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Linux Kernel, Linux Foundation and Graphics

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • The final step for huge-page swapping

    For many years, Linux system administrators have gone out of their way to avoid swapping. The advent of nonvolatile memory is changing the equation, though, and swapping is starting to look interesting again — if it can perform well enough. That is not the case in current kernels, but a longstanding project to allow the swapping of transparent huge pages promises to improve that situation considerably. That work is reaching its final stage and might just enter the mainline soon.

    The use of huge pages can improve the performance of the system significantly, so the kernel works hard to make them available. The transparent huge pages mechanism collects application data into huge pages behind the scenes, and the memory-management subsystem as a whole works hard to ensure that appropriately sized pages are available. When it comes time to swap out a process's pages, though, all of that work is discarded, and a huge page is split back into hundreds of normal pages to be written out. When swapping was slow and generally avoided, that didn't matter much, but it is a bigger problem if one wants to swap to a fast device and maintain performance.

  • Revisiting the MAP_SHARED_VALIDATE hack

    One of the the most commonly repeated mistakes in system-call design is a failure to check for unknown flags wherever flags are accepted. If there is ever a point where callers can get away with setting unknown flags, then adding new flags becomes a hazardous act. In the case of mmap(), though, developers found a clever way around this problem. A recent discussion has briefly called that approach into question, though, and raised the issue of what constitutes a kernel regression. No changes are forthcoming as a result, but the discussion does provide an opportunity to look at both the specific hack and how the kernel community decides whether a change is a regression or not.

    Back in 2017, several developers were trying to figure out a way to safely allow direct user-space access to files stored on nonvolatile memory devices. The hardware allows this memory to be addressed directly by the processor, but any changes could go astray if the filesystem were to move blocks around at the same time. The solution that arose was a new mmap() flag called MAP_SYNC. When a file is mapped with this flag set (and the file is stored on a nonvolatile memory device), the kernel will take extra care to ensure that access to the mapping and filesystem-level changes will not conflict with each other. As far as applications are concerned, using this flag solves the problem.

  • Take Our Survey on Open Source Programs

    Please take eight minutes to complete this survey. The results will be shared publicly on The New Stack, and The Linux Foundation’s GitHub page.

  • Mesa 18.1.4 release candidate

    Mesa 18.1.4 is planned for release this Friday, July 13th, at or around 10 AM PDT.

  • Mesa 18.1.4 Being Prepared With Intel Fixes & A Couple For Radeon

    Another routine Mesa 18.1. point release is being prepared while waiting for the August debut of the Mesa 18.2 feature update.

    Dylan Baker, the Mesa 18.1 release manager and his first stab at the task, has announced the Mesa 18.1.4 release candidate today. In its current form, Mesa 18.1.4 is comprised of just over two dozen patches.

  • Pre-AMDGPU xf86-video-ati X.Org Driver Sees A Round Of Improvements

    It's rare in recent years to have anything to report on xf86-video-ati, the X.Org driver for the display/2D experience for pre-GCN Radeon graphics cards. But this week has been a large batch of fixes and improvements for those using this DDX driver with pre-HD7000 series hardware.

    Longtime Radeon Linux driver developer Michel Dänzer has landed a number of commits already this week of various fixes/cleanups, some of which were inspired by the xf86-video-amdgpu DDX driver that is used for current-generation hardware with the AMDGPU kernel driver (unless using xf86-video-modesetting...).

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • How Software Is Helping Big Companies Dominate
    Antitrust deserves the attention it’s getting, and the tech platforms raise important questions. But the rise of big companies — and the resulting concentration of industries, profits, and wages — goes well beyond tech firms and is about far more than antitrust policy. In fact, research suggests that big firms are dominating through their use of software. In 2011, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen declared that “software is eating the world.” Its appetizer seems to have been smaller companies. [...] This model, where proprietary software pairs with other strengths to form competitive advantage, is only becoming more common. Years ago, one of us (James) started a company that sold publishing software. The business model was to write the software and then sell licenses to publishers. That model still exists, including in online publishing where companies like Automattic, maker of the open source content management system WordPress, sell hosting and related services to publishers. One-off licenses have given way to monthly software-as-a-service subscriptions, but this model still fits with Carr’s original thesis: software companies make technology that other companies pay for, but from which they seldom derive unique advantage. That’s not how Vox Media does it. Vox is a digital publishing company known, in part, for its proprietary content management system. Vox does license its software to some other companies (so far, mostly non-competitors), but it is itself a publisher. Its primary business model is to create content and sell ads. It pairs proprietary publishing software with quality editorial to create competitive advantage. Venture capitalist Chris Dixon has called this approach the “full-stack startup.” “The old approach startups took was to sell or license their new technology to incumbents,” says Dixon. “The new, ‘full stack’ approach is to build a complete, end-to-end product or service that bypasses incumbents and other competitors.” Vox is one example of the full-stack model. The switch from the software vendor model to the full-stack model is seen in government statistics. Since 1998, the share of firm spending on software that goes to pre-packaged software (the vendor model) has been declining. Over 70% of the firms’ software budgets goes to code developed in-house or under custom contracts. And the amount they spend on proprietary software is huge — $250 billion in 2016, nearly as much as they invested in physical capital net of depreciation.
  • Metsä Wood - Open Source Wood Winner: ClipHut Structural Building System
  • Shutting the open sauce bottle
    While open source software has revolutionised the enterprise software world, a few people are starting to wonder if its very nature will survive the age of the cloud. The concept that software can be used by pretty much anyone for pretty much anything is causing its developers big problems in the era of distributed cloud computing services. Two open-source software companies have decided to alter the licences under which some of their software is distributed, with the expressed intent of making it harder -- or impossible -- for cloud computing providers to offer a service based around that software.
  • How do we handle and use such enormous amounts of data?
    How many gigabytes of data did we (the people of Earth) create yesterday? ...brain. is. thinking... More than 2.5 billion! And it's growing. Yes, it's hard for us to wrap our human brains around it. So, the question the Command Line Heros podcast deals with this week is: How do we handle and use such enormous amounts of data?
  • Security updates for Tuesday

Linux Leftovers

  • Sorry, Linux. Kubernetes is now the OS that matters [Ed: Mac Asay does't know what an operating system is. This is what happens when people with a law degree write about technology. And he trolls Linux for clicks.]
  • Clear Linux Making Progress With Encrypted Installations
    One of the features I've personally been looking forward to is the official support for encrypted installations with Clear Linux. While many don't view it as a particular desktop distribution, it does have all of the packages I personally need for my main production system. So I've been wanting to see how well it could work out as my main desktop OS and to chronicle that experience. Having official support for encrypted installations has been one of the last blockers for my requirements. You can currently setup Clear on an encrypted installation manually, but for simplicity and wanting to keep to the "official" installation routes, I've been waiting for them to officially support encrypted installs... Especially in this day and age, anyone installing a desktop Linux distribution particularly on a mobile/laptop/ultrabook should really be doing a full-disk encryption.
  • The Linux Throwie: A Non-Spacefaring Satellite
    Throwies occupy a special place in hardware culture — a coin cell battery, LED, and a magnet that can be thrown into an inaccessible place and stick there as a little beacon of colored light. Many of us will fondly remember this as a first project. Alas, time marches inevitably on, and launching cheerful lights no longer teaches me new skills. With a nod to those simpler times, I’ve been working on the unusual idea of building a fully functional server that can be left in remote places and remain functional, like a throwie (please don’t actually throw it). It’s a little kooky, yet should still deliver a few years of occasional remote access if you leave it somewhere with sunlight.
  • OnePlus To Launch 5G Phone In 2019; $100 Costlier Than OnePlus 6T
  • OnePlus Releases OxygenOS Open Beta 7, OnePlus Roaming Launched
    Chinese company OnePlus has released the new OxygenOS Open Beta 7 for its OnePlus 6 smartphone, which has introduced several updates and features.

OSS: Development and Conferences

  • Give your students edit access to their course syllabus
    I wanted to give students more agency in their learning. So I let them make pull requests against the syllabus. [...] This exercise was a learning experience for both my students and me, as we clearly had different visions of what constituted a "disruption." While we all agreed that students should pay attention to the instructor and engage in all classroom activities, students thought they should be able to take "important" calls during class time and that texting during class was acceptable. I thought that cell phones should be turned off entirely during class. Students also thought that leaving the classroom to get a drink without asking permission was acceptable, while I thought that they should handle thirst needs before or after class. This resulted in a discussion about professionalism and the expectations associated with college-level work. We discussed what constituted a distraction and agreed that making sounds, whispering, and talking in class all counted as distractions. This in turn led to a discussion of the impacts distractions can have on a learning environment and the importance of paying attention in class. We also explored the impact various learning technologies can have on a classroom—for example, the tools students with disabilities require to fully participate in class, such as a screen reader—and agreed that noise generated by these was acceptable under the policy we intended to construct.
  • Open source tools to consider for your RESTful APIs
    At the start of a RESTful API development project, a software team might be tempted to buy an expensive commercial API management tool when an open source tool can just as easily do the trick. In fact, there are plenty of open source tools that can help with each stage of the API lifecycle and help get an API development program off the ground at low cost.
  • London Perl Workshop

    As london.pm celebrates its 20th anniversary, join Katherine Spice in conversation with a panel of the group's former leaders.

  • GNOME at Capitole du Libre 2018
    Last Saturday and Sunday I went to the Capitole du Libre 2018 to animate the GNOME booth and help on the Purism one.
  • Find Out the Visa Requirements to Attend oSC19
    For people planning on attending the openSUSE Conference 2019 in Nuremberg, Germany, from May 24 – 26, there are certain requirements necessary to receive a visa for those who are not a citizen of a Schengen country.

Red Hat/IBM: OpenShift and Ansible, RHEL Updates