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Graphics: AMDGPU, Mali and Mesa

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  • AMDGPU Has FreeSync Improvements Ready For Linux 5.2 Plus Vega 20 Power Fixes

    With the Linux 5.1 kernel release expected this weekend, it's too late to see any real features added to the prominent drivers in DRM-Next for the now imminent 5.2 merge window, but some fixes and FreeSync improvements are deemed ready for this next kernel cycle.

    AMD had sent in several rounds of feature updates in recent weeks to DRM-Next slated for the Linux 5.2 merge window. Sent out this afternoon meanwhile by AMDGPU maintainer Alex Deucher were some fixes -- plus the recently covered FreeSync improvements. The FreeSync improvements should help particularly in low frame-rate scenarios and have gone through several rounds of code review and is more of fixes-ish as opposed to new features per se.

  • Arm Mali D71 Display Support Coming To Linux 5.2 Kernel

    Adding to the many changes for Linux 5.2 is Arm's new Komeda DRM/KMS driver being extended to support the Mali D71.

    Since last year Arm has been working on the Komeda DRM driver as their next-gen display driver to suit their new display IP. That initial Komeda code was merged in Linux 5.1 now for Linux 5.2 the Mali D71 display support is ready.

  • The Vulkan Overlay Can Display Some Extra Information With Mesa 19.1

    One of the early features merged back in February for Mesa 19.1 was the new Vulkan Overlay layer to expose various performance metrics akin to the Gallium3D "HUD" also living within Mesa. Ahead of the Mesa 19.1 feature freeze, some more capabilities are now added to this Vulkan overlay/HUD.

    Merged on Thursday and contributed by Intel developers are pipeline statistics and time-stamps, a no-display for when wanting to just archive the data to a result file and not the display, some minor UI refinements, a frame counter option, and the overlay size itself is also now configurable.

NVIDIA/AMD Linux Gaming Performance For Hitman 2 On Steam Play

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While Hitman was ported to Linux by Feral Interactive, Hitman 2 that was released back in November of 2018 hasn't seen a native Linux port. However, in recent months Hitman 2 has been running under DXVK+Proton with Steam Play for allowing this stealth video game to run nicely under Linux. More recently the latest Proton updates have worked around an issue that previously prevented our benchmarking of this game, so in this article is a look at the Hitman 2 Linux gaming performance with different AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.

The Windows version of Hitman 2 has been running great under Linux via Valve's Steam Play for months sans an issue with the benchmarking mode. But thankfully the latest Proton is working even better and thus when checking recently the game now ticks off all our requirements for being able to use it for automated and reliable benchmarking. Hitman 2 will thus be part of the additional Steam Play games featured in our forthcoming Linux GPU benchmark articles and driver comparisons while for this article is just a current look at the performance of the game on Linux with different AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce GPUs.

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Announcing Wio: A clone of Plan 9's Rio for Wayland

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In short, Wio is a Wayland compositor based on wlroots which has a similar look and feel to Plan 9’s Rio desktop. It works by running each application in its own nested Wayland compositor, based on Cage - yet another wlroots-based Wayland compositor. I used Cage in last week’s RDP article, but here’s another cool use-case for it.

The behavior this allows for (each window taking over its parent’s window, rather than spawning a new window) has been something I wanted to demonstrate on Wayland for a very long time. This is a good demonstration of how Wayland’s fundamentally different and conservative design allows for some interesting use-cases which aren’t possible at all on X11.

I’ve also given Wio some nice features which are easy thanks to wlroots, but difficult on Plan 9 without kernel hacking. Namely, these are multihead support, HiDPI support, and support for the wlroots layer shell protocol. Several other wlroots protocols were invited to the party, useful for taking screenshots, redshift, and so on. Layer shell support is particularly cool, since programs like swaybg and waybar work on Wio.

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Also: Wio: Plan 9's Rio Windowing System Re-Implemented As A Wayland Compositor

Graphics: Nouveau DRM, Softpipe and More

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  • Open-Source NVIDIA "Nouveau" Driver Sees Few Changes For Linux 5.2

    Nouveau DRM maintainer Ben Skeggs at Red Hat has sent in the changes targeting the upcoming Linux 5.2 kernel.

    While the Nouveau changes are being sent in rather late with Linux 5.1 already expected this coming weekend, the tardiness of this pull request sadly isn't due to working on some "killer" features. In fact, this round is quite small and mainly just a couple of fixes.

    The open-source NVIDIA Linux driver for Linux 5.2 is seeing a spelling mistake fix in the code, ensuring the BAR is properly mapped for NV50/GF100 code paths, properly disabling the i2c bus, and an error forwarding fix.

  • Softpipe Improvements Land In Mesa 19.1 Allowing For More OpenGL 4.x Bits

    Softpipe, the Gallium-based software rasterizer fallback for Mesa (not to be confused with the faster LLVMpipe), has seen some OpenGL 4.x support additions land for the upcoming Mesa 19.1.

    Softpipe now exposes more capabilities of ARB_gpu_shader5, now handles ARB_ES3_1_compatibility, OES_geometry_shader, OES_primitive_bounding_box, OES_texture_cube_map_array, and OES_viewport_array.

  • LG's 4K FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync Display For Just $219 USD

    Now that the Radeon FreeSync support is in good standing with Linux 5.0+ and Mesa 19.0+ (or Mesa 19.1+ for RADV Vulkan support) as well as NVIDIA offering G-SYNC Compatible Linux support, if you have been desiring a FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync display but are on a limited budget, LG has an interesting 24-inch contender... A 4K FreeSync-supported display for just $219 USD?!?

Fedora 30 Performance Is Moving In The Right Direction But A Lot Of Untapped Potential

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Yesterday we began with our preliminary performance benchmarks of Fedora 30. From those results Intel Core i9 and AMD Threadripper systems and what we're seeing on other systems in the labs, Fedora 30 indeed is coming out generally slightly faster than Fedora 29 when looking at the performance overall. In some cases the performance is much better thanks to GCC 9 and other upgrades, but overall it's a small, modest performance improvement. While that's better than seeing Fedora 30 running slower than its predecessor, there still is more potential to squeeze out of the system.

With the Intel Core i9 7980XE system as a high-performance reference system, here are some additional data points comparing those Fedora 29 and Fedora 30 results to Ubuntu 19.04, openSUSE Tumbleweed (with its GNOME desktop option, to match the other operating systems tested), and Clear Linux for seeing how those distributions compete with the new Fedora Linux.

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Graphics: OpenBLAS, Mesa, OpenCL

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  • OpenBLAS 0.3.6 Boosts AMD Zen Performance For GEMM, Other CPU Optimizations

    A new release of OpenBLAS is now available, the widely-used open-source BLAS implementation for optimized linear algebra kernels. With OpenBLAS 0.3.6, work has continued on maximizing the BLAS performance for a variety of CPU architectures.

    OpenBLAS 0.3.6 is shipping with CMake build system improvements, various POWER optimizations, support for the HiSilicon TSV110 processors, disabling of the AVX-512 DGEMM kernel once again due to unsolved problems, auto-detection for Intel Denverton CPUs, auto-detection for Hygon Dhyana Zen CPUs, and improved GEMM performance on AMD Zen processors.

  • Mesa 19.1 Flipping On Fast Color Clears For Intel Gen 11 Graphics

    While it's looking like we are months out from seeing Intel "Gen 11" graphics in any Icelake parts and the Iris Gallium3D driver should be the default driver before year's end, the current "i965" Mesa driver has enabled fast color clears support for these next-generation graphics processors.

    The Iris Gallium3D driver should be the default by year's end, roughly when we expect to see the first of the Icelake mobile processors. But with the i965 Mesa driver already offering Gen11 support currently, the support will likely be left in there for the foreseeable future until if/when Intel decides to drop support for Broadwell "Gen 8" graphics and newer when the Iris Gallium3D driver is so mature there is no reason left to use this current driver except for pre-Gen8 graphics support.

  • Intel Is Looking For Feedback On Their Open-Source OpenCL Linux Driver Support

    In addition to investing in their new "Iris" Gallium3D OpenGL driver and continuing to mature their "ANV" Vulkan driver, they do continue bolstering their OpenCL "NEO" open-source Linux driver that doesn't receive as much attention by the community but is beginning to appear within Linux distribution repositories as the successor to their earlier "Beignet" OpenCL driver.

    Intel open-sourced their OpenCL "NEO" driver at the start of 2018 and it's made rapid progress on OpenCL 2.x support, maturing their LLVM compiler back-end, and all-around being a fairly well-rounded driver that is now arguably more mature than the former Beignet driver.

Strange Brigade Is Running Well On Linux Via Steam Play - Benchmarks With 22 NVIDIA/AMD Graphics Cards

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Strange Brigade is a third-person shooter game released last August for Microsoft Windows and game consoles. This game is powered by Rebellion Developments' Asura Engine and while there is no native Linux port, is running well on Linux via Steam Play. Here are benchmarks with twenty-two different graphics cards looking at the current performance on Ubuntu Linux.

A Phoronix reader pointed out that Strange Brigade is now running on Linux. While I hadn't been familiar with the game myself, it was pointed out that it's benchmark-friendly and meets my requirements around benchmarking. After picking up the game, I was indeed pleased to see this latest title running so smoothly along the likes of F1 2018 and DiRT Rally 2.0. I ran some initial benchmarks of this game when using Ubuntu 19.04 with the Linux 5.0 kernel and testing with Mesa 19.1-devel (via the Padoka PPA) on the Radeon graphics cards and the NVIDIA 430.09 beta driver with the GeForce GPUs.

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Kernel: Linux 5.2 Optimisation, Gold Edition Ryzen & Radeon VII Products, Mesa 19.1 Coming

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  • Linux 5.2 Optimization To Help With Unnecessary Cache Line Movements & TLB Misses

    VMware can be thanked for one of the performance optimizations coming with the upcoming Linux 5.2 kernel cycle.

    VMware engineer Nadav Amit was able to rework some of the kernel's x86 TLB / memory management code to remove one of the structs from the stack. This in turn allows avoiding potential unnecessary cache line movements as well as the benefit of reduced TLB misses.

  • AMD Rolls Out Gold Edition Ryzen & Radeon VII Products For 50th Anniversary

    Confirming recent leaks, AMD today announced the Ryzen 7 2700X Gold Edition and Radeon VII Gold Edition products in marking the 50th anniversary of Advanced Micro Devices.

    These two Gold Edition products will come with a game bundle of Tom Clancy's The Division 2 and World War Z. Those aren't native Linux games but at least can become relevant with Steam Play on Linux. The Gold Edition Ryzen 7 2700X features Lisa Su's signature on the processor cover and gold "AMD50" packaging. The Radeon VII Gold Edition meanwhile features a red shroud and gold AMD50 packaging.

  • Mesa Is About To Crack 2.7 Million Lines

    With Mesa 19.1 due to see its code branched this week and that marks the start of the feature freeze and release dance ahead of the official debut in late May, here are some development stats for the current state of the Mesa3D code-base.

    Mesa as of this morning is up to 110,452 commits from more than 900 different developers. In the Git repository are more than 6,300 files consisting of nearly 2.7 million lines -- primarily of code but also documentation, build system scripts, etc.

Fedora 30 Is Performing Great - Intel Core i9 & AMD Threadripper Benchmarks

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As the first of our benchmarks for Fedora 30 that is set to be released on Tuesday, here are some benchmarks comparing Fedora 29, Fedora 29 with current updates, and Fedora 30 on Intel Core i9 7980XE and AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX HEDT platforms. Fedora 30 benchmarks on other systems are coming as well.

I've been running the final Fedora 30 release candidate image on several different systems over the past few days. Across all the systems tested thus far, Fedora 30 has been running great and performing well. The out-of-the-box configuration for Fedora 30 is with the GNOME Shell 3.32.1 desktop on Wayland, Linux 5.0.9, Mesa 19.0.2, Python 3.7.3, and the GCC 9.0.1 compiler as the prominent components worth mentioning.

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Kernel: AMD Graphics, Thunderbolt and Logitech in Linux 5.2

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  • AMDKFD Has A Big Batch Of Improvements For The Mainline Linux Kernel

    There hasn't been much to report on recently for Radeon's AMDKFD driver that serves as the kernel code for the Radeon GPU compute stack and part of the company's ROCm offering. AMDKFD work hasn't let up but has just been queuing for a while in the amd-kfd-staging Git branch and now there are a host of improvements to be mainlined. 


    The patches are out there for testing. It remains to be seen if this work will still get pulled into DRM-Next for the upcoming Linux 5.2 cycle considering the period of new material to DRM-Next is largely over, but we'll see if it squeezes in otherwise is delayed until Linux 5.3. As well, come Linux 5.3 hopefully we'll see Navi support in tow.

  • AMD’s Navi GPUs Confirmed to Retain GCN Design

    AMD has already started developing drivers for Navi on the Linux platform. The latest bit of code shows Navi to continue the trend of GCN-based GPUs.


    Phoronix claims Navi support is unlikely to be seen within the upcoming Linux 5.2 Kernel and may be held back until the Linux 5.3 Kernel release. The current release windows for Linux 5.3 stable is the September release. The Linux 5.3 kernel may be the first Linux kernel bringing mainstream Navi support, and assuming Navi releases sometime between May and July, we may not see much support for these GPUs until Linux 5.3 is released. Until then, Linux users may be required to jump through some hoops to get their shiny new Navi GPUs working properly.

  • Older Apple Hardware To See More Featureful Thunderbolt Support With Linux 5.2

    For those running Linux on older Apple MacBook Pros and other Macs sporting Thunderbolt 1/2 controllers, there is better support for them coming with the upcoming Linux 5.2 kernel cycle. 

    Intel's Mika Westerberg has finished up work on a number of Thunderbolt software connection manager improvements that principally benefit the older Apple hardware.

  • A Number Of Logitech Mouse/Keyboard Support Improvements Coming To Linux 5.2

    With next month's Linux 5.2 kernel merge window there are a number of notable improvements queued up for improving the Logitech hardware support. 

    Queued as part of the HID-Next tree for the Linux 5.2 kernel are several user-facing improvements primarily around wireless keyboard/mice support.

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As it can be seen in the first graph, perhaps with some difficulty, is that the percent of arch-dependent packages built for riscv64 (grey line) has been around or higher than 80% since mid 2018, just a few months after the port was added to the infrastructure. Given than the arch-dependent packages are about half of the Debian['s main, unstable] archive and that (in simple terms) arch-independent packages can be used by all ports (provided that the software that they rely on is present, e.g. a programming language interpreter), this means that around 90% of packages of the whole archive has been available for this architecture from early on. Read more

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Software: Synapse, Qmmp and LibreOffice

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    Mac OS is everybody’s favorite, and there are several reasons behind it. One of the most useful utilities you can find on Mac OS is Spotlight, which makes searching for things a piece of cake, all directly from the desktop. While most developers have already designed similar utilities for Windows, the open-source Linux based operating systems are no exception, as well. Most Linux operating systems like Ubuntu have its own search functionality, but it can sometimes be troublesome to reach there and isn’t as powerful as Spotlight. So with Synapse for Linux, you can do just that, and boost the power of the search functionality on your system. With Synapse for Ubuntu, you can even search for things on the web, which is cool, as well. Some Linux distros like Lubuntu, don’t offer decent search functionality, and Synapse can be a great solution in such cases. With Synapse, searching is easy with just the navigation buttons on your keyboard, and you are ready to go. Synapse can be downloaded and installed from the Linux official repository. Synapse can also be configured to run on startup so that too don’t need to search for, and open Synapse, each time you need to use it.
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