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EXT4 vs. XFS vs. Btrfs vs. F2FS With Linux 4.15 Comparing KPTI/Retpoline

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The latest in our benchmarking with KPTI and Retpoline for Meltdown and Spectre mitigation is comparing the performance of the EXT4, XFS, Btrfs and F2FS file-systems with and without these features enabled while using the Linux 4.15 development kernel.

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Linux Gaming For Older/Lower-End Graphics Cards In 2018

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A request came in this week to look at how low-end and older graphics cards are performing with current generation Linux games on OpenGL and Vulkan. With ten older/lower-end NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards, here is a look at their performance with a variety of native Linux games atop Ubuntu using the latest Radeon and NVIDIA drivers.

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Also: Wine 3.0 open-source compatibility layer now available

Graphics: Mesa and AMDGPU

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  • Mesa 17.3.3 Released With RADV & ANV Vulkan Driver Fixes

    Mesa 17.3.3 is now available as the latest point release for the Mesa 17.3 stable series.

    This bi-weekly point release to Mesa presents several RADV Vega/GFX9 fixes, various Intel ANV Vulkan driver fixes, a DRI3 fix, and random fixes to the OpenGL drivers like RadeonSI, Etnaviv, and even Swrast.

  • R600g "Soft" FP64 Shows Signs Of Life, Enabling Older GPUs To Have OpenGL 4 In 2018

    Most pre-GCN AMD graphics cards are still limited to OpenGL 3.3 support at this time due to not supporting FP64. Only the HD 5800/6900 series on R600g currently have real double-precision floating-point support working right now so at present they are on OpenGL 4.3 rather than 3.3, but those other generations may be catching up soon thanks to the "soft" FP64 code.

  • AMDGPU DC Gets More Raven Ridge Improvements, Audio Fixes

    Harry Wentland of AMD has sent out the latest batch of patches for the AMDGPU DC display code stack. Fortunately it lightens up the DRM driver by about six thousand lines thanks to removing some unused code.

    Besides gutting out a chunk of unused code, the DC code has a few audio fixes (no word yet on supporting newer audio formats with DC), fixes on driver unload, a "bunch" of continued Raven Ridge display updates, and various other code clean-ups.

  • AMDGPU Firmware Blobs Updated For Video Encode/Decode

    There are updated AMDGPU microcode/firmware files now available for recent Radeon GPUs.

    The updated firmware files now available via the main linux-firmware.git repository are centered around the video blocks: UVD video decoding, VCE video encode, and the new VCN video encode/decode block with Raven Ridge.

16-Way Graphics Card Comparison With Radeon On ROCm, NVIDIA With Initial 2018 Linux Drivers

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Towards the end of December AMD quietly released ROCm 1.7.60 as the newest version of their Radeon Open Compute stack complete with their maturing OpenCL implementation. With the improvements there plus NVIDIA recently introducing their 390 Linux driver series (390.12 Beta currently), I ran some fresh Linux OpenCL GPU compute benchmarks on a variety of AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards for those curious how the current performance stacks up.

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Also: X.Org Server Finally Adapted To Better Deal With 16:9 & 16:10 Displays

Arch Linux vs. Antergos vs. Clear Linux vs. Ubuntu Benchmarks

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Last week when sharing the results of tweaking Ubuntu 17.10 to try to make it run as fast as Clear Linux, it didn't take long for Phoronix readers to share their opinions on Arch Linux and the request for some optimized Arch Linux benchmarks against Clear Linux. Here are some results of that testing so far in carrying out a clean Arch Linux build with some basic optimizations compared to using Antergos Minimal out-of-the-box, Ubuntu Server, and Clear Linux.

Tests this time around were done on the Intel Core i9 7980XE system with ASUS PRIME X299-A motherboard, 4 x 4GB DDR4-3200 Corsair memory, GeForce GTX 750, and Corsair Force MP500 120GB NVMe solid-state drive. The system with 18 cores / 36 threads does make for quick and easy compiling of many Linux packages.

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24-Way NVIDIA/AMD GPU Benchmarks With X-Plane 11

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With the next update to X-Plane 11 introducing VR support, I have renewed interest in this realistic, cross-platform flight simulator. It's been a few years since we last delivered any benchmarks with X-Plane, but for your viewing please today is an assortment of 24 graphics cards both old and new, low-end to high-end from NVIDIA and AMD in looking at how this flight simulator is running on Ubuntu Linux.

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Graphics: RadeonSI NIR Backend, RADV Vulkan Driver, Direct Rendering Manager

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  • RadeonSI NIR Backend Now Supports GLSL 4.50

    The experimental RadeonSI NIR back-end is taking a final step forward for Mesa 18.0.

    Up until today when using the RadeonSI NIR code-path the GLSL (OpenGL Shading Language) version was limited to 1.50 due to not having any tessellation shader support, but now it's supported up through 4.50 -- the GLSL version matching OpenGL 4.5.

  • RADV Vulkan Driver Now Supports VK_EXT_debug_report

    With the flurry of Mesa development activity with Mesa 18.0 being branched in a few days, the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver picked up support for another extension.

    Building off groundwork laid by Intel ANV, the RADV driver now implements VK_EXT_debug_report. At the moment it doesn't output any messages but can be easily added during development for usage with RenderDoc and other Vulkan debuggers.

  • The DRM Graphics Driver Changes Coming For Linux 4.16

    With being past the cutoff of new features to be merged to DRM-Next for targeting the upcoming Linux 4.16 kernel merge window, here is a recap of the prominent changes to the Direct Rendering Manager drivers for this next kernel cycle.

Retpoline Benchmarked

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  • Benchmarking Retpoline Underflow Protection With Intel Skylake/Kabylake

    Beyond the Retpoline support already found in the mainline Linux kernel, developers are working on Retpoline Underflow support that would be used for Intel Skylake and Kabylake CPUs. RETPOLINE_UNDERFLOW protects against falling back to a potentially poisoned indirect branch predictor when a return buffer underflows and this additional protection is needed for Intel Skylake/Kabylake processors. I ran a couple benchmarks.

  • AMD Retpoline Benchmarks From FX To Threadripper & EPYC

    For those curious about the performance impact of the Retpoline patches as found in the latest Linux 4.15 kernel, here are some benchmarks on an assortment of old and new AMD Linux systems.

Graphics: NVIDIA and Mesa

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  • NVIDIA 340.106 Legacy Driver Released For KPTI Compatibility

    For those using the 340 series legacy driver for NVIDIA GeForce 8 and GeForce 9 series GPU support, the 340.106 driver has been released.

  • Mesa 18.0.0 release plan

    As you've know the Mesa 18.0.0 release plan has been available for a while on the website [1].

  • Mesa 18.0 Will Enter Its Feature Freeze Soon

    The Mesa 18.0 feature freeze and release candidate will be issued in the days ahead.

    Emil Velikov quietly updated the Mesa3D release schedule a while back though now he's announced it to the mailing list. The original plan was to do the branching / feature freeze and RC1 on 19 January, but given the short notice, that might be kicked out until next week.

Graphics: AMDGPU, Mesa, Nouveau

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  • GPU Voltage Control Support Coming To AMDGPU Driver

    Patches are being prepped to improve the OverDrive overclocking/underclocking support within the AMDGPU DRM driver and for allowing voltage controls.

  • Mesa 17.3.3 Is On The Way With Better Vega Support On Vulkan

    Mesa 17.3.3 should be released later this week with nearly three dozen fixes over the previous Mesa 17.3 point release.

  • Advanced DRI Configurator: A New Mesa GUI Project

    An independent open-source developer has announced "Advanced DRI Configurator" in what he's hoping could eventually replace DriConf for configuring Mesa parameters.

    Developer Jean Hertel has announced his initial work on trying to write a DriConf replacement. The Advanced DRI Configurator, or "adriconf" for short, is this young project written in C++ and GTKmm.

  • Red Hat Developer Manages Full Clock-Gating For Kepler With Nouveau

    In improving the power-savings of NVIDIA GeForce 600/700 "Kepler" GPUs running on the open-source NVIDIA "Nouveau" driver, Red Hat developer Lyude Paul has published a set of patches allowing for full clock-gating with these older graphics cards.

    Following lots of reverse engineering, rewrites, and tracing the behavior of the NVIDIA proprietary driver, Lyude has implemented all known levels of clock-gating for Kepler1/Kepler2 GPUs. Lyude was also working on Fermi GPU support, but its clock-gating is being handled differently and currently that code isn't yet ready.

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lkml: remove eight obsolete architectures

In the end, it seems that while the eight architectures are extremely different, they all suffered the same fate: There was one company in charge of an SoC line, a CPU microarchitecture and a software ecosystem, which was more costly than licensing newer off-the-shelf CPU cores from a third party (typically ARM, MIPS, or RISC-V). It seems that all the SoC product lines are still around, but have not used the custom CPU architectures for several years at this point. Read more

If you hitch a ride with a scorpion… (Coverity)

I haven’t seen a blog post or notice about this, but according to the Twitters, Coverity has stopped supporting online scanning for open source projects. Is anybody shocked by this? Anybody? [...] Not sure what the story is with Coverity, but it probably has something to do with 1) they haven’t been able to monetize the service the way they hoped, or 2) they’ve been able to monetize the service and don’t fancy spending the money anymore or 3) they’ve pivoted entirely and just aren’t doing the scanning thing. Not sure which, don’t really care — the end result is the same. Open source projects that have come to depend on this now have to scramble to replace the service. [...] I’m not going to go all RMS, but the only way to prevent this is to have open tools and services. And pay for them. Read more

Easily Fund Open Source Projects With These Platforms

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KDE: Kdenlive, Kubuntu, Elisa, KDE Connect

  • Kdenlive Café #27 and #28 – You can’t miss it
    Timeline refactoring, new Pro features, packages for fast and easy install, Windows version and a bunch of other activities are happening in the Kdenlive world NOW!
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    This is the 9th article, the final part of the series. This ninth article gives you more documentations to help yourself in using Kubuntu 17.10. The resources are online links to certain manuals and ebooks specialized for Kubuntu basics, command lines usage, software installation instructions, how to operate LibreOffice and KDE Plasma.
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    We have been tracking the development of Elisa, one of several KDE music players, since development started about one year ago. Following the recent alpha releases, the KDE Elisa 0.1 stable release is on the way. Elisa developers are preparing the Elisa v0.1 release and they plan to have it out around the middle of April.
  • KDE Connect Keeps Getting Better For Interacting With Your Desktop From Android
    KDE Connect is the exciting project that allows you to leverage your KDE desktop from Android tablets/smartphones for features like sending/receiving SMS messages from your desktop, toggling music, sharing files, and much more. KDE Connect does continue getting even better.
  • First blog & KDE Connect media control improvements
    I've started working on KDE Connect last November. My first big features were released yesterday in KDE Connect 1.8 for Android, so cause for celebration and a blog post! My first big feature is media notifications. KDE Connect has, since it's inception, allowed you to remotely control your music and video's. Now you can also do this with a notification, like all Android music apps do! So next time a bad song comes up, you don't need to switch to the KDE Connect app. Just click next on the notification without closing you current app. And just in case you don't like notifications popping up, there's an option to disable it.