Subject: General Tech | May 28, 2012 - 01:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, Intel, amd, Ivy Bridge, llano, opencl
Two different stories today focus on how both major CPU vendors have allowed their support for the new features present in their architectures to fall behind for Linux OSes. From The Inquirer we hear about the how poor OpenCL support from AMD is leaving APU accelerated computing for Linux to lag behind Windows development. This goes far beyond purely graphical tasks and the complaints we have heard from gamers as OpenCL is a computing language that can handle far more than just pushing pixels. The two most common OpenCL applications that people are familiar with are the GPU clients for BOINC and Folding@Home, which enable you to chug work units on your graphics card or the graphics cores on your CPU. AMD's Neal Robinson who is the current senior director of Consumer Developer Support has taken up the challenge of promoting Linux OpenCL support from within AMD, so keep your eyes peeled for news from his team.
Intel's Ivy Bridge is no better according to Phoronix, as testing shows very little improvement on the default Ubuntu Unity desktop with Compiz. That is what allows Ubuntu users to show the iconic Desktop Cube on the Gnome desktop environment and using it shows negative effects on the general performance of the system. Switching to KDE and OpenGL generally resulted in better performance as did Xfce. Phoronix does not hold out much hope for the improvement of Compiz on Ivy Bridge processors or Intel's open source drivers for the near future, either for graphics or GPU accelerated computation.
"For AMD flaky Linux support isn't just a matter of gamers complaining, but now with its APUs, standard applications are simply not making use of the compute power that AMD needs to compete with Intel."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Crazy Texans dunk servers in DEEP FRYERS @ The Register
- Reading RFID cards from afar easily @ Hack a Day
- 450mbps routers reviewed: 14 of the fastest models @ Hardware.Info
- The New x264 HD Benchmark 5.0 Is Here @ TechARP
- Weekly Gaming Giveaway #3: Waveform @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2012 - 03:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, linux, steam
It seems the Gabe Newell doesn't like hearing that you can't game on Linux and is planning on releasing a Linux version of both Steam and the Source Engine. The implementation is planned to be natively supported by Linux with no need for Wine, Phoronix has seen it running with an install of Ubuntu and a Catalyst driver for the Radeon that was providing graphics. The Linux community has been waiting a long time for this day and now that Gabe is focusing his attention on this project there is hopes that it will soon come to fruition. Phoronix could not be happier.
"For those that have doubted the exclusive Phoronix claims for quite a while now that the Steam client and Source Engine are in fact being ported to Linux, the doubts can be nearly laid to rest. Even I began to wonder how long it would take before the clients for their popular games would be publicly released under Linux. However, after confirming the information perhaps a bit too soon, their level of Linux interest is much more clear after spending a day at their offices. A meeting topped off the day with Gabe Newell regarding Linux where he sounded more like a Linux saint than an ex-Microsoft employee. Valve does have some great plans for Linux beyond just shipping the client versions of Steam and their popular games on the Source Engine."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Play Diablo III for free this weekend @ HEXUS
- Tribes: Ascend GPU & CPU Performance Test @ TechSpot
- Avernum: Escape from the Pit @ Kitguru
- DiRT Showdown Preview (PC) @ HardwareHeaven
- Waveform PC Review @ eTeknix
- New Call of Duty game to be revealed next week? @ HEXUS
- Stalker 2 Dead (Again), But Now There’s Survarium @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Crytek On Fusing Crysis 1, Crysis 2, And District 9 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Pandora's Tower (Nintendo Wii) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D Nintendo 3DS @ Tweaktown
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 4, 2012 - 06:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hd 7950, ubuntu 12.04, opengl, linux, amd
Phoronix revisited the performance the HD 7950 on the new Catalyst driver for Linux as it is no longer labelled as unsupported hardware. That means that not only are the default clocks correct, you can use aticonfig/amdconfig to overclock the cards if you so desire. The scaling of the card now matches the clock speed nicely and shows an improvement from the HD 6950 in the benchmarks. You might not be able to find a Linux game which will take advantage of the full feature set and power of the HD 7950 but the card is capable of far more than providing you with pixels to slaughter.
"Here are some updated benchmarks of the AMD Radeon HD 7950 "Southern Islands" graphics card under Linux with the proprietary Catalyst driver."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition and HD 7850 @ X-bit Labs
- HIS Radeon HD 7870 IceQ Turbo @ Legion Hardware
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 Overclocked Edition Review @ Neoseeker
- MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning 3GB Video Cards in CrossFire Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- Sapphire HD7870 Overclock Edition @ Kitguru
- XFX Radeon HD 7870 Black Edition 2GB @ Tweaktown
- ASUS Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI R7970 Lightning Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- MSI HD 7870 Twin Frozr III 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte HD 7770 OC with CrossFire @ Bjorn3D
- Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 OC 3GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning @ Guru of 3D
- AMD Catalyst 12.3 Windows 7 Driver Analysis @ Tweaktown
- Graphics card buying guide @ eTeknix
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Surround Gaming Tested @ Legit Reviews
- ZOTAC GTX 680s Extreme Overclock in SLI @ Bjorn3D
- Zotac GTX680 SLI @ OC3D
- A closer look at some GeForce GTX 680 features @ The Tech Report
Subject: General Tech, Systems | March 29, 2012 - 04:46 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Red Hat, linux
Red Hat becomes the first Linux company to be worth over a billion dollars (edit for clarity: I meant take in over a billion dollars in revenue) with $1.13 billion in revenue last year.
Red Hat, Inc. is an open source software company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company’s identity is primarily with their current flagship product, Red Hat Enterprise Linux -- and a Cornell University lacrosse hat. The company also sponsors and holds liability over the Fedora Project which counterbalances Enterprise Linux by providing a free and community-supported operating system.
Just for clarification, that’s a rich penguin, not a rich drake.
Red Hat reported earnings of $1.13 billion dollars in revenue with $146.6 million in earnings. Subscriptions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux were declared responsible for $965.6 million dollars of their total revenue.
ZDNet has also reported that Linux is progressively eating market share from UNIX and Windows for servers shipped with preinstalled operating systems. Red Hat and other Linux vendors are progressively getting more of the same treatment as Microsoft has enjoyed in the past.
The future is bright for Linux, which is unfortunate due to the hole in the Ozone layer over Antarctica. Maybe the rest of the $1.13 billion is sales of sunscreen?
Subject: General Tech | March 19, 2012 - 11:46 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: OS, linux kernel 3.3, linux, kernel, Android
Linux kernel 3.3 has recently been released for public consumption, and it features quite a few new features and improvements. The kernel is the code that developers than build upon to create all the various Linux distributions such as Fedora, Mint, and Arch Linux (among others).
This latest release, version 3.3 includes various improvements to the file system, btrfs, networking, architecture, and EFI BIOS support. In regards to the file system, the Linux 3.3 kernel supports improved balancing and the ability to re-stripe between different RAID (redundant array of independent disks) levels. Further, the kernel will now allow an x86 boot image to be processed by EFI firmware in addition to the traditional BIOS microcode boot that is present in the majority of today's machines. Also, Kernel 3.3 improves the networking aspects by improving the ability to bond multiple NICs to improve networking throughput and/or to provide redundant connections. Support for a new architecture has also emerged such that Linux kernel will work with Texas Instruments C6X based chips. These chips include the "family of C64x single and multicore DSPs."
The above improvements are just the tip of the iceberg, however. The most talked about new feature is likely going to be the inclusion of Android code from Google's Android OS project. According to the Kernel Newbies website, the disagreements between Linux kernel developers and Google have been "ironed out," and code from the Android project will now start to be rolled back into the Linux kernel. They expect that Android coming home to traditional Linux will make developing code and end user software easier for everyone, and they expect further Android and Linux integration in the future.
More information on the latest Linux kernel release is available here.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 13, 2012 - 05:41 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, GCN, southern islands, hd 7950
After a delay of several weeks AMD has finally released a hot fix for Linux to allow for the usage of their new generation of video cards but they've not provided updates that can be rolled into the Linux kernel DRM driver, the X.Org DDX driver, or the new Gallium3D driver. However, since the new features seem to have been enabled with this hot fix, Phoronix picked up an XFX Radeon HD 7950 Black 3GB to test for performance on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. The good news is that they saw 40~50%+ faster performance than an HD6950 but unfortunately not at stock speeds, the driver did not fully recognize the card and would not let them set the GPU and memory speeds to their full defaults.
"The Radeon HD 7900 series were announced at the end of 2011 and since then the Linux support status for this hardware has remained a big question. For the Radeon HD 7000 series "Southern Islands" GPU launch, they did not send over any hardware samples so Linux consumers have left to be confused over the state of the non-Windows support for AMD's hardware based on the "Graphics Core Next" architecture. Fortunately, here is finally an extensive look at the Radeon HD 7000 series on Linux with testing of a Radeon HD 7950."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Radeon HD 7870 Overclock Guide @ Guru of 3D
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 Dual-X 3GB OC @ Tweaktown
- PowerColor LCS HD7970 3GB Review @ OCC
- AMD Radeon HD 7770 1GB Reference Design @ Tweaktown
- VTX3D Radeon HD7970 X Edition @ Kitguru
- VisionTek Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Cards in 4-Way CrossFireX @ Tweaktown
- Diamond Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card tested with Catalyst 12.2 @ Tweaktown
- Sapphire HD7750 Ultimate Edition @ Kitguru
- AMD Radeon HD 7750 1GB Reference Video Cards in CrossFire @ Tweaktown
- Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate @ LanOC
- Sapphire HD7870 OverClock Edition Gallery @ HardwareHeaven
- AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB Reference Video Cards in CrossFire @ Tweaktown
- PowerColor PCS+ Radeon HD 7870 GHz OC Edition 2GB @ Tweaktown
- Gigabyte Radeon HD 7770 OC Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 OC vs GTX 560 Ti OC Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Gigabyte HD 7770 OC @ Funky kit
- AMD Catalyst 12.2 Windows 7 Driver Analysis @ Tweaktown
- ARCTIC Accelero Mono Plus VGA cooler @ Hardwareoverclock
- Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Almost High-End: Asus GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores DirectCU II @ X-bit Labs
- TitaniumGL: A Faster Multi-Platform Graphics Driver Architecture? @ Phoronix
Subject: Systems | March 10, 2012 - 10:30 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, linux, computers, arm
It seems that not all is sweets (pie, of course) and celebration for the folks over at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, as the initial batch of their ARM powered Linux computers have experienced what the charity has dubbed a “hiccup” at the manufacturing stage. It seems that while they specified magnetic jacks in the design materials, the wrong RJ45 network jacks for the boards were soldered on accidentally by the Chinese factory. According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the dud jacks in question were the result of the manufacturer using non magnetic jacks instead of RJ45 connectors with integrated magnetic connections. They further stated that they had been aware of the problem for four days prior to the announcement, but needed to “do some further tests to make sure nothing else was affected.”
They are currently sourcing the proper network jacks, and are receiving help from their manufacturing and distribution partners RS Components and Premier Farnell. It is not all bad news; however, as it seems they caught the issue quickly enough to maintain the release schedule for the initial batch of Raspberry Pi boards. The issue is a relatively minor one that is easily rectified by desoldering the dud jacks and soldering on the new ones with integrated magnetics. The manufacturing factory is nearly finished with the replacement on the initial batch and they expect the boards to get out to consumers on time. The less than ideal news is that, there may be a slight delay for those waiting on pre-orders of boards outside of the initial batch as they are still trying to source enough networking jacks as mentioned above.
'We are very, very sorry.” they stated in the blog post. In the end, they believe it to be a mere small bump in the road and have promised to keep users updated on the manufacturing status of the eagerly awaited Raspberry Pi computers. More information along with X-rays of the dud networking jacks can be found on their blog.
Subject: Systems | March 10, 2012 - 12:52 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, OS, linux
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has quite the success on their hands with the small ARM powered Linux computer they have dubbed the Raspberry Pi. With pre-orders that sold out within hours, a great deal of press coverage, and overwhelming support from the community to support the Raspberry Pi with software and download mirrors, they have announced not only the promised Fedora 14 Remix Linux distribution, but OpenELEC XBMC support and an Arch Linux distro for power users.
So far, the charity has released the Fedora 14 Remix, Debian Squeeze, and Arch Linux distributions. All three are now available for download via their downloads page using either Torrent files or HTTP downloads through the community mirrors.
The Fedora Remix Distro
The Debian Squeeze OS is the Raspberry Pi's reference file system and is aimed at software developers while the Fedora Remix is aimed at those wanting a casual OS that is capable of playing back multimedia content. Finally, the Arch Linux distro is aimed at power users and Linux enthusiasts that want to totally customize their Linux operating system and the software including with it. These distros are meant to be installed on an SD card and then inserted into the Raspberry Pi.
Head on over to their downloads page to get your hands on the distros!
In a recent press release, the Linux Foundation added four new members, one of which is a big deal in the graphics card industry. In addition to the new members of Fluendo, Lineo Solutions, and Mocana is the green GPU powerhouse NVIDIA. According to Maximum PC, there is talk around the web of the company moving to open source graphics drivers; however, NVIDIA has not released anything to officially confirm or deny.
The Linux Foundation's Logo
Such a move would be rather extreme and unlikely, but it would certainly be one that is welcomed by the Linux community. Officially, the Vice President of Linux Platform Software Scott Pritchett stated the company is "strongly committed" to delivering quality software/hardware experiences and they hope their membership in the Linux Foundation will "accelerate our collaboration with the organizations and individuals instrumental in shaping the future of Linux." Further, they hope to be able to add to and enhance the user and development experience of the open source operating system.
The three other members to join the Linux Foundation specialize in multimedia software (Fluendo), embedded system development (Lineo Solutions), and device-agnostic security (Mocana) but the green giant that is NVIDIA has certainly stolen the show and is the big announcement for them (which isn't a bad thing that they joined, it is kind of a big deal to have them). Amanda McPherson, VP of Marketing and Developer Services for the Linux Foundation wrapped up the press release by saying that all of the new members "represent important areas of the Linux ecosystem and their contributions will immediately help advance the operating system.”
NVIDIA has generally enjoyed good support on the major Linux distributions, but now that they are a member here's hoping they can further improve their Linux graphics card drivers. What is your take on the Linux Foundation's new members, will they make a difference?
Subject: Systems, Mobile | February 29, 2012 - 05:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, mobile, linux, hdmi, computer
The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced yesterday that their little Linux computer would be launching in the early hours of the morning today. Instead of the original plan of Raspberry Pi handling the pre-orders and shipping them from the UK, they ended up partnering with RS Components and Premier Farnell to handle all their orders and distribute them to customers. The non profit foundation states that this move will save customers money on shipping as the two companies have distribution centers worldwide and they will be able to get more boards out because they will be able to sell enough boards to meet demand.
Today, RS and Farnell were offering up the Model B Raspberry Pi boards for pre-order, and the first 5,000 orders from each company will receive their Raspberry Pi boards from the initial 10,000 unit batch. Surprisingly, the two companies' servers were getting hit extremely hard earlier today and it was almost impossible to not see at least a couple error pages requiring a painfully long refresh. According to the article, the Raspberry Pi computer sold out "within hours." Even though the initial batch of boards is spoken for, customers can continue to pre-order boards that will be delivered as soon as the next batch has finished production. Those unlucky enough to miss the first 10,000 aren't completely out of luck; however, as it is rumored that production of more boards should be getting underway and have an estimated delivery date a bit more than a month away. How true that is, remains to be seen however.
Personally, I managed to snag one of the first Raspberry Pi boards from Farnell Export, but it was an order fraught with error pages and being uncertain just how many I ordered as the confirm order page kept error-ing out. Luckily, I received an email from them confirming my order of a single Raspberry Pi and am now eagerly waiting for it to arrive. The last estimated delivery figure I received puts it about a month out, however.
In another bit of good news, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is still planning to release the cheaper Model A board later this year, and they managed to up the RAM to a full 256 MB of RAM which is twice the original 128 MB of RAM they planned. This update to the Model A means that the Model B is now only differentiated by the addition of two USB ports and an Ethernet port.
Did you manage to snag a Raspberry Pi this morning? From how hard the servers were getting hit last night, I'm starting to think that the Raspberry Pi Linux computer may be more popular than actual pie! If you are still interested in pre-ordering a Raspberry Pi, RS Components and Premier Farnell have you covered.