NVIDIA's new Linux drivers do well until you try the OpenGL optimizations

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2012 - 10:05 AM |
Tagged: opengl, nvidia, linux, driver

Phoronix tested out the new beta Linux driver from NVIDIA on a GTX 680 and saw some nice performance improvements compared to the previous generation of driver.  They tested not just popular Linux games but also several Unigine benchmarks and for the most part when using just the basic driver they saw noticeable improvements and would recommend updating your system.  On the other hand when they enabled the threaded OpenGL optimization performance plummeted in every test, leading Phoronix to describe the current threaded OpenGL support as "a mess at this point.".  If you were hoping to take advantage of the new threading options, you'd best hold off for another driver revision.

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"With the NVIDIA 310.14 Beta driver introduced at the beginning of this week there are some OpenGL performance improvements in general plus an experimental threaded OpenGL implementation that can be easily enabled. In this article are benchmarks from the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 with this new Linux driver release."

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Source: Phoronix

Is an Atom D520 'good enough' for Linux

Subject: Systems | October 15, 2012 - 05:16 PM |
Tagged: ALUSA Atom Desktop, linux

While the Atom processor does not have a good reputation here at PC Perspective as far as its ability to provide enough power for most peoples usage, Phoronix might have a different take on a tiny Atom powered computer.  After all, Linux has a reputation of needing less system resources than a Windows box, so perhaps the benefits of a tiny 190 x 135 x 25 mm system outweigh any possible performance issues on a customized Ubuntu installation, called ALUSA 12.04 OS.  You may not be surprised to find out that while the system did boot properly out of the box and all the hardware was properly supported, the lack of power especially the maximum resolution limit of 1366x768 was enough to turn Phoronix off of this device.  There is a newer model they hope to test in the future.

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"For the past several weeks I have been testing out the ALUSA Atom Desktop with Linux. As implied by the name it's an Intel Atom powered desktop/nettop computer, but this Atom system comes out of Portugal from a small Linux-focused start-up company."

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Source: Phoronix

Mention Linux incompatibility and it will be fixed; ARM support coming soon

Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2012 - 12:54 PM |
Tagged: linux, arm

Linus has been graphically describing what he thinks of the fragmented state of ARM manufacturers who make it very difficult for a single Linux kernel to reliably work on the staggering variety of ARM chips on the market.  So many manufacturers license ARM technology under an agreement which allows them a lot of leeway to make changes to the architecture which leads to the development nightmares which are preventing Linux from offering the same compatibility for ARM as they do for x86 chips. This is poised to change as The Register has announced that Linus has committed new source code which could finally lead to multi-platform support.  Calxeda and other companies pushing ARM based server solutions can't wait for this to finish testing and be deployed.

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"Based on Johansson’s source code changes, one Linux kernel build could supports devices of all kinds. He said electronics capable of running the new kernel include system-on-a-chip machines, storage devices, cameras, medical devices and Calexda's efforts to put ARM-powered chips in HP ProLiant SL6500 servers."

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Source: The Register

List of Games for Linux Steam Client Leak

Subject: General Tech | October 9, 2012 - 06:26 AM |
Tagged: valve, tux, steam, linux, gaming

A Steam client for Linux has been a long time in the making, but is definitely getting closer to release with an imminent public beta announced last month.

During the initial announcement, Valve hinted that at least one native Linux game would be available along with the new beta client. Many gamers have predicted that the game will be Valve's own zombie FPS Left 4 Dead 2. Now, thanks to a leaked list of games from Valve's CDR database, gamers can add a few more native Linux games to that list. Among the leaked native Linux games are:

  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent
  • Crusader Kings 2
  • Cubemen
  • Dungeons of Dredmor
  • Dynamite Jack
  • Eversion
  • Galcon Fusion
  • Serious Sam 3: BFE
  • Solar 2
  • SpaceChem
  • Steel Storm: Burning Retribution
  • Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP
  • Trine 2
  • Waveform
  • World of Goo 

Unfortunately, various id software titles with Linux ports appear to be absent as well as several popular Linux-only games such as Tuxracer, Super Tuxkart, and other games popular with a certain penguin. It will be interesting to see what newer games Steam is able to bring on board after the official launch as well. I expect to see games like FTL, for example. Further, I'm curious to see how well received Steam will be versus software like the Ubuntu Software Center!

You can find a full list of games currently on Steam (for Windows) that have native Windows binaries – and will likely make it onto the native Linux Steam client – on this wiki page.

Are you excited for Linux to (finally) get a Steam client?

Source: Bit-Tech

Limited Access Steam for Linux Beta Coming In October

Subject: General Tech | September 29, 2012 - 06:07 PM |
Tagged: valve, steam, linux, gaming

Valve software is slowly but surely moving towards supporting the open source Linux operating system with a new Steam client. The latest milestone is an announcement by Valve that it is extending the beta beyond its privately selected internal testers to a limited number of public users.

The upcoming public beta will be rolled out soon along with a sign up page where the public can apply. From that sign up list, Valve will be selecting 1,000 applicants to test the Linux version of its Steam client.

While Valve has not announced a specific date for the start of the beta (or when the sign up page will go live) beyond that it is coming “sometime in October,” the company did provide a couple of tidbits of information on the beta client software.

The (limited) public beta will include the Steam game client, and a single Valve game. This beta client will run on Ubuntu 12.04 or above. Unfortunately, the beta will not include any additional playable games. Also the beta client will not include the recently released (on Windows) Big Picture Mode functionality.

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Many users are speculating that the single game hinted at in the announcement will be the company’s latest zombie co-op shooter Left 4 Dead 2, as Valve has shown off the game running on Linux before. Valve has stated that it is extending the beta beyond its internal testers to attempt to get a wider sample size and to be able to test the beta software on as many varied hardware configurations as possible.

Gamers that want a chance to be one of the 1,000 users that will be asked to participate in the beta should keep an eye out on the Linux blog on Valve's website.

Granted, this is a small step, and the final Steam client for Linux is probably a ways off still, but I am still excited. Like Scott mentioned, gaming is one of the things keeping me with Windows despite my interest in Linux Mint (that OS really flies on my system! ).

Source: Valve
Manufacturer: PC Perspective
Tagged: windows 8, linux, bsd

Or: the countdown to a fresh Start.

Over time – and not necessarily much of it – usage of a platform can become a marriage. I trusted Windows, nee MS-DOS, guardianship over all of my precious applications which depend upon it. Chances are you too have trusted Microsoft or a similar proprietary platform holder to provide a household for your content.

It is time for a custody hearing.

These are the reasons why I still use Windows – and who could profit as home wreckers.

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Windows 8 -- keep your rings. You are not ready for commitment.

1st Reason – Games

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The most obvious leading topic.

Computer games have been dominated by Windows for quite some time now. When you find a PC game at retail or online you will find either a Windows trademark or the occasional half-eaten fruit somewhere on the page or packaging.

One of the leading reasons for the success of the PC platform is the culture of backwards compatibility. Though the platform has been rumored dead ad-infinitum it still exists – surrounded by a wasteland of old deprecated consoles. I still play games from past decades on their original platform.

Check in after the break to find out why I still use Windows.

Track your Linux powered laptops battery usage

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 26, 2012 - 10:21 AM |
Tagged: linux

Power consumption on Linux has always been harder to track than on Windows, especially at a granular level to determine which components are the most power hungry in your system.  Considering the huge outcry some users made at the release of kernel 3.5 and the high power draw they witnessed, monitoring power has become a hot topic for many. Phoronix just posted a review of PowerTOP, which shows the discharge rate of your laptops battery, as well as how much power your hardware is using including the number of interrupts it is sending to your CPU. For developers there is even a way to create hardware profiles for yourself and your users which will help you extend battery life for all your mobile Linux machines.

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"Getting the longest battery life on portable Linux machines is yet another moving target as kernels and standards change and vendors continue to snuggle up to Microsoft at the expense of non-Windows users. There was a bit of controversy at the release of the 3.x kernel because it contained a power regression (or not a power regression but something else that behaved like a power regression depending on who was talking) and the result was that Linux got considerably less battery life than Windows on the same machines. This was especially obvious to dual-boot users. This is a long complex story, so if you're interested in the details see the links at the end."

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Source: Phoronix

Of course you know, this means war. Clover Trail supposedly can't run Linux

Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2012 - 09:41 AM |
Tagged: Medfield, linux, Intel, fud, clover trail

Clover Trail is Intel's next Atom, the chip which refuses to die, representing an evolution of Medfield and the x86 instruction set.  That didn't stop Intel from making a bizarre statement that Linux will not run on Clover Trail, even though it ran fine on Medfield and is an OS for x86 architecture chips.  It is more accurate to say that some features of Clover Trail will not currently work under Linux, specifically the new power states introduced in the new Atom. Until the Linux kernel catches up to the new technology the new C and P states which can turn off the clock on the chip while still enabling 'instant on' will be unavailable which is a far cry from not being able to run on the chip at all.  Thanks to The Register for immediately stomping on that FUD.

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"SAN FRANCISCO: CHIPMAKER Intel has confirmed that it will not provide support for Linux on its Clover Trail Atom chip.

Intel's Clover Trail Atom processor can be seen in various nondescript laptops around IDF and the firm provided a lot of architectural details on the chip, confirming details such as dual-core and a number of power states. However Intel said Clover Trail "is a Windows 8 chip" and that "the chip cannot run Linux"."

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Source: The Register

Intel's new HD2500 on Linux

Subject: Processors | August 20, 2012 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: linux, Ivy Bridge, Intel, i5-3470, hd 2500

The new Ivy Bridge processors introduced a new member of Intel's graphics processor called the HD 2500, which has received less than positive reviews as the previous HD 3000 outperforms it.  However those tests were for Windows applications and games, whereas the testing at Phoronix specifically pertains to the performance under Linux.  They compare the i5-2400S, i5-2500K, i5-3470, and i7-3770K together in a series of benchmarks to not only test the performance but also their compatibility with Linux.  It seems that perhaps the performance of the HD3000 and HD2500 are much closer in Linux than they were running under Windows, though both still lose out to the HD4000.

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"Since the launch of Intel's Ivy Bridge processors earlier this year there have been many benchmarks of the Intel Core i7 3770K with its integrated HD 4000 graphics and then more recently have been Linux testing of the Intel Core i7 3517UE from the CompuLab Intense-PC and Intel Core i7-3615QM as found on the Apple Retina MacBook Pro. The newest Intel Ivy Bridge chip to play with at Phoronix is the Intel Core i5 3470, which bears an Intel HD 2500 graphics core. In this article are benchmarks of the Intel HD 2500 Ivy Bridge graphics with the open-source Intel Linux graphics driver stack."

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Source: Phoronix

So much for your Linux powered Retina system

Subject: General Tech | August 17, 2012 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: retina display, macbook pro, linux

While the hardware is certainly attractive, a Core i7 3615QM, 8GB DDR3-1600, a GT 650M and of course, the Retina display at 2880x1800, the new MacBook Pro is not for Linux users ... at least not yet.  The issues Phoronix have seen with Thunderbolt on Linux also seem to extend to the MacBook Pro as a whole.  No matter what distribution they tried, the display either did not work or it mangled the image to an unusable state as you can see below.  Even worse, when Phoronix managed to at least connect to the machine in a way they could monitor it, they saw much greater power usage than with OSX.

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"If you are planning to buy one of the new Apple MacBook Pro notebooks with a Retina Display for use under Linux, hold off on your purchase. Running the Retina MacBook Pro with Linux isn't a trouble-free experience and after using even the latest development code and jumping through various hoops, Linux on the latest Apple hardware is still less than an ideal experience. Linux support will improve for the Retina MacBook Pro in the coming months, but it's not likely to see any proper "out of the box" experience until next year."

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Source: Phoronix