ubuntu 18.10 x86_64 and using the Linux 4.18.18, 4.19.1, and 4.20 Git kernel packages provided by the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA. With the differing hardware the intention is not to compare the performance between the systems but in looking at the direction of the Linux kernel performance.

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More in Tux Machines

Slimbook & Kubuntu - Combat Report 3

And we're done. I am not sure what kind of message you're getting - or you think you're supposed to be getting from my articles. Overall, I am quite pleased with my Slimbook & Kubuntu experience. But if I had to choose, I wouldn't abandon my Windows. I simply cannot. The games, the office stuff, even simple image manipulation and text editing. All these are currently not the killer features of any which Linux desktop. That said, Kubuntu purrs nicely. Runs fast and true, and there are no crashes or errors. The desktop is extremely flexible and extensible, it's pleasing to use, and I'm having fun discovering things, even if they sometimes turn out to be bugs or annoyances. In general, it's the application side that needs to be refined, and then, the system can just become a background for you to be productive and enjoy yourselves. Until the next report. Read more

Games: Metropolisim, Monster Prom, Kingdom Two Crowns and Lots More

  • Metropolisim aims to be the deepest city-building simulation experience ever, will have Linux support
    Metropolisim from developer Halfway Decent Games is releasing next year, with a pretty bold aim to be the deepest city-building simulation experience ever.
  • Monster Prom, the dating sim that won me over is now available on GOG
    Visual novels and dating sims aren't something I'm usually into, however Monster Prom is actually funny and worth playing and it's now available on GOG. I know we have a number of GOG fans here, so hopefully this will be interesting for you. As always, we try to treat all stores equally with release info.
  • Kingdom Two Crowns will be coming to Linux after all with the Quality of Life update
    Kingdom Two Crowns, the third in the Kingdom series released recently for Windows and Mac. It looked like we weren't getting it, but it's now confirmed to be coming. In their new roadmap post on Reddit and Steam, under the "QoL #01 Update" (Quality of Life Update) they noted that they will add "Add SteamOS (Linux) Support". This update is due out sometime early next year. This is really nice news, it's good to know they didn't give up on supporting Linux after all.
  • Steam Link for the Raspberry Pi is now officially available
    After a rather short beta period, the Steam Link application for the Raspberry Pi is now officially out.
  • Valve in it for the 'long haul' with Artifact, first update out and a progression system due soon
    Artifact, the big new card game from Valve isn't doing so well but Valve won't be giving up any time soon. The first major update is out, with a progression system due soon. At release, it had around sixty thousand people playing and that very quickly dropped down hard. Harder than I expected, a lot worse than Valve probably thought it would too.
  • Bearded Giant Games open their own store with a 'Linux First Initiative'
    Bearded Giant Games, developer of Ebony Spire Heresy have announced their new online store along with a 'Linux First Initiative'. I know what you're thinking already "not another store", but fear not. For now, it's mainly going to be a place for them to sell their games directly. Speaking about it in a blog post, they mentioned how they hate having to check over multiple forums, channels, emails and so on to stay up to date and they wish "to spend more time giving love to my projects instead of updating 4 different distribution channels, translating pages, writing different press releases and making separate builds"—can't argue against that.
  • The Forgotten Sanctum, the final DLC for Pillars of Eternity II is out along with a patch
    Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire expansions come to a close with the release of The Forgotten Sanctum along with a major update now out.
  • Pre-order Meeple Station for instant beta access, what the developers say is like Rimworld in space
    Meeple Station, the space station building sim that the developers say is like Rimworld in space can now be pre-ordered with instant beta access. While we don't like the idea of pre-orders, getting access to the beta right away is a decent way to do it. Sadly, their Kickstarter campaign actually failed which I didn't notice. Making sure that wasn't the end of it, the developer Vox Games decided to go the Early Access route. They weren't left out in the cold of space though, as they also recently announced that Indie DB will be publishing their game. Under the label of Modularity, this will be the first title published by Indie DB.
  • Heroes of Newerth drops support for Linux and Mac
    Heroes of Newerth, the MOBA originally from S2 Games which is now handled by Frostburn Studios has dropped Linux and Mac support. [...] I'll be honest here, I couldn't care less about it personally. The last time i tried it, it was the single most toxic experience I've ever had in an online game. I've played a lot of online games and even so it was still at a level I had not seen before. I tried to go back to it a few times, never with a happy ending. Still, sad for any remaining Linux (and Mac) fans of the game. Looking over some statistics, it's not popular with viewers either. Around 180 on Twitch compared with nearly 100K for League of Legends and over 50K for Dota 2.
  • Unity 2018.3 With HDR Render Pipeline Preview, Updated PhysX & More
    Unity Tech is ending out the year with their Unity 2018.3 game engine update that brings a number of new features and improvements to its many supported platforms.

Wine 4.0 Release Candidate 2

  • Wine Announcement
    The Wine development release 4.0-rc2 is now available. What's new in this release (see below for details): - Bug fixes only, we are in code freeze.
  • Just when you think you can stop drinking, Wine 4.0 has another release candidate available
    Just before the weekend hits you in the face like a bad hangover when you realise it's Monday already, there's another bottle of Wine ready for you. Of course, we're not talking about the tasty liquid! Put down the glass, it's the other kind of Wine. The one used to run your fancy Windows programs and games on Linux. Doing their usual thing, developer Alexandre Julliard announced that the Wine 4.0 Release Candidate 2 is officially out the door today. While this release is nothing spectacular it is an important one, the more bugs they're able to tick off the list the better the 4.0 release will be for more people to use it.

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