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A Forbes Writer Spent 2 Weeks Using Ubuntu, This is What He Thought…

A classic love story — one Hollywood has yet to adapt in to major motion picture/musical starring Robert Downey Jr (I swear he’s in everything). The latest case in point? That comes courtesy of online magazine Forbes.com and its tech contributor Jason Evangelho. Jason shares his experience of using Ubuntu for a solid fortnight on a swanky Dell XPS 13 laptop. He says he was spurred into “ditching” Windows by yet another ill-timed and infuriating wait while the OS opted to install updates. “After two decades of relying on Windows I finally decided it was time for the nuclear option,” he writes. Read more

A Fresh Look At The PGO Performance With GCC 8

It's been a while since we last ran some GCC PGO benchmarks, the Profile Guided Optimizations or feedback-directed optimization technique that makes use of profiling data at run-time to improve performance of re-compiled binaries. Here are some fresh benchmarks of GCC PGO impact on a Xeon Scalable server while using the newly-released GCC 8.2 release candidate. With it being a while since our last roundabout with GCC PGO benchmarking and also a reader recently inquiring about PTS PGO testing, I ran some new tests. For those not familiar with PGO, it basically involves first compiling the code with the relevant PGO/profiling flags, running the workload under test to generate the profiling data, and then re-compiling the software while feeding that profiling data into the compiler so it can make better optimization choices. This profile-guided feedback can be quite beneficial to the compiler for making wiser code generation choices based upon that run-time data. Firefox, Chrome, and other popular software packages have been relying upon PGO-optimized release binaries for a while to offer greater performance. Read more Also: A 3.3x Performance Improvement For FLAC Audio Encoding On POWER 64-bit

Graphics: Intel/DRM-Next, ATI/AMD, and NVIDIA

  • Intel Squeezes Final Batch Of Linux 4.19 DRM Changes, Lands Icelake Display Compression
    Last week Intel sent in a "final" batch of i915 DRM driver feature updates to DRM-Next for the upcoming Linux 4.19 kernel cycle but it turns out there is one more batch of changes now focused on landing. Intel open-source graphics driver developer Rodrigo Vivi submitted their final pull request of new material for Linux 4.19.
  • 2018 Brings A New Linux X.Org Display Driver Update For The ATI RAGE 128
    Last month I wrote about a new attempt at improving the ATI RAGE 128 X.Org driver... Yes, for the for the Rage graphics cards from the late 90's in the days of AGP and PCI where core/memory clock speeds were commonly in the double digits... If you are a hobbyist fond of these vintage graphics cards and are still running with these OpenGL 1.1~1.2 capable GPUs, there is a new X.Org driver update.
  • AMDGPU Gets More Features For Linux 4.19 Kernel
    On top of AMDGPU improvements/features already staged for Linux 4.19, the AMD folks on Thursday sent in their seemingly last set of feature updates to DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window. There is certainly a lot of new DRM material queuing for Linux 4.19: if you are behind on your Phoronix reading, there will be a DRM recap next week or so on Phoronix with the cutoff for new DRM-Next material hitting its end for the upcoming 4.19 window. Thursday's Radeon/AMDGPU update just adds to this big list of changes.
  • AMDVLK Vulkan Driver Plumbs New Extensions, Lands A Number Of Fixes
    The AMD folks maintaining their official Vulkan driver code have done their common end-of-week code dump into the open-source AMDVLK Linux Vulkan driver repository across the PAL, XGL, LLVM, and SPVGEN code-bases.
  • NVIDIA 396.45 Linux Driver Fixes Vulkan Direct-To-Display & Multi-Threaded EGL Apps
    The NVIDIA Unix developers have released the 396.45 binary display driver today with just two listed bug-fixes. The NVIDIA 396.45 Linux driver has improved recovery for Vulkan direct-to-display applications (such as VR compositors or other use-cases where the Vulkan application is taking directly control of the display output) when the application hangs or crashes. This is good news in case of a problematic Linux VR experience that the display should be restored more gracefully.
  • NVIDIA pushed out two new Linux drivers recently with 396.45 and 390.77
    NVIDIA are pushing forward with improving their Linux driver in many areas, with two driver series seeing updated in the past week. The first is the 390.77 driver, part of their "long-lived branch release".

How Linux Makes Your Life Easier

There is a popular myth that Linux is complicated and hard to use by a non-techie. While there are distros and advanced Linux functionality that do require tech skills, this doesn’t mean Linux is hard to use. On the contrary, there are lots of things in the philosophy and functionality of Linux that make a user’s life easier. Read more