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Graphics: Iris Xe, NVIDIA, VKD3D-Proton, Gallium/Zink

  • Intel Announces Iris Xe Desktop Graphics For OEMs

    Intel today announced Iris Xe (DG1) discrete graphics cards are coming to OEMs with ASUS and Colorful being among the initial partners. The initial Iris Xe desktop graphics cards feature 80 execution units and a 30 Watt TDP. This is not the high-end, high performance desktop graphics but seems to largely be the Xe MAX discrete laptop graphics (but with 16 less EUs) now fitted for PCI Express cards for the desktop. The OEM cards are expected to feature 4GB of LPDDR4X memory. Other details are still light.

  • Nvidia Gets Certifiable About Systems

    If the emergence of Nvidia in datacenter compute shows anything, it is the value of controlling the software stack as you come to dominate the compute – and the revenue and profits – in the hardware stack. When it comes to AI, the combination of open source frameworks from the wider AI community, which Nvidia contributes to, and closed source libraries and tools that make up the Nvidia GPU Compute software stack that is underpinned by the CUDA environment, gives Nvidia the kind of control over a complete software/hardware stack that we have not seen in the datacenter since the RISC/Unix server days of the dot-com boom and earlier with proprietary systems from IBM, DEC, and HP, as well as IBM mainframes since the dawn of the data processing age. There are some differences this time around, and they are significant. The operating system is consequential, of course, but with all AI workloads being deployed on Linux, it really doesn’t matter which one you pick. Linux is about as interchangeable as DRAM memory modules in the server and it really comes down to preferences and a few technical differentiations. And to a certain extent, the X86 server that houses the Nvidia GPUs is fairly interchangeable, too. But fi you want to make GPU compute fluid and easy, then you have to realize that not every can – or wants to – buy an Nvidia DGX-A100 or DGX-2 system. Hyperscalers and cloud builders have their own ODM suppliers, enterprises have their own OEM suppliers, and they want to be able to run the Nvidia AI stack on platforms from their suppliers rather than having to add a new vendor into the mix.

  • NVIDIA 460.39 Linux Driver Brings RTX 30 Laptop Enablement, Improved 5.10+ Kernel Support

    NVIDIA has released 460.39 as their latest stable Linux proprietary graphics driver build. With this latest NVIDIA 460 series driver is support now for the RTX 3060 / RTX 3070 / RTX 3080 laptop GPUs as well as for the low-end GeForce GT 1010.

  • VKD3D-Proton begins work to support DirectX Raytracing on Linux | GamingOnLinux

    There's a few mountains that Steam Play Proton still needs to climb over the next few years, to enable more Windows games and more features in those games to work under Linux. One big one is at least in progress. Ray Tracing being one of the big things in gaming tech now, thanks to both AMD and NVIDIA having Ray Tracing cards out in the wild. With that, we can expect more games to begin using it. Thankfully, VKD3D-Proton, which is the Valve-funded fork of vkd3d to work with Direct3D 12 has a Pull Request open with the start of the work towards supporting Ray Tracing. Keep in mind though, while exciting for Steam Play Proton users, this is far from complete and not enabled directly for games as of yet as stated in the PR "Don't expose any features to app yet, but allow overriding FL to 12.2 for local testing while bringing up DXR.".

  • Mike Blumenkrantz: Samplin

    The goal in this post is to migrate a truckload block of code I wrote to handle sampler updating out of zink and into Gallium, thereby creating several days worth of rebase work for myself but also removing a costly codepath from the driver thread. The first step in getting sampler creation to work right in zink is getting Gallium to create samplers with the correct filters in accordance with Chapter 42 of the Vulkan Spec: VK_FORMAT_FEATURE_SAMPLED_IMAGE_FILTER_LINEAR_BIT specifies that if VK_FORMAT_FEATURE_SAMPLED_IMAGE_BIT is also set, an image view can be used with a sampler that has either of magFilter or minFilter set to VK_FILTER_LINEAR, or mipmapMode set to VK_SAMPLER_MIPMAP_MODE_LINEAR. If VK_FORMAT_FEATURE_BLIT_SRC_BIT is also set, an image can be used as the srcImage to vkCmdBlitImage2KHR and vkCmdBlitImage with a filter of VK_FILTER_LINEAR. This bit must only be exposed for formats that also support the VK_FORMAT_FEATURE_SAMPLED_IMAGE_BIT or VK_FORMAT_FEATURE_BLIT_SRC_BIT. If the format being queried is a depth/stencil format, this bit only specifies that the depth aspect (not the stencil aspect) of an image of this format supports linear filtering, and that linear filtering of the depth aspect is supported whether depth compare is enabled in the sampler or not. If this bit is not present, linear filtering with depth compare disabled is unsupported and linear filtering with depth compare enabled is supported, but may compute the filtered value in an implementation-dependent manner which differs from the normal rules of linear filtering. The resulting value must be in the range [0,1] and should be proportional to, or a weighted average of, the number of comparison passes or failures.

Kernel: Moorestown, Nintendo 64, Corellium and Oracle

  • Linux Says Farewell To Intel's Smartphone Attempts With Clearing Out Moorestown / Medfield

    Not only are some old ARM platforms and some obsolete, obscure CPU architectures on the chopping block for some spring cleaning in the Linux kernel, but the Intel Moorestown and Medfield "Mobile Internet Device" platforms are being phased out from the Linux kernel this spring as well. Moorestown was Intel's early Atom platform geared for handheld mobile Internet devices and smartphones.

  • With Linux 5.12 Set To Boot On The Nintendo 64, The N64 Controller Driver Is Now Queued - Phoronix

    A few days ago we wrote about Linux 5.12 to see support for the Nintendo 64 more than two decades after that MIPS-based video game console first shipped. While the practicality of Linux on the Nintendo 64 is particularly limited given only 4~8MB of RAM and the MIPS64 NEC VR4300 clocked under 100MHz, it's going upstream and now the N64 controller driver is also queued for this next kernel cycle. The code talked about a few days ago was getting Linux to boot on the Nintendo 64. With those 200+ lines of code in the MIPS architecture space is enough to get Linux booting on the Nintendo 64 when using a Flashcart device to be able to load the arbitrary code onto the game console.

  • Corellium to offer cloud-based iOS virtualisation to individual accounts

    The company, which only recently ported Ubuntu Linux to work on Apple Silicon Macs, has announced on their blog that they will now offer their virtualisation tools for iOS to individual accounts on their CORSEC platform. Previously, only enterprise accounts could access the service, while individuals could only access virtual Android devices.

  • Getting started with SystemTap on Oracle Linux

    There are a wealth of tools available for tracing and debugging the Linux kernel on a live system. These include Kprobes, Ftrace, trace-cmd, Dtrace, eBPF, SystemTap, crash, gdb, etc. Among these tools, few allow the user to develop and re-use scripts that can filter events and collect data more than just function arguments and returned values. Dtrace, eBPF and SystemTap are the ones among these tools that do.

  • Anticipating Your Memory Needs

    The Linux kernel organizes physical memory in units of pages of a certain size called base pages. For example, the default base page size when running on Intel processors is 4KB. These pages are allocated to user and kernel tasks as they need memory. When processing large amounts of data from slower disk devices, the Linux kernel uses a page cache to cache contents, like disk blocks, to speed up access to frequently accessed data. See this article for more details on how various caches are used by the Linux kernel. This has the positive effect of improving overall system performance but the memory for page cache must come from the same memory pool that is used by rest of the system. The kernel allocates all the memory not currently in use to the page cache. As the kernel needs to allocate more memory for other tasks, it can reclaim pages from the page cache since the contents in the page cache can be restored from disk blocks when the need arises. Reclamation happens as the kernel starts to run low on free memory pages. Individual memory pages are the base pages. As pages are reclaimed, any contiguous base pages are grouped together (compaction) to form higher order pages. Higher order pages are groups of 2^n physically contiguous pages where n is the page order. Higher order pages can then be used to satisfy higher order page allocation requests, for example if an allocation request is for 8 pages, that allocation will be made from order 3 page group. The kernel recovers physical memory in the event of a shortage by page reclamation and/or compaction. Both methods are implemented in a similar fashion. As the amount of free memory falls below the low threshold (watermark), memory pages are reclaimed asynchronously via kswapd or compacted via kcompactd. If the free memory continues to fall below a minimum watermark, any allocation request is forced to perform reclamation/compaction synchronously before it can be fulfilled. The latter synchronous method is referred to as the "direct" path and is considerably slower owing to being stalled waiting for memory to be reclaimed. The corresponding stall in the caller results in a non-deterministic increased latency for the operation it is performing and is typically perceived as an impact on performance.

Debian: Ease of Use, Lomiri and More

  • Thomas Lange: Making Debian available

    This is the subject of an interesting thread on the debian-devel mailing list. It started with ".. The current policy of hiding other versions of Debian is limiting the adoption of your OS by people like me.." It seems that this user managed to contact us developers and give us some important information how we can improve the user experience. The following discussion shows that all our users need non-free firmware to get their wireless network cards run. Do we provide such installation images for our users? Sure. We build them regularly, host them on our servers, we also sign the hash sum with our official signing key. But we hide them very well and still call them unofficial. Why? I would like to have a more positive name for those images. Ubuntu has the HWE (Hardware Enablement) kernel. Maybe Debian firmware enablement images?

  • UBports: Packaging of Lomiri Operating Environment for Debian (part 04)

    Before and during FOSDEM 2020, I agreed with the people (developers, supporters, managers) of the UBports Foundation to package the Unity8 Operating Environment for Debian. Since 27th Feb 2020, Unity8 has now become Lomiri. Things got delayed a little recently as my main developer contact on the upstream side was on sick leave for a while. Fortunately, he has now fully recovered and work is getting back on track.

  • Debian's Gunnar Wolf: Back to school... As a student

    Although it was a much larger step when I made a similar announcement seven years ago, when I started my Specialization, it is still a big challenge ahead, and I am very happy to pursue this: I have been admitted to a PhD program at UNAM, the university I have worked at for almost 20 years, and one of the top universities in Latin America. What program will I be part of? Doctorado en Ciencia e Ingeniería de la Computación (Computer Science and Engineering Doctorate… Quite a broad program name, yes, sounds like anything goes).

  • [Debian-based] SteamTinkerLaunch – SparkyLinux

    There is a new application available for Sparkers: SteamTinkerLaunch

The first release candidate of NomadBSD 1.4 is now available!

We are pleased to present the first release candidate of NomadBSD 1.4. Read more