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Graphics/Benchmarks

Graphics Stack: PTS, Libinput and NVIDIA 440.26 Beta Linux Driver

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Phoronix Test Suite 9.2 Milestone 1 Released With Updates For macOS Benchmarking

    The first development snapshot of Phoronix Test Suite 9.2-Hurdal is now available ahead of the stable release later this quarter.

    It's been just one month since the big Phoronix Test Suite 9.0 release with a new result viewer, graphing improvements, and other result viewing enhancements and lower-level improvements. With Phoronix Test Suite 9.2 as the Q4'2019 release will be more evolutionary improvements.

  • libinput and tablet pad keys

    Upcoming in libinput 1.15 is a small feature to support Wacom tablets a tiny bit better. If you look at the higher-end devices in Wacom's range, e.g. the Cintiq 27QHD you'll notice that at the top right of the device are three hardware-buttons with icons. Those buttons are intended to open the config panel, the on-screen display or the virtual keyboard. They've been around for a few years and supported in the kernel for a few releases. But in userspace, they events from those keys were ignored, casted out in the wild before eventually running out of electrons and succumbing to misery. Well, that's all changing now with a new interface being added to libinput to forward those events.

    Step back a second and let's look at the tablet interfaces. We have one for tablet tools (styli) and one for tablet pads. In the latter, we have events for rings, strips and buttons. The latter are simply numerically ordered, so button 1 is simply button 1 with no special meaning. Anything more specific needs to be handled by the compositor/client side which is responsible for assigning e.g. keyboard shortcuts to those buttons.

  • libinput and button scrolling locks

    For a few years now, libinput has provided button scrolling. Holding a designated button down and moving the device up/down or left/right creates the matching scroll events. We enable this behaviour by default on some devices (e.g. trackpoints) but it's available on mice and some other devices. Users can change the button that triggers it, e.g. assign it to the right button. There are of course a couple of special corner cases to make sure you can still click that button normally but as I said, all this has been available for quite some time now.

  • NVIDIA have released the big new Linux Beta driver 440.26 today

    Today NVIDIA released the 440.26 Beta driver for Linux with a number of new features, enhancements and a few interesting bug fixes.

  • NVIDIA 440.26 Beta Linux Driver Brings HDMI 2.1 VRR, VP9 VDPAU Decode + Much More

    NVIDIA today introduced their first beta driver in the 440 Linux branch and it's quite an exciting release!

    The NVIDIA 440.26 Linux beta driver is out this morning and it's bringing with it many new/improved features. There is now VP9 video decoding for VDPAU, HDMI 2.1 VRR for G-SYNC Compatible, and more.

AMD EPYC vs. Intel Xeon Cascadelake With Facebook's RocksDB Database

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Graphics/Benchmarks

Following the benchmarks earlier this month looking at PostgreSQL 12.0 on AMD EPYC Rome versus Intel Xeon Cascade Lake there was interest from Phoronix readers in wondering how well Rome is doing for other modern enterprise database workloads. One of those workloads that was recently added to the Phoronix Test Suite / OpenBenchmarking.org is Facebook's RocksDB, the company's embedded database that is forked from Google LevelDB. With RocksDB being designed to exploit many CPU cores and modern SSD storage, here are some benchmarks looking at how the Xeon Platinum 8280 stacks up against various new AMD EPYC 7002 series processors.

RocksDB is a key-value embedded database solution that Facebook has been working on since 2012 in taking Google's LevelDB to the next level of performance on modern CPU/SSD servers. RocksDB is in turn also used by companies like LinkedIn, Airbnb, Pinterest, Rakuten, Uber, and others.

With RocksDB having its own performance-focused built-in benchmarks, it makes for some interesting performance comparisons on these server CPUs given its growing presence in the enterprise. Those unfamiliar with RocksDB can learn more at RocksDB.org.

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Graphics: Libdrm, AMDGPU, AR/VR and Gallium3D

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Libdrm 2.4.100 Released With Bits For Intel Elkhart Lake, Tiger Lake Graphics

    AMD open-source developer Marek Olšák on Wednesday released libdrm 2.4.100 as the newest feature update to this Mesa DRM library.

    On the AMD front there are a number of RAS tests added, a new amdgpu_cs_query_reset_state2 interface, and other expanded AMDGPU test coverage.

  • AMDGPU GFX9+ Format Modifiers Being Worked On For Better DCC Handling

    RADV Vulkan driver developer Bas Nieuwenhuizen of Google has ventured into kernel space in working on format modifiers support for Vega/GFX9 and newer.

    This DRM format modifiers support for GFX9+ is being worked on for helping to evaluate when delta color compression (DCC) can be used and any other requirements around that DCC handling. Bas explained, "This is particularly useful to determine if we can use DCC, and whether we need an extra display compatible DCC metadata plane."

  • Free software support for virtual and augmented reality

    A talk at the recent X.Org Developers Conference in Montréal, Canada looked at support for "XR" in free software. XR is an umbrella term that includes both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). In the talk, Joey Ferwerda and Christoph Haag from Collabora gave an overview of XR and the Monado project that provides support for those types of applications.

    Ferwerda started by defining the term "HMD", which predates VR and AR. It is a head-mounted display, which basically means "taking a screen and some sensors and duct-taping it to your face". All of the devices that are being used for XR are HMDs. They typically include some kind of tracking system to determine the position and orientation of the HMD itself. Multiple different technologies, including inertial measurement units (IMUs), photodiodes, lasers, and cameras, are used to do the tracking depending on the device and its use case.

    AR is intended to augment the real world with extra information; the user sees the real world around them, but various kinds of status and additional data is tagged to objects or locations in their view of the world. AR is a rather over-hyped technology these days, he said. The general idea is that users would wear glasses that would augment their view in some fashion, but, unfortunately, what most people think of as AR is Pokémon Go.

    VR uses two screens, one for each eye, to create a 3D world that the user inhabits and can interact with in some fashion. Instead of seeing the real world, the user sees a completely separate world. There are two words that are often used to describe the feel of VR, he said: "presence" and "immersion". That means users are aware of themselves as being part of the VR environment.

    XR encompasses both. Ferwerda said that he is not really sure what the "X" stands for; he has heard "cross reality" and "mixed reality" for XR. Haag said that "extended reality" was another definition that he had heard.

  • Intel Now Aiming For Gallium3D OpenGL Default For Mesa 20.0

    For the better part of two years now Intel has been working on this new "Iris" Gallium3D driver for supporting Broadwell "Gen8" graphics and newer as the eventual replacement to their long-standing i965 classic driver. With Tiger Lake "Gen12" Xe graphics, it's in fact Iris Gallium3D only. In our testing of Broadwell through the *lakes, this Gallium3D driver has been working out terrific on Mesa 19.2 stable and Mesa 19.3 development. But it looks like Intel is going to play it safe and punt the default change-over to next quarter's Mesa 20.0 cycle.

A Quick Look At EXT4 vs. ZFS Performance On Ubuntu 19.10 With An NVMe SSD

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Graphics/Benchmarks

For those thinking of playing with Ubuntu 19.10's new experimental ZFS desktop install option in opting for using ZFS On Linux in place of EXT4 as the root file-system, here are some quick benchmarks looking at the out-of-the-box performance of ZFS/ZoL vs. EXT4 on Ubuntu 19.10 using a common NVMe solid-state drive.

Given Canonical has brought ZFS support to its Ubiquity desktop installer as an easy-to-deploy option for running on this popular file-system, for this initial round of testing from Ubuntu 19.10 a lone NVMe SSD is being used (Corsair Force MP600) as opposed to doing any multi-disk setups, etc, where ZFS is more common due to its rich feature set.

Clean installs of Ubuntu 19.10 were done both with EXT4 and ZFS while using the stock mount options / settings each time. The ZoL support in Ubuntu 19.10 is relying upon various back-ports from ZFS On Linux 0.8.2 and this imminent Linux distribution update is shipping with a 5.3-based kernel.

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Linux Graphics Stack: Intel, AMD and More

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • Intel Linux Graphics Driver Adds Bits For Jasper Lake PCH

    Details are still light on Jasper Lake, but volleyed onto the public mailing list today was the initial support for the Jasper Lake PCH within the open-source Linux graphics driver side.

    The patch adds in the Jasper Lake PCH while acknowledging it's similar to Icelake and Tigerlake behavior. The Jasper Lake PCI device ID is 0x4D80. The patch doesn't reveal any other notable details but at least enough to note that the Jasper Lake support is on the way. Given the timing, the earliest we could see Intel Jasper Lake support out in the mainline kernel would be for Linux 5.5, which will be out as stable as the first kernel series of 2020 and in time for the likes of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and Fedora 32.

  • Linux Graphics Drivers Could Have User-Space API Changes More Strictly Evaluated

    In response to both the AMD Radeon and Intel graphics drivers adding new user-space APIs for user-space code that just gets "[thrown] over the wall instead of being open source developed projects" and the increase of Android drivers introducing their own UAPI headaches, Airlie is looking at enforcing more review/oversight when DRM drivers want to make user-space API changes.

    The goal ultimately is to hopefully yield more cross-driver UAPI discussions and in turn avoiding duplicated efforts, ensuring good development implementations prior to upstreaming, and better quality with more developers reviewing said changes.

  • xf86-video-ati 19.1 Released With Crash & Hang Fixes

    For those making use of xf86-video-ati on X.Org-enabled Linux desktops, the version 19.1 release brings just a handful of new fixes. This release was announced today by Michel Dänzer who last month departed AMD to now work on Red Hat's graphics team. Michel is sticking around the Mesa/X.Org world for Red Hat's duties but is hoping someone else will be picking up maintenance of the xf86-video-ati/xf86-video-amdgpu DDX drivers going forward. Granted, not a lot of activity happens to these X.Org DDX drivers these days considering more Linux desktops slowly moving over to Wayland, many X11 desktops using the generic xf86-video-modesetting, and these AMD drivers being fairly basic now with all of the big changes in the AMDGPU DRM kernel driver.

Windows 10 vs. Linux OpenGL/Vulkan Driver Performance With Intel Icelake Iris Plus Graphics

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Graphics/Benchmarks

With picking up the Dell XPS 7390 with Intel Core i7-1065G7 for being able to deliver timely benchmarks from Intel's long-awaited 10nm+ Icelake generation, one of the first areas we have been testing is the Iris Plus "Gen 11" graphics performance. In this article are our initial Windows 10 vs. Linux graphics performance numbers for Ice Lake.

For this very first Intel Iris Plus Gen11 graphics testing are results from Windows 10 compared to Ubuntu 19.10. Ubuntu Linux was benchmarked with its stock driver stack comprised of Mesa 19.2.1 as well as opting for the "Iris" Gallium3D driver and also testing Mesa 19.3-devel both with the default i965 OpenGL driver and the Iris Gallium3D driver. Of course, for the Vulkan tests on Linux is their sole "ANV" Vulkan driver.

The Dell XPS 7390 was equipped with the Intel Core i7-1065G7 Ice Lake processor and its Iris Plus Graphics, 2 x 8GB LPDDR4 3733MHz memory, 500GB Toshiba NVMe solid-state drive, and 1920x1200 panel.

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Graphics and Standards

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Web
Legal
  • SHADERed 1.2.3 Released With Support For 3D Textures & Audio Shaders

    SHADERed is the open-source, cross-platform project for creating and testing HLSL/GLSL shaders. While a version number of 1.2.3 may not seem like a big update, some notable additions can be found within this new SHADERed release.

  • Vulkan 1.1.125 Released With SPIR-V 1.4 Support

    Succeeding Vulkan 1.1.124 one week later is now Vulkan 1.1.125 with a lone new extension.

    Vulkan 1.1.125 has its usual clarifications and corrections to this graphics API specification. Meanwhile the new extension introduced in the overnight v1.1.125 release is VK_KHR_spirv_1_4.

  • Making Movies Accessible for Everyone

    For the first time, people who are deaf or hard of hearing will be able to enjoy the Nairobi leg of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, opening on October 15.

Graphics: Godot's Vulkan Renderer, Mutter With Wayland and Vulkan Development

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Godot's Vulkan Renderer Is Getting Into Increasingly Good Shape

    Lead developer of the open-source Godot 2D/3D game engine Juan Linietsky has continued working daily on the engine's Vulkan renderer ahead of Godot 4.0.

  • GNOME's Mutter 3.35.1 Fixes The Night Light Mode On Wayland

    With many of the prominent fixes that we've talked about for GNOME Shell and Mutter since last month's 3.34 release having been back-ported to 3.34.1, this weekend's release of GNOME Shell 3.35.1 and Mutter 3.35.1 as the first steps towards GNOME 3.36 aren't all that big. But at least in the case of this new Mutter development release are some worthwhile fixes.

    GNOME Shell 3.35.1 has just different bug fixes and clean-ups but nothing particularly special. While no big features yet, at least the useful fixes over recent weeks were back-ported to the 3.34 stable series.

  • Vulkan To Better Handle Variable Rate Displays / Adaptive-Sync In The Future

    While longtime X11 developer Keith Packard is now working for SiFive on RISC-V processors by day, he's still involved in the Linux graphics world through his contract work for Valve. At the XDC2019 conference earlier this month he presented on display timing, the current Linux plumbing for it, and also bringing up Vulkan will better support variable rate displays in the future.

    Keith for a while now has done contract work for Valve with Linux graphics infrastructure improvements around better supporting VR HMD hardware on the Linux desktop and more recently on display / refresh rate timing and ensure it works punctually.

Graphics: Red Hat, AMD and XWayland

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Red Hat's New Graphics Engineer Is A Longtime AMD/ATI Linux Developer

    Red Hat had been looking to hire another experienced open-source graphics driver developer and for that their newest member on their growing open-source graphics team is a longtime AMD/ATI developer. 

    Mentioned within the AMDGPU DDX driver update announcement from Michel Dänzer is confirmation that he left AMD and is now working for Red Hat. Michel is a longtime member of the open-source graphics community: Michel had been working at AMD since 2011 on their open-source driver stack while prior to that for five years was working for Mesa creators Tungsten Graphics and followed through when they got acquired by VMware. 

  • xf86-video-amdgpu 19.1 Delivers A Batch Of Fixes

    AMD has released a new version of their X.Org display driver. 

    With all of the magic happening in their DRM/KMS kernel driver or Mesa components (and the likes of AMDVLK and ROCm), the xf86-video-amdgpu DDX doesn't receive much attention these days just like the other X.Org drivers. Many AMD Linux users are also using the xf86-video-modesetting generic driver these days or on Wayland-based desktops, but for those on xf86-video-amdgpu there is now a v19.1 release available. At least though AMD is still pushing out new DDX releases unlike Intel's xf86-video-intel that has been in v3.0 development now for over a half-decade without a release. 

  • XWayland Lands RandR/Vidmode Emulation For Better Game Handling

    There is yet another significant improvement found for XWayland in the latest X.Org Server code that will hopefully see a long overdue release soon. 

    The work by Red Hat's Hans de Goede on XWayland RandR and Vidmode resolution change emulation has been merged. This emulated support doesn't change the actual resolution but rather a fullscreen window at the desired resolution and use that to fill the display output. 

Graphics: X.Org Server and Mesa

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • X.Org Server To See New CI-Driven Automated Release Cycles, Big Version Numbers

    There hasn't been a major release of the X.Org Server now in 17 months... Not because there haven't been any changes (in fact, a lot of GLAMOR and XWayland work among other fixing) but because no one has stepped up as release manager to get the next version out the door. But to workaround that, developers are looking at moving the X.Org Server to purely time-based releases and letting their continuous integration testing be the deciding factor on if a release is ready to ship.

    Adam Jackson of Red Hat proposed at last week's XDC2019 the idea of having these new, effectively automated X.Org Server releases. The xorg-server releases would get back on to their six-month release cadence and be largely autonomous with sticking to the release timeframe and just ensuring the testing gets done by way of their CI system to ensure the X.Org Server is in good shape for releasing.

  • Tons Of The Intel Tiger Lake "Gen 12" Graphics Compiler Code Just Landed In Mesa 19.3

    A lot of the Tiger Lake "Gen 12" graphics compiler infrastructure changes to Mesa for Intel's open-source OpenGL and Vulkan Linux drivers were just merged into the Mesa 19.3 code-base.

    These compiler changes have been public and under review for several weeks now but have just been merged to Mesa 19.3-devel this Friday afternoon. The changes for Tigerlake/Gen12 represent the biggest changes to Intel's graphics ISA going back to the original i965. As explained last month,
    nearly every instruction field, opcode, and register type is updated and the hardware register scoreboard logic has been punted into software with now leaving it up to the compiler now for ensuring data coherency between register reads/writes and a new sync hardware instruction.

  • Raspberry Pi 4's V3D Mesa Driver Nearing OpenGL ES 3.1

    Back during the summer Eric Anholt who had been the lead developer of Broadcom's VC4/V3D graphics driver stack most notably used by Raspberry Pi boards left the company to join Google. In his place, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is working with consulting firm Igalia to continue work on the DRM/KMS kernel driver and Gallium3D drivers for this open-source graphics driver support.

    Igalia has been working recently on V3D shader compiler improvements with implementing more pieces of NIR as well as addressing test case failures / bugs. One of the areas they have been working on a lot is OpenGL transform feedback.

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Games: We Happy Few, Helvetii, Starcom: Nexus and More

  • We Happy Few for Linux and Mac being refunded, to get an "unofficial" beta

    After a long road, the waiting on We Happy Few for both Linux and Mac is about to come to an end. Not the happiest of endings either. Originally funded on Kickstarter back in 2015 for $334,754 CA, Linux and Mac support was then announced for We Happy Few after the campaign had started. In 2017, it was announced that Compulsion Games teamed up with Gearbox Publishing to complete it.

  • Tremendous looking 2D action game Helvetii confirmed to be coming to Linux

    After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the supremely stylish 2D action game Helvetii has now been confirmed to be launching with Linux support next year. While their crowdfunding campaign didn't initially confirm Linux support, after it finished they announced that after evaluating it they've decided to do it and they "had actually quite a lot of demand" for it too. They said supporting Linux is "actually little work on our end (and we do have the ability to test it), we thought that we might as well do it".

  • Wx3 Labs looking into Linux support for Starcom: Nexus

    Starcom: Nexus from Wx3 Labs is a striking looking open-world space action adventure and they've been looking into getting it running on Linux. In a post on Steam, one of the team noted they're using Unity making it possible but "some testing and fixes are expected". They went over attempting to test with a live Linux USB stick which has enabled them to see it running, and they mentioned to reply to post if you have the game and want to test the Linux version.

  • Linux Gaming News Punch - Episode 21

    Prepare for a fistful of news, as the Linux Gaming News Punch - Episode 21 has arrived to go over some recent interesting topics to allow you to keep up with all the news. For those just joining, this is a quick take roundup on recent Linux gaming news. Meant for those who struggle to keep up or just want a little Linux gaming news on the go. Audio-only files and feed links below the video.

  • Interrogation: You will be deceived to arrive on Linux on December 5

    Critique Gaming and Mixtvision have announced that their immersive noir-styled psychological detective-thiller with conversational puzzles, Interrogation: You will be deceived, is going to release on December 5. Previously covered here on GamingOnLinux back in August, after it caught my eye with the incredible rotoscoped almost-monochrome art. You are tasked with saving the city from a terrorist plot by interrogating suspects as the clock ticks down. To do so, you have to mix between interrogations and managing your team's reputation with time running out.

Growing the Linux app Ecosystem at LAS 2019

The third Linux Application Summit (LAS) kicks off this week in Barcelona, Spain. Formerly organised under the GNOME project, known as Libre Application Summit, the new LAS is a joint effort between the KDE and GNOME projects. The aim of the conference is to encourage the growth of a vibrant Linux application ecosystem. Canonical are proud sponsors of LAS 2019, and are sending along a team to represent Ubuntu and Snapcraft. The volunteers on the organising committee each have a long history in the Linux application community. They’ve all worked on platforms and infrastructure to enable new software development for Linux. I took some time to chat with some of the team, and what LAS means for them. Aleix Pol, representing KDE, has worked on Linux applications for a while, and is hopeful for increased collaboration between application developers and platform maintainers. Aleix told me; “While we [GNOME and KDE] are sizeable organisations, we have massive tasks at hand. We need to create an environment where people can come and create their solutions for all of us.” This applies both for application developers and those who work primarily on the platforms themselves. He continued; “With GNOME, we share pieces of software, we share users and we even share some of our dreams. Meeting, talking and collaborating can only be beneficial”. Aleix also highlighted the benefits of meeting in person at events like LAS, “There’s a very different kinds of visitor. The ones who have been around will be putting faces to nicknames and having these discussions that IRC and mailing lists can’t sustain”. Read more