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Linux Graphics: RISC-V/Think Silicon, ELC Europe and Mesa

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  • Think Silicon® demonstrates early preview of Industry’s first RISC-V ISA based 3D GPU at the RISC-V Summit

    Think Silicon, recognized for the successful ultra-low power NEMA® GPU-Series for MCU driven SoCs, announced the demonstration of the industry’s first RISC-V ISA based 3D GPU -- the NEOX|V™. Attendees at the RISC-V Summit, in San Jose, California, will have the first opportunity to witness this new GPU innovation designed for the rapid deployment of Computer Graphics, Machine Learning and open GPGPU compute framework applications.

    Offering a myriad of flexible possibilities, NEOX|V ™ IP is designed to be easily configured for applications such as computer graphics, machine learning, vision/video processing and general-purpose compute. The new offering provides a platform for implementation in multiple embedded and external devices across many consumer and industrial vertical markets including Graphics, Compute, and AI for IoT/Edge/Compute.

  • NEOX V Announced By Think Silicon As First RISC-V 3D GPU

    While there has been the Libre RISC-V community-driven effort to create a RISC-V graphics processor that basically amounts to a RISC-V core with vector extensions/improvements and running a Vulkan software implementation (though they are now reportedly eyeing POWER instead of RISC-V), Think Silicon has announced the first actual RISC-V ISA based 3D graphics processor.

  • ELCE Lyon: Everything Great About Upstream Graphics

    At ELC Europe in Lyon I held a nice little presentation about the state of upstream graphics drivers, and how absolutely awesome it all is. Of course with a big focus on SoC and embedded drivers. Slides and the video recording

  • Mesa Adds Option For Changing Intel's OpenGL Driver Default

    While originally Intel planned to transition their OpenGL driver default to the modern "Iris" Gallium3D driver rather than the longstanding "i965" DRI driver for Mesa 19.3, that was pushed back to Mesa 20.0 for introduction in Q1'2020. In aiming to make that revised milestone a reality, a new option has been added to Mesa 20.0 with the Meson build system for being able to indicate the Intel OpenGL driver preference.

    The plan is for Mesa 20.0 to default to their new Gallium3D driver with Broadwell "Gen8" graphics and newer, including Icelake "Gen11". It's with Tiger Lake "Gen12" graphics where there is only support being implemented anyhow on this Gallium3D driver and not the older i965 OpenGL driver. As it stands right now when building Mesa, the i965 driver is used by default and then an environment variable allows overriding the driver to load in order to use Iris Gallium3D.

FreeBSD 12.1 Runs Refreshingly Well With AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X - Benchmarks Against Windows + Linux

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For those of you interested in AMD's new Ryzen Threadripper 3960X/3970X processors with TRX40 motherboards for running FreeBSD, the experience in our initial testing has been surprisingly pleasant. In fact, it works out-of-the-box which one could argue is better than the current Linux support that needs the MCE workaround for booting. Here are some benchmarks of FreeBSD 12.1 on the Threadripper 3970X compared to Linux and Windows for this new HEDT platform.

It was refreshing to see FreeBSD 12.1 booting and running just fine with the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 32-core/64-thread processor from the ASUS ROG ZENITH II EXTREME motherboard and all core functionality working including the PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD storage, onboard networking, etc. The system was running with 4 x 16GB DDR4-3600 memory, 1TB Corsair Force MP600 NVMe SSD, and Radeon RX 580 graphics. It was refreshing to see FreeBSD 12.1 running well with this high-end AMD Threadripper system considering Linux even needed a boot workaround.

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Graphics: VirtIO-GPU and vkBasalt

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  • virtio gpu status and plans

    Time for a status update for virtio-gpu development, so lets go ...

    Before we begin: If you want follow development and discussions more closely head over to the virgl project at freedesktop gitlab. Git repos are there, most discussions are happening in gitlab issues.


    Little change to reduce image data copying. Currently resources have a guest and a host buffer, and there are transfer commands to copy data between the two. Shared mappings allow the host to use the guest buffer directly.

    On the guest side this is pretty simple, the guest only needs to inform the host that a shared mapping for the given resource -- so the host might see changes without explicit transfer commands -- is fine.

    On the host side this is a bit more involved. Qemu will create a dma-buf for the resource, using the udmabuf driver. Which in turn allows qemu create a linear mapping of the resource, even if it is scattered in guest memory. That way the resource can be used directly (i.e. a pixman image created for it, ...)

    Status: Almost ready to be submitted upstream.

  • VirtIO-GPU Working Towards Vulkan Support, Other Features For Graphics In VMs

    Linux virtualization developer Gerd Hoffmann laid out some of the VirtIO-GPU happenings. Among the features being pursued are shared mappings to reduce image data copying, blob resources, metadata query for querying host render capabilities/requirements, host memory support to implement coherent memory and other features, and then lastly is the Vulkan support. But it's still likely to be some time until the Vulkan VirtIO-GPU/Virgl support is ready for any end-user usage.

  • vkBasalt, the Vulkan post-processing layer has another new release with new effects

    Adding a little extra visual enhancement to games on Linux is getting more interesting, with the help of the Vulkan post-processing layer vkBasalt which has a new build up.

    Recently, they put up a new build enabling SMAA support and yesterday another new version was released to expand it even further.

    Available in version 0.2.1 is a new "Deband/Dithering" effect and you can now also change SMAA settings in the configuration file. You might also see it having less of a performance impact, as the settings are now "applied at pipeline creation". There's also been some changes to the Shader Directory and Config File, with both having multiple possible locations where they can rest to help with distribution specific packages.

Windows 10 vs. Linux Performance On The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X

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The new AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X is performing faster on Linux than Microsoft Windows 10. When carrying out more than 80 different tests on Windows 10 compared to five Linux distributions, Windows 10 was beat out by the open-source competition. However, the performance loss for Windows isn't as dramatic as we have seen out of earlier generations of Ryzen Threadripper HEDT workstations. Here are those benchmarks of Windows 10 compared to Ubuntu 19.10, CentOS 8, Clear Linux, Fedora Workstation 31, and openSUSE Tumbleweed.

This is our first cross-operating-system look at the Threadripper 3970X since it was released last week. All five tested Linux distributions installed fine when using the MCE workaround to boot. There were no other problems to report for hardware compatibility with this Zen 2 HEDT system on the different Linux distributions. The hardware used for all of this Windows/Linux testing was the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X at stock speeds, ASUS ROG ZENITH II EXTREME TRX40 motherboard, 4 x 16GB Corsair DDR4-3600MHz memory, 1TB Corsair Force MP600 NVMe SSD, Radeon RX 580 graphics, NZXT Kraken water cooling, and a Thermaltake Toughpower 1250 Watt power supply.

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Compiz Sees New Update Ahead Of The Holidays - But It's Mainly Bug Fixing

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Over a decade ago all the Linux desktop rage was over the likes of Compiz, Beryl, Compiz Fusion, and the like... Ah the memories. But to much surprise, Compiz saw a new release today. Compiz isn't the most exciting update, but the project is still alive.

Back in February marked the release of Compiz 0.9.14 as the first upstream release to the project in two years. Meanwhile today is a point release on top of that providing various fixes.

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Original message:

  • Compiz released
    Yesterday I released Compiz
    This is mostly a bug-fix release. The changes from are:
    - Several bugs in CCSM have been fixed, including a crash when plugin
      descriptions contain non-ASCII characters.
    - Fixed build failure with GCC 9 because of format-truncation warning.
    - CCSM is now compatible with Python 3.8.
    - Fixed gtk-window-decorator crash with Cairo theme.
    - Removed MATE configuration. See the merge proposal [1] for details.
    Also, compiz is now translatable on Launchpad. Feel free to contribute on [2].
    The imported translation files are based on the previous work from Ubuntu.
    The tarball for the new release can be downloaded at [3].
    Please report any bugs you have found to our bug tracker [4].
    I want to thank Alberts Muktupāvels for his work on this release.
    Dmitry Shachnev

mesa 19.3.0-rc5

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Hi list,

Mesa 19.3.0-rc5 is now available as the latest release in the 19.3 series. This
is a pretty small release, likely due to tomorrow being a major US holiday. The
majority of the changes are for radv, but there's a few other bits and pieces
here too: v3d, r600, freedreno, and old intel, just to name a few.



Alejandro Piñeiro (1):
      v3d: adds an extra MOV for any sig.ld*

Bas Nieuwenhuizen (2):
      radv: Do not change scratch settings while shaders are active.
      radv: Allocate cmdbuffer space for buffer marker write.

Dave Airlie (1):
      llvmpipe/ppc: fix if/ifdef confusion in backport.

Dylan Baker (1):
      VERSION: Bump version for -rc5

Eric Engestrom (1):
      vulkan: delete typo'd header

Gert Wollny (1):
      r600: Disable eight bit three channel formats

Hyunjun Ko (1):
      freedreno/ir3: fix printing output registers of FS.

Ian Romanick (1):
      intel/fs: Disable conditional discard optimization on Gen4 and Gen5

Jose Maria Casanova Crespo (1):
      v3d: Fix predication with atomic image operations

Timothy Arceri (3):
      radv: add some infrastructure for fresh forks for each secure compile
      radv: add a secure_compile_open_fifo_fds() helper
      radv: create a fresh fork for each pipeline compile

Yevhenii Kolesnikov (2):
      glsl: Enable textureSize for samplerExternalOES
      meson: Fix linkage of libgallium_nine with libgalliumvl

Zebediah Figura (1):
      Revert "draw: revert using correct order for prim decomposition."

git tag: mesa-19.3.0-rc5

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Also: Mesa 19.3-RC5 Brings RADV Secure Compile Update, Other Fixes

Linux (Kernel) and Graphics Leftovers

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  • Linux 5.5 Staging Changes Land With New WiFi Driver To Improved exFAT Support

    Greg Kroah-Hartman mailed in the staging area changes today for the Linux 5.5 kernel and they have already been pulled into mainline.

    Among the staging activity work this cycle for Linux 5.5 includes:

    - The new WFX WiFi driver for Silicon Labs WF200 ASICs that are focused on low-power IoT hardware use-cases.

  • AMD's RadeonSI Driver Finally Enables OpenGL 4.6 But You Need To First Enable NIR

    The OpenGL 4.6 extension is nearly two and a half years old while finally the open-source Mesa OpenGL drivers are catching up to this latest OpenGL revision that offers Vulkan/SPIR-V interoperability and other additions.

    Last quarter's Mesa 19.2 release brought OpenGL 4.6 for core Mesa and Intel's i965/Iris drivers while tonight in Mesa 20.0-devel Git is support for RadeonSI! The AMD open-source OpenGL Linux driver can finally have GL 4.6!

  • AMDVLK 2019.Q4.3 Released With New Extensions + Navi 14 Support

    AMD's Vulkan driver team has today volleyed their third open-source "AMDVLK" code drop of the quarter. This AMDVLK 2019.Q4.3 driver comes with new extensions as well as Navi 14 enablement.

    Supported by AMDVLK 2019.Q4.3 is VK_EXT_pipeline_creation_feedback and VK_EXT_shader_demote_to_helper_invocation. EXT_pipeline_creation_feedback provides a feedback loop to the application/engine for use with pipeline caching as the principal benefit while the EXT_shader_demote_to_helper_invocation extension is for allowing behavior similar to Direct3D's HLSL discard instruction.

Intel Nehalem vs. Ice Lake Benchmarks - Including Clock + Power + Thermal Metrics

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As part of the exciting benchmark week and our ongoing tests of Intel Ice Lake on Linux, this next piece has been driven out of curiosity... While recently I posted new benchmark results of Intel Haswell to Ice Lake laptop performance, what about going further back like to the days of Nehalem? Here is that comparison of Core i7 Nehalem to Core i7 Ice Lake including power / performance-per-Watt data, thermal, and performance-per-MHz data too. Enjoy this fun comparison for how the Intel mobile performance on Ubuntu has evolved over the past decade.

The Nehalem part used is the ten-year-old Core i7 720QM "Clarksfield" processor. This CPU offers four cores / eight threads, 1.6GHz base frequency, 2.8GHz turbo frequency, a 6MB cache, and a 45 Watt TDP. Clarksfield is the mobile variants while Lynnfield made up the desktop side for the 45nm Nehalem microarchitecture.

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300+ Benchmarks With AMD Threadripper 3960X vs. Intel Core i9 10980XE

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Complementing our launch-day Intel Core i9 10980XE and AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X/3970X Linux benchmarks, here is much more data now that we've had the additional time for carrying out more tests... For your viewing pleasure this US holiday week are more than 330 benchmarks carried out on both the Core i9 10980XE and Threadripper 3960X in the same configuration while running Ubuntu Linux.

For getting a more diverse idea of where the Core i9 10980XE Cascade Lake X and Ryzen Threadripper 3960X trade blows, I fired up a much broader set of benchmarks for comparison on these HEDT systems. Yes, the Ryzen 9 3950X is priced more comparatively to the i9-10980XE, but I was never sent a review sample of that processor so am using the 3960X for now -- if I get my hands on said processor, I'll certainly have a similar comparison on that front.

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Graphics: Radeon, DRM in Wayland/Weston and X.Org's Modesetting Driver Gets Smarter

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  • Radeon ROCm 2.10 Released With SUSE 15 SP1 Support, rocBLAS For Complex GEMM

    While AMD announced ROCm 3.0 earlier this month at SuperComputing 19 as the next major iteration to Radeon Open Compute, it looks like they aren't quite ready to ship it and instead released ROCm 2.10.

    ROCm 3.0 support was noted in their SC19 press release with having new HIP-clang improvements for better running CUDA codes on Radeon GPUs, expanded HPC programming model support with the likes of OpenMP / NAMD / LAMMPS, and new support for system/workload deployment tools like Kubernetes. ROCm 3.0 sounds like it should be a great release, thus surprising today they diverted to releasing ROCm 2.10.

  • Wayland's Weston 8.0 Bringing Direct-Display Extension, HDCP On DRM Back-End + More

    Simon Ser has stepped up again to manage the upcoming release of the Weston 8.0 Wayland reference compositor. No Wayland update itself is planned with nothing real to release at this point, but Weston 8.0 should arrive before the end of January.

    For making a January release target for Weston 8.0, Simon has laid out plans for the initial alpha release around 6 December, a beta release on 20 December, and the first release candidate on 17 January. If all goes well with Weston 8.0 RC1, the actual release could be on or around 24 January.

  • X.Org's Modesetting Driver Gets Smarter - Queries Mesa For Which GL Driver To Use

    There is a list of PCI ID driver mappings that has needed to be maintained for correlating graphics hardware to the respective DRI driver that should be loaded. That's been another maintenance burden and rather vintage, but now a modern solution has landed thanks to Intel's Ken Graunke. Since earlier this year has been the MESA_query_driver EGL extension for being able to query the name of the running 3D/OpenGL driver on the system. EGL_MESA_query_driver is now being used for dynamically querying the driver that was loaded by Mesa rather than having to duplicate the PCI ID driver mapping logic within X.Org Server.

    Besides the burden of having to maintain multiple graphics PCI ID mappings in 2019, the motivation for Graunke to get this change made is for Intel's transition to the "Iris" Gallium3D driver he has been leading. With Intel Gen12 / Tiger Lake graphics, only Iris is supported and starting with Mesa 20.0 they intend to default to this Gallium3D driver over the "i965" classic driver. Rather than having to work this logic into their mapping for the xorg-server, EGL_MESA_query_driver can simply leverage the logic from Mesa's driver loader.

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