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Graphics/Benchmarks

Low-Level Software: PulseAudio, VirtualBox, Vulkan and Radeon

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
Software
  • Linux Release Roundup #21.31: PulseAudio 15.0, Linux Lite 5.6 RC1, and More New Releases

    PulseAudio 15.0 is an exciting release that adds new hardware support and introduces LDAC and AptX Bluetooth codecs for a high-quality audio listening experience with supported headphones.

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  • VirtualBox 6.1.26

    VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.

  • Mike Blumenkrantz: Timelines

    I don’t feel like blogging about zink today, so here’s more about everyone’s favorite software implementation of Vulkan.

  • xf86-video-amdgpu 21.0.0 Released For Radeon Linux Users Still On X.Org

    It's been one year since the last xf86-video-amdgpu release in the form of v19.1 and about two years since the release before that with v19.0... Now the xf86-video-amdgpu 21.0 driver is ready for those who need it. As with all open-source Linux graphics drivers, these X.Org DDX releases are of little value these days given the migration to Wayland and those sticking to X.Org most often just using the generic xf86-video-modesetting driver. All the interesting open-source graphics magic these days happen within the DRM/KMS kernel driver components and Mesa. But unlike Intel who hasn't even issued a new xf86-video-intel development release in six years or going back seven years to the last stable release, AMD does still put out the yearly or so DDX update.

Graphics: AMD GPUs and Mike Blumenkrantz's Work

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • AMD Releases AOMP 13.0-5 Radeon OpenMP Compiler - Phoronix

    AMD's Windows-based figures put the Radeon RX 6600 XT at roughly up to 15% faster on average than the GeForce RTX 3060. It will be interesting though to see how the performance compares under Linux once getting our hands on the card and being able to share those performance numbers.

  • AMD Releases AOMP 13.0-5 Radeon OpenMP Compiler - Phoronix

    In addition to the AOCC compiler for Zen CPUs, another LLVM/Clang downstream maintained by AMD is the AOMP compiler as where they host their various patches not yet merged around Radeon OpenMP offloading support. This week marked the release of AOMP 13.0-5 as their latest work on that front for the newest OpenMP GPU offloading capabilities.

  • Mike Blumenkrantz: The Update

    Have a big Vulkan-using project? Do you constantly have to worry about breakages from all manner of patches being merged without testing? Can’t afford or too lazy to set up and maintain actual hardware for testing?

  • Lavapipe Keeps Tacking On Features, LLVMpipe Lands New Rasterizer With 2~3x Faster 2D

    Valve contractor Mike Blumenkrantz is known for his work on the Zink OpenGL-on-Vulkan implementation but recently has also been engaged in some of the Lavapipe software Vulkan driver work and related to that is the venerable LLVMpipe OpenGL Gallium3D driver. Needless to say, there's some interesting work happening.

    [...]

    The idea for this now-merged rasterizer started a decade ago at VMware while this past week finally made it into Git for Mesa 21.3. See this merge request for the details on this improved rasterizer for 2D with LLVmpipe.

Graphics: OpenGL and Mesa 21.2 RC3

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Intel's Iris Gallium3D OpenGL Driver Now Supports Threaded Shader Compilation - Phoronix

    Intel's open-source "Iris" Gallium3D driver for providing modern OpenGL driver support on their graphics hardware from Broadwell through all current Gen12 / Xe Graphics era hardware has been in great shape for some time and works wonderfully. But Intel's not done furthering this Linux OpenGL driver and today they now have threaded shader compilation merged.

  • mesa 21.2.0-rc3
    Hi all,
    
    Now available is Mesa 21.2.0-rc3.  We've got a little bit of everything
    here, but not too much of anything. Things seem to be settling down a
    little bit already, and I like that.
    
    Cheers,
    Dylan
    
  • Mesa 21.2-rc3 Offered For Testing, Mesa 21.1.6 Reaches Stable - Phoronix

    The Mesa release train continues at full speed ahead for these open-source Linux graphics driver components.

    Mesa 21.1.6 is out as the newest stable Mesa release. This bi-weekly point release brings with it a wide assortment of fixes including for its Meson build system, EGL code, Vulkan fixes, and a sprinkling of different driver fixes. Nothing particularly exciting with Mesa 21.1.6 unless you were affected by one of the many issues now resolved by this update.

Ubuntu 21.04 vs. Windows 10 Trade Blows On The AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX / ASUS ROG Strix G15

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Graphics/Benchmarks

While the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX performance is great on Linux once overcoming any laptop support quirks like with the ASUS ROG Strix G15 "AMD Advantage" laptop running into keyboard and WiFi issues on Linux depending upon the kernel version, how does the performance compare to Microsoft Windows 10? Here are some benchmarks of that ROG Strix G15 AMD laptop under Windows 10 as shipped by ASUS against Ubuntu 21.04 when upgraded to the Linux 5.13 stable kernel.

Prior to clearing out the Windows install on the ASUS ROG Strix G15, I ran some benchmarks looking at how the out-of-the-box performance is with all available Windows updates, including the various ASUS software/driver updates. This ASUS G513QY laptop is equipped with the flagship Ryzen 9 5900HX mobile processor, Radeon RX 6800M discrete graphics to complement the 5900HX's integrated Vega graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB Samsung NVMe SSD.

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Kernel and Graphics: Linux Plumbers Conference and More

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

        

  • Analyze the Linux kernel with ftrace | Opensource.com

    An operating system's kernel is one of the most elusive pieces of software out there. It's always there running in the background from the time your system gets turned on. Every user achieves their computing work with the help of the kernel, yet they never interact with it directly. The interaction with the kernel occurs by making system calls or having those calls made on behalf of the user by various libraries or applications that they use daily.

    I've covered how to trace system calls in an earlier article using strace. However, with strace, your visibility is limited. It allows you to view the system calls invoked with specific parameters and, after the work gets done, see the return value or status indicating whether they passed or failed. But you had no idea what happened inside the kernel during this time. Besides just serving system calls, there's a lot of other activity happening inside the kernel that you're oblivious to.

  • Google Continues Working On Suspend-Only Swap Spaces For Linux - Phoronix

    Google engineers and other parties are interested in being able to create swap spaces on Linux systems that would be reserved just for system suspend/hibernation purposes and not for generic swapping to disk. 

    The proposed SWAP_FLAG_HIBERNATE_ONLY would reserve a swap space just for suspend-to-disk usage and not swapping regular pages. To now, generic swap ultimately needs to be enabled if just wanting to use it for system suspend, short of workarounds for turning it on/off around the suspend process. 

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  • Linux Plumbers Conference: RISC-V Microconference Accepted into 2021 Linux Plumbers Conference

    We are pleased to announce that the RISC-V Microconference has been accepted into the 2021 Linux Plumbers Conference. The RISC-V software eco-system is gaining momentum at breakneck speed with three new Linux development platforms available this year. The new platforms bring new issues to deal with.

  • DMA-Fence Deadline Awareness Proposed To Help Ensure GPU Drivers Render On-Time - Phoronix

    There is the phenomenon on Linux where when double-buffered rendering and missing vblanks can lead to the GPU running at a lower frequency when instead the opposite should happen so it will try to not miss vblanks in the first place. In the past there's been talks of "boost" support in the GPU drivers or also workarounds from user-space like dynamic triple buffering, but sent out this week is a new proposal around DMA-Fence deadline awareness as another means of addressing this problem.

    DMA-Fence deadline awareness is about being able to set a desired deadline on a fence for when the waiter would like to see the fence signaled. With the use-case being pursued, the deadline would be set as the next vblank time. Over earlier approaches this deadline awareness method should work out better in the context of atomic helpers and where the display and GPU drivers are different.

  • H.264 SVC / Temporal Encoding Wired Up For AMD's Linux Graphics Driver - Phoronix

    For those making use of Radeon GPUs for H.264 encoding on Linux, the open-source Mesa driver stack for VCN hardware has just merged support for handling H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) / temporal encoding.

    This merge request from AMD was just merged into Mesa 21.3-devel for expanding its H.264 encode capabilities with Video Core Next.

Graphics: Vulkan (DXVK 1.9) and Wayland

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Graphics/Benchmarks
  • DXVK 1.9.1 is out for translating Direct3D 9/10/11 to Vulkan

    The DXVK project continues to mature its translation layer for Direct 3D 9 / 10 / 11 to Vulkan, something that can be used together with Wine and Proton (along with a few ports using it). If you don't know what Proton is, be sure to check out our dedicated page.

    DXVK 1.9.1 follows on from the big 1.9 release on June 15 that gave us some new features. As a point release, it mainly focuses on cleaning up some bits here and there.

  • DXVK 1.9.1 Released With Several Game Fixes

    DXVK 1.9.1 is out as the newest version of this key component to Steam Play / Proton for running Windows games on Linux with DXVK being responsible for translating Direct3D 9/10/11 calls to Vulkan.

  • SDL2 Lands Support For Client-Side Decorations On Wayland - Phoronix

    The SDL2 library that is commonly used by many cross-platform games landed several patches this weekend to improve its Wayland support.

    The main change from the Git activity this weekend in SDL2 is landing support for using client-side decorations on Wayland.

Ubuntu vs. Arch Linux On The ASUS ROG Strix G15 / Ryzen 9 5900HX

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Graphics/Benchmarks

This past week were the initial Linux benchmarks of the Ryzen 9 5900HX with the ASUS ROG Strix G15 laptop. Ubuntu was used as the default test platform as usual given its popularity and arguably the most relevant Linux distribution to use given that it's the most common Linux distribution at the moment for preloads on laptops by multiple vendors. In any case, as usual many users were quick to say "but Arch Linux!" as if it was going to make a dramatic difference in my findings. Well, here are some Ubuntu 21.04 versus Arch Linux benchmarks on that AMD Advantage laptop.

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Intel Hardware P-State (HWP) / Intel Speed Shift

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
Hardware

Intel Hardware P-State (aka Harware Controlled Performance or "Speed Shift") (HWP) is a feature found in more modern x86 Intel CPUs (Skylake onwards). It attempts to select the best CPU frequency and voltage to match the optimal power efficiency for the desired CPU performance. HWP is more responsive than the older operating system controlled methods and should therefore be more effective.

To test this theory, I exercised my Lenovo T480 i5-8350U 8 thread CPU laptop with the stress-ng cpu stressor using the "double" precision math stress method, exercising 1 to 8 of the CPU threads over a 60 second test run. The average CPU temperature and average CPU frequency were measured using powerstat and the CPU compute throughput was measured using the stress-ng bogo-ops count.

The HWP mode was set using the x86_energy_perf_policy tool (as found in the Linux source in tools/power/x86/x86_energy_perf_policy). This allows one to select one of 5 policies: "normal", "performance", "balance-performance", "balance-power" and "power" as well as enabling or disabling turbo frequencies. For the tests, turbo mode was also enabled to allow the CPU to run at higher CPU turbo frequencies.

The "performance" policy is the least efficient option as the CPU is clocked at a high frequency even when the system is idle and is not idea for a laptop. The "power" policy will optimize for low power; on my system it set the CPU to a maximum of 400MHz which is not ideal for typical uses.

The more useful "balance-performance" option optimizes for good throughput at the cost of power consumption where as the "balance-power" option optimizes for good power consumption in preference to performance, so I tested these two options.

[...]

Running with HWP balance-power option is a good default choice for maximizing compute while minimizing power consumption for a modern Intel based laptop. If one wants to crank up the performance at the expense of battery life, then the balance-performance option is most useful.

The balance-performance option when a laptop is plugged into the mains (e.g. via a base-station) may seem like a good idea to get peak compute performance. Note that this may not be useful in the long term as the CPU frequency may drop back to reduce thermal overrun. However, for bursty infrequent demanding CPU uses this may be a good choice. I personally refrain from using this as it makes my CPU rather run hot and it's less efficient so it's not ideal for reducing my carbon footprint.

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Mesa RADV vs. AMDVLK Radeon Vulkan Performance For July 2021

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Graphics/Benchmarks

It's been a while since last looking at the performance of AMD's official "AMDVLK" open-source Linux Vulkan driver against that of the popular Mesa "RADV" Radeon Vulkan driver. But here are some fresh benchmarks for those interested while using the latest-generation Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card paired with the in-development Linux 5.14 kernel across testing both Vulkan drivers.

Today's benchmarking is a fresh look at how the AMDVLK 2021.Q3.1 driver (the latest at the time of testing) compares to the latest RADV driver within Mesa 21.3-devel. RADV was tested twice both out-of-the-box and then again when enabling the new NGG culling (NGGC) option. Linux 5.14-rc1 was running while testing both AMD Radeon Vulkan drivers from this Ryzen 9 5900X system with the Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card.

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AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX / ASUS ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage On Linux

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Graphics/Benchmarks

With an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX Zen 3 processor and Radeon RX 6800M graphics, the ASUS ROG Strix G15 laptop may be promising for those wanting high performance and graphics backed by AMD's much enjoyed open-source Linux GPU driver stack. Plus this ASUS ROG Strix G15 (G513QY) is one of the first two "AMD Advantage" laptops. But when it comes to using it on Linux, it's not without some struggles before being able to enjoy the compelling performance.

The ASUS ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage laptop I've been testing so far the past week features the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor, Radeon RX 6800M discrete graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 15.6-inch 1080p 300Hz display. This laptop commands the $1549~1650 USD price point at the moment and has seen broader US retail availability from Internet retailers in recent weeks.

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Proprietary Software and Security Issues

  • SolarWinds [Attack] Reached 27 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Justice Says

    The attack compromised Microsoft 365 accounts of at least 80% of the department’s employees working in offices located in the Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of New York. Also affected to a lesser degree were employees in U.S. Attorneys’ offices in 14 other states, including California, Florida, Maryland, Texas and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

  • Safari isn't protecting the web, it's killing it

    There's been a lot of discussion recently about how "Safari is the new IE" (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

    I don't want to rehash the basics of that, but I have seen some interesting rebuttals, most commonly: Safari is actually protecting the web, by resisting adding unnecessary and experimental features that create security/privacy/bloat problems.

    That is worth further discussion, because it's widespread, and wrong.

    More specifically, Safari's approach isn't protecting the web from bloat & evil Google influence, because: [...]

  • Hasta la Vista Gmail

    I’ve been a Gmail user pretty much since day 1, when it was still an invite-only service in 2004.1 Not anymore. Over the past month I’ve migrated most of my email to Fastmail and I’m extremely happy with the result.

    Why bother? Well, I guess it won’t come to you as a shock that I’ve felt progressively more uncomfortable with how Google (and the like) are handling my personal data. I’ve also been getting quite frustrated with attempts to make email/my inbox “smarter”. I never needed a “priority inbox”, auto-categorization of email, etc. Simple is good. Just put the newest emails on the top and I’ll sort it out from there.

  • Google dodges regulation, hits advertisers with “regulatory” charges: What’s the Scam?

    We are not familiar with what draconian regulatory schemes exist for Google in Austria and Turkey, but here in Australia we know what it is – which is not much at all. And they paid no tax on their 2020 revenue of $5.2 billion.

  • Storing Encrypted Photos in Google’s Cloud

    Cloud photo services are widely used for persistent, convenient, and often free photo storage, which is especially useful for mobile devices. As users store more and more photos in the cloud, significant privacy concerns arise because even a single compromise of a user’s credentials give attackers unfettered access to all of the user’s photos. We have created Easy Secure Photos (ESP) to enable users to protect their photos on cloud photo services such as Google Photos. [...]

  • Spyware revelations are a crucial moment for Indian democracy
  • Joint Open Letter: States Must Implement Moratorium on Surveillance Technology - PEN America

    We the undersigned civil society organizations and independent experts are alarmed at the media revelations that NSO Group’s spyware has been used to facilitate human rights violations around the world on a massive scale. These revelations are a result of the Pegasus Project and are based on the leak of 50,000 phone numbers of potential surveillance targets. The project is a collaboration of more than 80 journalists from 16 media organizations in 10 countries coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based media non-profit, with the technical support of Amnesty International, who conducted forensic tests on mobile phones to identify traces of the Pegasus spyware.

  • Canonicalization Attacks Against MACs and Signatures

    Canonicalization Attacks occur when a protocol that feeds data into a hash function used in a Message Authentication Code (MAC) or Digital Signature calculation fails to ensure some property that’s expected of the overall protocol.

    The textbook example of a canonicalization attack is the length-extension attack against hash functions such as MD5–which famously broke the security of Flickr’s API signatures.

    But there’s a more interesting attack to think about, which affects the design of security token/envelope formats (PASETO, DSSE, etc.) and comes up often when folks try to extend basic notions of authenticated encryption (AE) to include additional authenticated (but unencrypted) data (thus yielding an AEAD mode).

today's howtos

  • What’s In A Font? Website Typography Best Practices

    I love web design and website typography is a huge part of that. It turns out that I’m somewhat of a typography nerd, so I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned in this regard here.

  • How to Install MariaDB 10.6 on Rocky Linux 8 - LinuxCapable

    MariaDB is one of the most popular open-source databases next to its originator MySQL. The original creators of MySQL developed MariaDB in response to fears that MySQL will suddenly become a paid service due to Oracle acquiring it in 2010. With its history of doing similar tactics, the developers behind MariaDB have promised to keep it open source and free from such fears as what has happened to MySQL. MariaDB has become just as popular as MySQL with developers, with features such as advanced clustering with Galera Cluster 4, faster cache/indexes, storage engines, and features/extensions that you won’t find in MySQL.

  • How to Install Sysdig on Ubuntu 20.04 - LinuxCapable

    Sysdig is open source, system-level exploration: capture system state and activity from a running Linux-based system such as Ubuntu 20.04, then save, filter, and analyze that is particularly useful for system analysis, inspection, and debugging, amongst other uses. Sysdig is scriptable in Lua and includes a command-line interface and a powerful interactive UI using the command csysdig that runs in your terminal. In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Sysdig on Ubuntu 20.04 and 21.04.

  • How to Install Oracle VirtualBox on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

    As we know Oracle VirtualBox is a famous desktop virtualization tool which allows us to run multiple virtual machines or guest operating systems. It is used for test and development environment where Linux geeks create and delete virtual machines based on the requirements. VirtualBox is a cross-platform tool available for both Windows and Linux operating systems. VirtualBox gives us the option to create host-based networking for virtual machines. In this post, we will discuss how to install latest version of Oracle VirtualBox on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (focal fossa) system. At the time of writing this post, VirtualBox 6.1.26 was available.

  • How To Install Wing Python IDE on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - idroot

    In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Wing Python IDE on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Wing Python IDE was designed from the ground up for Python, to bring you a more productive development experience. Full-featured Python IDE with the intelligent editor, a powerful debugger, remote development error checking, refactoring, and much more. The wing was designed from the ground up for interactive Python development. This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Wing Python IDE on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

First Arch Linux ISO Powered by Linux Kernel 5.13 Is Now Available for Download

Arch Linux 2021.08.01 has been released today and it’s the first monthly ISO snapshot of the popular GNU/Linux distribution to ship with the latest and greatest Linux 5.13 kernel series, which is now used by default. Linux 5.13.6 is included in this snapshot, but the Linux 5.13.7 point release already hit the testing repos at the moment of writing and will soon land in the stable channel for you to update your new installations to the latest kernel. As you can imagine, Linux kernel 5.13 introduces better hardware support, which means that Arch Linux is now compatible with more systems and components. Highlights include FreeSync HDMI support for AMD GPUs, ACPI 6.4 support, support for Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Tablet Thin keyboard, Apple’s Magic Mouse 2, or Amazon’s Luna game controller, as well as new virtio drivers for some audio devices and Bluetooth controllers. Read more