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Open Source

LLVM 3.7 Delivers OpenMP 3.1 Support, ORC JIT API, New Optimizations 83

An anonymous reader writes: LLVM 3.7 was released today as the newest six-month update. LLVM 3.7 has OpenMP 3.1 support via Clang, a new On-Request Compilation JIT API, the Berkeley Packet Filter back-end was added, the AMDGPU back-end now supports OpenGL 4.1 when paired with Mesa 11.0, and many other functional changes. Early benchmarks against GCC show its performance quite competitive with GCC5, even superior in some workloads, and should be more competitive in scientific applications with there now being OpenMP support.
Open Source

LILO Bootloader Development To End 134

An anonymous reader writes: For any longtime Linux users, you probably remember the LILO bootloader from Linux distributions of many years ago. This bootloader has been in development since the 90's but development is finally ending. A homepage message reads, "I plan to finish development of LILO at 12/2015 because of some limitations (e.g. with BTFS, GPT, RAID). If someone want to develop this nice software further, please let me know ..."
AMD

AMD's R9 Fury On Open-Source: Prepare for Disappointment, For Now 43

An anonymous reader writes: With Linux 4.3 AMD is adding the initial open-source driver for the R9 Fury graphics cards. Unfortunate for Linux gamers, the R9 Fury isn't yet in good shape on the open-source driver and it's not good with the Catalyst Linux driver either as previously discussed. With the initial code going into Linux 4.3, the $550 R9 Fury runs slower than graphics cards like the lower-cost and older R7 370 and HD 7950 GPUs, since AMD's open-source developers haven't yet found the time to implement power management / re-clocking support. The R9 Fury also only advertises OpenGL 3.0 support while the hardware is GL4.5-capable and the other open-source AMD GCN driver ships OpenGL 4.1. It doesn't look like AMD has any near-term R9 Fury Linux fix for either driver, but at least their older hardware is performing well with the open-source code.
OS X

A FreeBSD "Spork" With Touches of NeXT and OS X: NeXTBSD 164

There are a lot of open source operating systems out there; being open source, they lend themselves to forks, clones or near clones, and friendly offshoots. There are even services to let you customize, download, and (if you choose) bulk-install your own OS based on common components. Phoronix notes a new project called NeXTBSD that might turn more heads than most new open source OSes, in part because of the developers behind it, and in part because of the positive thoughts many people have toward the aesthetics of NeXTSTEP and Mac OS X. (And while it might be a fork of FreeBSD, the developers would rather call it a spork, instead.) NeXTBSD was announced last week by Jordan Hubbard and Kip Macy at the Bay Area FreeBSD Users Group (BAFUG). NeXTBSD / FreeBSD X is based on the FreeBSD-CURRENT kernel while adding in Mach IPC, Libdispatch, notifyd, asld, launchd, and other components derived from Apple's open-source code for OS X. The basic launchd/notifyd/asld/libdispatch stack atop their "fork" of FreeBSD is working along with other basic components of their new design. You can watch a recording of the announcement as well as a longer introduction linked from Phoronix's story.
Data Storage

Meet Linux's Newest File-System: Bcachefs 132

An anonymous reader writes: Bcachefs is a new open-source file-system derived from the bcache Linux kernel block layer cache. Bcachefs was announced by Kent Overstreet, the lead Bcache author. Bcachefs hopes to provide performance like XFS/EXT4 while having features similar to Btrfs and ZFS. The bachefs on-disk format hasn't yet been finalized and the code isn't yet ready for the Linux kernel. That said, initial performance results are okay and "It probably won't eat your data — but no promises." Features so far for Bcachefs are support for multiple devices, built-in caching/tiering, CRC32C checksumming, and Zlib transparent compression. Support for snapshots is to be worked on.
AMD

AMD Still Struggling With Linux Gaming 100

An anonymous reader writes: AMD's Linux gaming performance has been embarrassingly bad, and it doesn't look like there's any quick remedy. Virtual Programming just released Dirt: Showdown for Linux, and it's the latest example of AMD's Linux driver issues: AMD's GPU results are still far behind NVIDIA's, with even the Radeon R9 Fury running slower than NVIDIA's aging GTX 680 and GTX 760. If a racing game doesn't interest you, Feral Interactive confirmed they are releasing Company of Heroes 2 for Linux next week, but only NVIDIA and Intel graphics are supported.
Graphics

OpenGL ES 3.2 & New Extensions Unveiled 46

An anonymous reader writes: With kicking off ACM SIGGRAPH '15, The Khronos Group came out with several big announcements, including the release of OpenGL ES 3.2 (which incorporates Android AEP functionality), confirmation that Google will support Vulkan on Android (when released), new desktop OpenGL extensions, and updates to the existing OpenCL 2.0 specification. They stopped short of releasing the heavily anticipated Vulkan Graphics API and also refrained from releasing a new desktop OpenGL version. They hope to have the Vulkan specification and its implementations released before year's end.
Windows

Windows 10, From a Linux User's Perspective 321

Phoronix features today a review of Windows 10 that's a little different from most you might read, because it's specifically from the point of view of an admin who uses both Windows and Linux daily, rather than concentrating only on the UI of Windows qua Windows. Reviewer Eric Griffith finds some annoyances (giant start menu even when edited to contain fewer items, complicated process if you want a truly clean install), but also some good things, like improved responsiveness ("feels much more responsive than even my Gnome and KDE installations under Fedora") and an appropriately straightforward implementation of virtual workspaces. Overall? Windows 10 is largely an evolutionary upgrade over Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, rather than a revolutionary one. Honestly I think the only reason it will be declared as 'so good' is because Windows 8/8.1 were so bad. Sure, Microsoft has made some good changes under the surface-- the animations feel crisper, its relatively light on resources, battery life is good. There is nothing -wrong- with Windows 10 aside from the Privacy Policy. If you're on Windows Vista, or Windows 8/8.1, then sure, upgrade. The system is refreshing to use, it's perfectly fine and definitely an upgrade. If you're on Windows 7 though? I'm not so sure. ... Overall, there's really nothing to see here. It's not terrible, it's not even 'bad, it's just... okay. A quiet little upgrade.
Graphics

On Linux, $550 Radeon R9 Fury Competes With $200~350 NVIDIA GPUs 83

An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this month AMD released the air-cooled Radeon R9 Fury graphics card with Fury X-like performance, but the big caveat is the bold performance is only to be found on Windows. Testing the R9 Fury X on Linux revealed the Catalyst driver delivers devastatingly low performance for this graphics card. With OpenGL Linux games, the R9 Fury performed between the speed of a GeForce GTX 960 and 970, with the GTX 960 retailing for around $200 while the GTX 970 is $350. The only workloads where the AMD R9 Fury performed as expected under Linux was the Unigine Valley tech demo and OpenCL compute tests. There also is not any open-source driver support yet for the AMD R9 Fury.
Hardware

NVIDIA Tegra X1 Performance Exceeds Intel Bay Trail SoCs, AMD AM1 APUs 57

An anonymous reader writes: A NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV modified to run Ubuntu Linux is providing interesting data on how NVIDIA's latest "Tegra X1" 64-bit ARM big.LITTLE SoC compares to various Intel/AMD/MIPS systems of varying form factors. Tegra X1 benchmarks on Ubuntu show strong performance with the X1 SoC in this $200 Android TV device, beating out low-power Intel Atom/Celeron Bay Trail SoCs, AMD AM1 APUs, and in some workloads is even getting close to an Intel Core i3 "Broadwell" NUC. The Tegra X1 features Maxwell "GM20B" graphics and the total power consumption is less than 10 Watts.
AMD

AMD Starts Rolling Out New Linux Driver Model, But Many Issues Remain 61

An anonymous reader writes: With the upcoming Linux 4.2 kernel will be the premiere of the new "AMDGPU" kernel driver to succeed the "Radeon" DRM kernel driver, which is part of AMD's long talked about new Linux driver architecture for supporting the very latest GPUs and all future GPUs. Unfortunately for AMD customers, there's still much waiting. The new open-source AMDGPU Linux code works for Tonga/Carrizo GPUs but it doesn't yet support the latest R9 Fury "Fiji" GPUs, lacks re-clocking/DPM for Tonga GPUs leading to low performance, and there are stability issues under high-load OpenGL apps/games. There's also the matter that current Linux users need to jump through hoops for now in getting the code into a working state with the latest kernel and forked versions of Mesa, libdrm, new proprietary microcode files, and the new xf86-video-amdgpu user-space driver.
Graphics

Open-Source Mesa 3D Library/Drivers Now Support OpenGL 4 30

An anonymous reader writes: The Mesa 3D project that is the basis of the open-source Linux/BSD graphics drivers now supports OpenGL 4.0 and most of OpenGL 4.1~4.2. The OpenGL 4.0 enablement code landed in Mesa Git yesterday/today and more GL 4.1/4.2 patches are currently being reviewed for the Intel, Radeon, and Nouveau open-source GPU drivers.
Graphics

LibreOffice Ported To Run On Wayland 216

An anonymous reader writes: LibreOffice has lost its X11 dependency on Linux and can now run smoothly under Wayland. LibreOffice has been ported to Wayland by adding GTK3 tool-kit support to the office suite over the past few months. LibreOffice on Wayland is now in good enough shape that the tracker bug has been closed and it should work as well as X11 except for a few remaining bugs. LibreOffice 5.0 will be released next month with this support and other changes outlined by the 5.0 release notes.
Graphics

AMD Catalyst Linux Driver Performs Wildly Different Based On Program's Name 114

An anonymous reader writes: In past years the AMD Catalyst Linux driver has yielded better performance if naming the executable "doom3.x86" or "compiz" (among other choices), but these days this application profile concept is made more absurd with more games coming to Linux but AMD not maintaining well their Linux application profile database. The latest example is by getting ~40% better performance by renaming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Linux. If renaming the "csgo_linux" binary to "hl2_linux" for Half-Life 2 within Steam, the frame-rates suddenly increase across the board, this is with the latest Catalyst 15.7 Linux driver while CS:GO has been on Linux for nearly one year. Should driver developers re-evaluate their optimization practices for Linux?
GNOME

What the GNOME Desktop Gets Right and KDE Gets Wrong 267

An anonymous reader writes: Eric Griffith at Phoronix has provided a fresh perspective on the KDE vs. GNOME desktop debate after exclusively using GNOME for the past week while being a longtime KDE user. He concluded his five-page editorial (which raises some valid points throughout) by saying, "Gnome feels like a product. It feels like a singular experience. When you use it, it feels like it is complete and that everything you need is at your fingertips. It feels like the Linux desktop. ... In KDE, it's just some random-looking window popup that any application could have created. ... KDE doesn't feel like cohesive experience. KDE doesn't feel like it has a direction its moving in, it doesn't feel like a full experience. KDE feels like its a bunch of pieces that are moving in a bunch of different directions, that just happen to have a shared toolkit beneath them." However, with the week over and despite his criticism, he's back to using KDE.
Programming

Linux 4.2-rc1 Is One of the Largest Kernel Releases of Recent Times 110

An anonymous reader writes: Linus Torvalds ended the Linux 4.2 kernel merge window today by releasing Linux 4.2-rc1. He quickly wrote, "I thought this release would be one of the biggest ones ever, but it turns out that it will depend on how you count." By most metrics, Linux 4.2 is shaping up to be a very large release. Linux 4.2 is bringing plenty of new features including the new 'AMDGPU' kernel graphics driver, Intel Broxton support, NCQ TRIM improvements, F2FS file-system encryption, new ARM CPU/board support, Renesas R8/300 arch support, and many other additions.
Open Source

NVIDIA Begins Supplying Open-Source Register Header Files 77

An anonymous reader writes: NVIDIA's latest mark of their newly discovered open-source kindness is beginning to provide open-source hardware reference headers for their latest GK20A/GM20B Tegra GPUs while they are working to also provide hardware header files on their older GPUs. These programming header files in turn will help the development of the open-source Nouveau driver as up to this point they have had to do much of the development via reverse-engineering. Perhaps most interesting is that moving forward they would like to use the Nouveau kernel driver code-base as the primary development environment for new hardware.
Operating Systems

Linux 4.1 Kernel Released With EXT4 Encryption, Performance Improvements 116

An anonymous reader writes: The Linux 4.1 kernel has been announced and its release brings expanded features for the Linux kernel including EXT4 file-system encryption, open-source GeForce GTX 750 support, performance improvements for Intel Atom / Bay Trail hardware, RAID 5/6 improvements, and other additions.
Intel

How Today's Low-Power X86 & ARM CPUs Compare To Intel's Old NetBurst CPUs 77

An anonymous reader writes: In trying to offer a unique look at how Intel x86 CPU performance has evolved since their start, Phoronix celebrated their 11th birthday by comparing modern CPUs to old Socket 478 CPUs with the NetBurst Celeron and Pentium 4C on an Intel 875P+ICH5R motherboard. These old NetBurst processors were compared to modern Core and Atom processors from Haswell, Broadwell, Bay Trail and other generations. There were also some AMD CPUs and the NVIDIA Tegra K1 ARM processor. Surprisingly, in a few Linux tests the NetBurst CPUs performed better than AMD E-Series APUs and an Atom Bay Trail. However, for most workloads, the 45+ other CPUs tested ended up being multiple times faster; for the systems where the power consumption was monitored, the power efficiency was obviously multiple times better.
Intel

Intel Skylake & Broxton Graphics Processors To Start Mandating Binary Blobs 193

An anonymous reader writes: Intel has often been portrayed as the golden child within the Linux community and by those desiring a fully-free system without tainting their kernel with binary blobs while wanting a fully-supported open-source driver. The Intel Linux graphics driver over the years hasn't required any firmware blobs for acceleration, compared to AMD's open-source driver having many binary-only microcode files and Nouveau also needing blobs — including firmware files that NVIDIA still hasn't released for their latest GPUs. However, beginning with Intel Skylake and Broxton CPUs, their open-source driver will now too require closed-source firmware. The required "GuC" and "DMC" firmware files are for handling the new hardware's display microcontroller and workload scheduling engine. These firmware files are explicitly closed-source licensed and forbid any reverse-engineering. What choices are left for those wanting a fully-free, de-blobbed system while having a usable desktop?