Tag Archives: Linux hardware benchmarks

Librem 5 Developer Kit’s Mainline Kernel Support Hits 12th Patch Revision


HARDWARE --

While it’s just the DeviceTree additions needed to the kernel for enabling the Librem 5 Developer Kit to boot with the mainline kernel, the DT files are up to their twelfth patch revision.

With the Librem 5 Developer Kit leveraging the existing Linux kernel’s i.MX8 support, the Dev Kit support addition is introducing the DT files around the board. With this, the board has enough to boot to the command prompt. Though surprisingly for being just the DT, it’s taken 12 patch revisions to get where it’s at today. This latest revision is just trivial changes, so hopefully it’s a sign that the DT support could be ready soon for the mainline kernel. But with the Linux 5.2 kernel merge window passing, likely it won’t land until Linux 5.3.

Those interested can find the latest Librem 5 Developer Kit DT via the kernel mailing list. Keep in mind this is just for the developer board itself and not the delayed Librem 5 smartphone that is still under development and will likely require other kernel changes as well.


The BSDs Get Promptly Mitigated For The MDS Side-Channel Vulnerabilities


BSD --

When Spectre and Meltdown came to light, there was some frustrations in the BSD community that it took time for them to be briefed and ultimately handling the mitigations for these CPU security vulnerabilities. Fortunately, with the new Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS, also dubbed “Zombieload”) vulnerabilities, the key BSDs have seen punctual patches.

FreeBSD on Tuesday issued a security advisory that does include patches and additional guidance. FreeBSD’s guidance is also recommending the disabling of Hyper Threading for systems with users/processors in different trust domains. FreeBSD also provides instructions on setting up the loading of the latest Intel CPU microcode files and applying patches for FreeBSD 12 and 11 series.

NetBSD and DragonFlyBSD have also been mitigated with DragonFlyBSD basing their work on the former’s patch. That is now in their Git code. Besides needing to update the CPU microcode, a new sysctl knob needs to be flipped on. Without the microcode update, DragonFlyBSD also recommends disabling the Hyper Threading. Matthew Dillon warns, “This mitigation burns around 250nS of additional latency on kernel to user transitions (system calls and interrupts primarily).”

I’ll have out my initial MDS benchmarks on Thursday based on the new Linux kernel releases.


A Slew Of Stable Kernel Updates Issued For Addressing MBS / Zombieload Vulnerabilities


LINUX KERNEL --

Following today’s disclosure of the new MDS vulnerabilities affecting Intel CPUs, a slew of new Linux kernel stable releases have been issued.

Greg Kroah-Hartman has issued Linux 5.1.2, 5.0.16, 4.19.43, 4.14.119, and 4.9.176 with these now public mitigation patches that pair with Intel’s CPU microcode for mitigating this latest set of speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities.

Greg wrote:

All users of the 5.1 kernel series must upgrade. Well, kind of, let me rephrase that…

All users of Intel processors made since 2011 must upgrade.

Note, this release, and the other stable releases that are all being released right now at the same time, just went out all contain patches that have only seen the “public eye” for about 5 minutes. So be forwarned, they might break things, they might not build, but hopefully they fix things. Odds are we will be fixing a number of small things in this area for the next few weeks as things shake out on real hardware and workloads. So don’t think you are done updating your kernel, you never are done with that 🙂

Go fetch from Kernel.org.

Yes, I’ll be running some benchmarks of this latest mitigation work… Supposedly up to 10% performance penalty for MDS. Benchmarks out later this week.


Microsoft Confirms WSL To Co-Exist With WSL2, Other Windows Subsystem for Linux Details


MICROSOFT --

Now that Microsoft’s Build conference is over where last week they announced Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL), they have now posted a FAQ to address other common questions about this new implementation for running Linux binaries on Windows 10.

Today’s answers to the frequently asked questions comes after an interesting and technical video about WSL2 from their Build conference, so check that out first if you have not already and want to learn about the WSL2 architecture.

The information shared by Microsoft today basically comes down to:

– WSL2 will be supported on all SKUs where WSL is currently supported, including Windows 10 home, even though it does use the Hyper-V architecture.

– WSL1 will not be deprecated at this point and will co-exist side-by-side with WSL2 distributions.

– Due to the Hyper-V usage of WSL2, WSL2 will not work when VirtualBox or VMware software is active.

– The initial release of WSL2 provides limited hardware access, but they will be working on support for GPUs, serial, USB, etc, with time.

– In addition to running faster, WSL2 should work out better for networking applications.

More details on the Microsoft Dev Blog.


Linux 5.2 Ups Laptop Support From A New Intel Power Button Driver To Better Ryzen Input


HARDWARE --

Both Intel and AMD laptop hardware are seeing various improvements coming with the in-development Linux 5.2 kernel.

First up, Linux 5.2 will finally offer better compatibility with many AMD Ryzen laptops out there… In particular, as previously covered, the new AMD PCIe MP2 I2C controller driver has been merged and allows many laptop touchpads / touchscreens to finally function accordingly under Linux. It has taken a long time for this AMD driver to get into shape for mainline but it’s here with Linux 5.2 to finally provide out-of-the-box/working touchpad/touchscreen support without requiring an out-of-tree DKMS module or hitting other snags.

The AMD PCIe MP2 I2C controller driver is the headlining feature of the I2C pull request for the ongoing Linux 5.2 merge window.

Meanwhile on the Intel laptop front, the platform-drivers-x86 pull has a few goodies. There is a new “intel_mrfld_pwrbtn” driver providing Intel Basin Cove power button support as found on some Merrifield-based devices. It’s about time on that front with the Atom Merrifield products having come out back in 2014.

Other laptop work includes the ASUS WMI driver now having Fn lock mode switch support, switching from a blacklist to whitelist for dealing with non-working WiFi on newer Lenovo IdeaPad systems, EC information on newer Lenovo ThnkPads is now properly recognized, and various other quirks/fixes.

Plus the tons of Linux 5.2 improvements in general will surely please many Intel/AMD laptop owners once switching over to this new kernel that will debut as stable in July.