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Graphics: Mesa/Mali, Wayland 1.15 Beta, and Mesa 17.3.7 RC2

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  • Reverse-Engineering of ARM Mali "Midgard" Now Has A Working NIR Shader Compiler

    Earlier this year work on the "Chai" open-source Mali T700 GPU driver resumed with an aim to get a working Mesa driver for this "Midgard" graphics architecture. There's still a long battle ahead, but their NIR shader compiler is beginning to work.

    Alyssa Rosenzweig remains the main developer working on this Chai driver effort but with using some remnants done by Luc and Connor during the Lima driver days. Her focus lately has been on assembler and shader support for this reverse-engineered driver for ARM Mali graphics.

  • Wayland 1.15 Beta Released With Weston 4.0 Beta

    The beta releases are available today of Wayland 1.15 and the Weston 4.0 reference compositor.

    Wayland 1.15 is another relatively modest cycle. Wayland 1.15 pulls in libwayland-egl where as before that library was part of Mesa, making some semantics of Wayland more clear in the documentation, improvements to wayland-scanner, and some minor API additions.

  • Mesa 17.3.7 RC2 Issued With Even More Patches

    Last week the release candidate of Mesa 17.3.7 was issued with more than 50 patches queued. That count grew more over the weekend resulting in an additional release candidate.

    Mesa point releases tend to get just one RC and a few days of testing before going gold, but on top of the 50 patches last week another handful of patches were since proposed and queued up for this increasingly large point release. The very latest patches include a RADV Vulkan driver fix by Feral Interactive, and several other RADV and Intel Vulkan fixes.

Radeon GPUs Are Increasingly Competing With NVIDIA GPUs On Latest RadeonSI/RADV Drivers

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As it's been a few weeks since last delivering a modest Linux GPU comparison and given the continuously evolving state of the Linux kernel Git tree as well as the Mesa project that houses the RadeonSI OpenGL and RADV Vulkan drivers, here are our latest benchmarks showing the current state of the AMD Radeon open-source Linux graphics driver performance relative to NVIDIA's long-standing and high-performance but proprietary driver using several different graphics cards.

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Wine 3.4 and Vulkan

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  • The WineHQ Wine development release 3.4 is now available for Linux and Mac

    The WineHQ Wine development release 3.4 is now available for Linux and Mac

  • Wine Developers Determining How To Handle Vulkan Loader Support

    While this week's Wine 3.4 release delivers on working Wine Vulkan ICD support for beginning to allow Windows Vulkan programs to work under Wine assuming the host has Vulkan API support, this current implementation still requires the user to install the Windows Vulkan SDK.

    At the moment those wanting to use Windows Vulkan games/applications under Wine still need to download the LunarG Vulkan SDK for Windows in order to obtain the Vulkan loader (DLL) for pairing with Wine's Vulkan ICD driver.

Graphics: X.Org Foundation Board of Directors and Vulkan

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  • Six Candidates Are Vying For This Year's X.Org Foundation Board

    There are six candidates running for this year's X.Org Foundation Board of Directors with four seats being open this election.

    Those six candidates for this year's X.Org elections include Eric Anholt (Broadcom), Robert Foss (Collabora), Bryce Harrington (Samsung), Keith Packard (HP), Laurent Pinchart (Ideas on Board), and Harry Wentland (AMD).

  • Vulkan 1.1.71 Released As The First Update To Vulkan 1.1

    The first point release to the Vulkan 1.1 release from earlier this month is now available. Vulkan 1.1 promoted a lot of functionality to core while also officially adding sub-groups and protected content support. This Vulkan 1.1.71 point release adds a new extension and fixes.

    This first point release to Vulkan 1.1 is officially version 1.1.71. This is because when Vulkan 1.1 was created, Khronos decided not to reset the patch number... Vulkan 1.1 was technically 1.1.70 and not 1.1.0. So now with this first update it's bumped to Vulkan 1.1.71.

  • AMDVLK Vulkan Driver Updated With Improvements For Sub-Groups & Multi-View

    The AMD developers working on their official cross-platform "AMDVLK" Vulkan driver have updated their open-source code-base for Linux users.

    On Friday the AMD developers pushed to the open-source repository their latest work, their first update since introducing Vulkan 1.1 support back on launch day earlier this month.

Graphics: AMDGPU, Mesa 17.3.7, RADV

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  • Linux 4.17 To Enable AMDGPU DC By Default For All Supported GPUs

    Since the introduction of the AMDGPU DC display code (formerly known as DAL) in Linux 4.15, this modern display stack has just been enabled by default for newer Radeon Vega and Raven Ridge devices. With Linux 4.17 that is changing with AMDGPU DC being enabled by default across the board for supported GPUs.

    Building off the earlier DRM-Next material for Linux 4.17, Alex Deucher minutes ago sent in another round of feature updates for targeting this next kernel cycle. This latest batch has continued code refactoring around PowerPlay, support for fetching the video RAM type from the video BIOS, allowing the TTM memory manager to drop its backing store when not needed, DC bandwidth calculation updates, enabling DC backlight control for pre-DCE11 GPUs, various display code fixes, and other bug fixes.

  • AMDGPU / ATI 18.0.1 X.Org DDX Driver Releases, Fixes Infinite Loop & Crashes

    Michel Dänzer of AMD issued bug-fix updates on Thursday for the xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-amdgpu DDX drivers.

    Just two weeks after the AMDGPU 18.0 X.Org driver release as the first version under their new year-based versioning scheme, the 18.0.1 bug-fix release is out. The xf86-video-amdgpu 18.0.1 DDX update fixes a potential infinite loop after a xorg-server reset in some configurations, Xorg crashing when multiple primary screens are configured, and using the TearFree feature could trigger Pixman library debugging spew.

  • Mesa 17.3.7 Nearing Release With 50+ Changes

    While waiting for Mesa 18.0, the Mesa 17.3.7 point release will soon hit stable users of this open-source, user-space graphics stack.

  • RADV Patches Are Closer For Sub-Group Capabilities

    Daniel Schürmann continues hacking on the sub-group patch-set for the RADV Vulkan driver to expose this important feature of the recent Vulkan 1.1 release.

Benchmarks Of Russia's "Baikal" MIPS-Based Processors, Running Debian Linux

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A few years back was the news of Russia wanting to get into the CPU business and at the time were aiming for ARM-based processors but ended up settling for MIPS. It turns out those "Baikal" processors are still around and being worked on as indicated by some fresh benchmarks this week.

Back in 2015 is when Baikal Electronics/T-Platforms announced their Baikal-T1 28nm SoC with DDR3 support, clock speeds up to 1.2GHz, SATA connectivity, USB 2.0, and Gigabit Ethernet. The Baikal-T1 was initially advertised as for use in networking appliances and industrial platforms but has also wound up in some Russian desktop PCs.

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Some Windows Server 2016 vs. Linux Network Benchmarks

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A Phoronix Premium supporter recently requested some Windows vs. Linux networking performance benchmarks. That is being done as part of a larger comparison also featuring the popular BSDs, but for some initial measurements, here are some Netperf networking performance metrics on Microsoft Windows Server 2016 and various Linux distributions.

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Ubuntu 18.04 Versus Six Other Linux Distributions On AMD EPYC

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With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS set to be released next month and its final package configuration quickly falling into place, we have begun firing up some benchmarks for seeing how this Ubuntu 18.04 "Bionic Beaver" release is comparing to various other Linux distributions. Up first as part of this series of benchmarks is using an AMD EPYC workstation/server for seeing how the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS performance compares to six other Linux distributions.

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Graphics Leftovers

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  • Intel Graphics Driver Developers Begin Eyeing The Linux 4.18 Kernel

    The Linux 4.16 kernel is at least two or three weeks out from being released, but Intel has already submitted their i915 DRM driver feature changes for Linux 4.17 and are now beginning to think about their feature changes for Linux 4.18.

    Intel's feature changes for Linux 4.17 are now staged in DRM-Next with hitting that soft cutoff deadline ahead of the next kernel cycle. Intel Direct Rendering Manager updates for Linux 4.17 include Cannonlake "Gen 10" graphics now being considered stable, the very early bits of Icelake "Gen 11" support, and a lot of low-level code improvements. To little surprise, Linux 4.17 is looking like another exciting cycle on the feature/improvement front.

  • Intel BayTrail Gets Minor Graphics Improvement On Coreboot, Now Supports OpRegion

    While there doesn't appear to be too many Intel BayTrail users out there running systems with Coreboot, this generation of hardware that's been a bit notorious with Linux users due to varying issues can now find at least a bit better graphics support with the latest Coreboot code.

  • Mesa 18.0 Is Now Primed For Releasing Soon

    Mesa 18.0's delay of more than one month and without any new release candidate came while the open-source Intel developers were hunkered down to clear the remaining blocker bugs.

    Fortunately, it appears the remaining Mesa 18.0 blocker bugs are now resolved, meaning the official release could come in a matter of days depending if they decide to first do a Mesa 18.0-rc5 release for last minute testing.

  • Mir Devs Are Still Working On An Example Mir Desktop Session For Ubuntu 18.04

    While Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver" is just one month away from release, the developers working on the Mir display server code are still working to get an example desktop session into this release.

    Details remain light but in writing yesterday about changes the UBports' team needs to make for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS support, longtime Mir developer Alan Griffiths commented, "The Mir team is aiming to have the necessary tweaks in place for the 18.04 release along with an example "Mir" desktop session." The tweaks needed for Mir in Ubuntu 18.04 are not using Mir-on-Mir and client applications using libmirclient cannot be using EGL otherwise only software-based rendering will work.

  • Mesa 18.0 Has Been Off The Tracks For More Than One Month

    Mesa 18.0 had been due for release around mid-February, but that didn't happen and there hasn't even been a release candidate in more than one month.

    Mesa 18.0-RC4 was released back on 9 February and since then there hasn't been an RC5 or a new release.

  • Uniform Packing For RadeonSI NIR, Helps Reduce CPU Overhead

    Timothy Arceri of Valve's open-source Linux GPU driver team is out with his latest set of patches to further enhance the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver.

    Timothy's latest objective remains with improving the RadeonSI NIR back-end for using this modern intermediate representation alternative to Gallium3D TGSI. NIR is important for getting the OpenGL 4.6 bits in place with SPIR-V ingestion / better interoperability with the RADV Vulkan driver and the already-written code paths using NIR.

  • Supporting virtual reality displays in Linux

    At (LCA) 2017 in Hobart, Tasmania, Keith Packard talked with kernel graphics maintainer Dave Airlie about how virtual reality devices should be hooked up to Linux. They both thought it would be pretty straightforward to do, so it would "only take a few weeks", but Packard knew "in reality it would take a lot longer". In a talk at LCA 2018 in Sydney, Packard reported back on the progress he has made; most of it is now in the upstream kernel.

    Packard has been consulting for Valve, which is a game technology company, to add support for head-mounted displays to Linux. Those displays have an inertial measurement unit (IMU) for position and orientation tracking and a display with some optics. The display is about 2Kx1K pixels in the hardware he is working with; that is split in half for each eye. The displays also have a "bunch of lenses", which makes them "more complicated than you would hope".

    The display is meant to block out the real world and to make users believe they inhabit the virtual reality. "It's great if you want to stumble into walls, chairs, and tables." Nearly all of the audience indicated they had used a virtual reality headset, leading Packard to hyperbolically proclaim that he is the last person in the universe to obtain one.

Sound Open Firmware (SOF) and Nvidia-Docker

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  • Intel Open-Sources Sound Firmware, Pushing For More Open Firmware

    Imad Sousou, Intel's GM of the Open-Source Technology Center, had some interesting remarks to make during his keynote today as part of this week's Embedded Linux Conference in Portland.

    First up, they have two new open-source project announcements: ACRN and Sound Open Firmware (SOF).

    Sound Open Firmware has us most excited with Intel's focus now on opening up more of their firmware, beginning with audio. Sound Open Firmware includes an open-source audio DSP firmware and SDK. The SOF stack works on all Intel hardware platforms and can assist in debugging audio/DSP issues.

  • A Primer on Nvidia-Docker — Where Containers Meet GPUs

    GPUs are critical for training deep learning models and neural networks. Though it may not be needed for simple models based on linear regression and logistic regression, complex models designed around convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and recurrent neural networks heavily rely on GPUs. Especially computer vision-related models based on frameworks such as Caffe2 and TensorFlow have a dependency on GPU.

    In supervised machine learning, a set of features and labels are used to train a model. Deep learning algorithms don’t even need explicit features to evolve trained models. They pretty much “learn” from existing datasets designated for training, testing, and evaluation.

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