Sapphire Nitro Radeon RX470

About a month and half ago I purchased a RX470 and I want to write my experience with the card so far. I am not happy.

Originally I wanted to have a nVidia GTX 970. But the RX470 had 8GB RAM instead of 4GB and, more interestingly, the double precision float operations should be significantly faster. I had terrible experiences with ATI Cards and Linux drivers in the past, but I thought, since they have made some progress, it should be also a problem of the past.

I was so wrong.

So, I picked up the card and build it into my computer. Display was ok, GRUB and the BIOS displays are ok but somehow my Ubuntu doesn't come up with it.


Found out, AMD/ATI are not supporting Kernel Version larger than 4.8 - The DKMS driver doesn't build, because of an API change for linux/fence.c.

So I had to install Ubuntu 16.04 with Kernel 4.8. I had to uninstall my production system. I was really pissed.

After some some tries I managed to install the driver and was quiet happy for about a month, when a planned kernel update killed again the functionality. Of course, I forgot.'
So, again my production system was down. I though, well some time has passed, they have updated the driver for sure. Again, wrong. Even worse, AMD suggest to work with Ubuntu 16.04.02 and, quote

the recommended best practice is to install from 16.04.2 media but disable installation of updates.

Are you kidding me?!???? You are honestly recommending not installing Updates!??!?

I'm now stuck with the system and trying since two hours to get it back running and it's just a nightmare.

So, my conclusion so far: The hardware is cool and has nice specifications but the support for Linux drivers, even the mainstream versions, is still unacceptable.
I really hope they will improve their drivers for Linux.

I'm going back to nVidia.

OpenStreetMap Malaria Mapping

That's a #FaithInHumanityRestored post 🙂

In the past months, a volonteer group of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap project have used satellite data to improve the OpenStreetMap data n different African countries. The aim was to improve the available map data to fight Malaria.

If you also like that such things happen, you might consider retweeting this tweet to spread the word.

Do good and tell about it!


Rotterdam: Mini World

In the coming days, some Blog posts about Rotterdam are to be expected 🙂

Rotterdam - Mini World

I start with Rotterdam Mini World.

In Mini World every minute is like an hour in real time. After 24 minutes you have lived through a whole day.

In the evening (Mini World time) the lights get dimmed and at night switched off. Now all the little mini lights in the city go on, trains and cars are driving with lights and the docks get illuminated.

Miniworld at night. All the little lights go on, the whole city is illuminated

24 minutes, 24 hours. Amaizing insights into a beautiful world. It's worth a trip there!
Address: Weena 745, Rotterdam.

Have fun! 🙂

I've uploaded more of the pictures into my Rotterdam Web album.

Civilization Beyond Earth - Fix for Arch Linux

I love the Civilization series. One of my favourites is Beyond Earth, where luckily a Linux Version exists on Steam. Awesome! 🙂

Unfortunately under Arch Linux this doesn't work out of the box but needs some fixing. First of all you need to run steam-native, instead of steam. For debugging it's the best to run it in a terminal. If you start Civ Beyond Earth and end up with a similar error like

Then you need to install the lib32-intel-tbb lib from the AUR. I had to enable multilib and install gcc-multilib, but then it build and I could finally start Civilization Beyond Earth.

Civilization Beyond Earth - In game (just at the beginning)

Another victory for the good cause! 🙂

Video suggestion: Is the EU worth it or should we end it?

Video-Suggestion: "Is the European Union worth it or should we end it?" from Kurzgesagt.

I am clearly on the site of "it is worth it".
It gave us more then 70 years of peace and forms one of the biggest economic, scientific and union. We have a huge cultural and social variety that makes the union sometimes bureaucratic and complicated but also unique and liveable.

No generation before us could experience such a enormous wealth, education and safe world as we can.


Ever heard of Pulse Of Europe?

#PulseOfEurope is a counter-movement to the growing right-wing populism, to the hostility towards the EU. After Brexit, Trump and growing radicalism it's a movement against the growing hatred and fear.
For details go and visit their motivational page (in multiple languages, including English, German, French)

I just saw that they are meeting in Innsbruck at Anna-Säule every Sunday at 14:00.

You can click here to go to OpenStreetMap at the given coordinates.

Benchmarking tool - Flops

Flops is a nice tool for benchmarking floating point operations of a CPU.

Under Arch Linux i had some problems compiling it, because the static linking towards openmp was not working properly. I've made a fork, fixed the issue by removing the -static flag (and replaces -std=c++0x to -std=c++11) and a pull request in the hope, it will be included in the mainline soon.

The tool itself is quite nice to compare the throughput of FLOPS on a CPU. It measures it under perfect conditions so be aware that the everyday performance will be lower.

Still: Nice tool 🙂

Why I think, that SteamOS should become more popular

In a nutshell

  • You can build your own hardware
  • You have the freedom to choose between a high-end gaming PC or a low budget living room console, even cheaper than a PS4
  • Microsoft's UWP is bad for the consumer, since it want's to destroy competitors instead of competing with them
  • Since Vulkan more Games will be available on Linux, this will bring some freedom to the games to chose the operating system that works better for them.

SteamOS is a Linux-based platform for Steam. I think that's a great step forward in order to bring the gaming market closer to the Linux platform than any approach before. And let me explain to you, why this is important.

Advantages of SteamOS

I'm running Linux on a daily basis. And for that I would be more convenient for me to have more native games running in my Linux Steam, than to force me to reboot Windows.

Apart from that, you can build or order your own Steam Machines. They allow you to build your own consoles and media centres based on real PC hardware. They might be more expensive than a PS4 or XBox, but they can be also MUCH MORE powerful in terms of performance. In other words - You gain the freedom to choose the hardware that you want. Wanna go for a complete 4k 60 FPS machine? Go ahead! Or just wanna have a casual machine, even cheaper than a PS4? Also that's possible.

Why Microsoft's UWP is bad

This is not a rant or MS bashing. Microsoft has done a lot of good things and empowers new technologies. But their strategy in building up their own monopole with UWP is bad for the consumers and their partners.

Universal Windows Platform is a new Runtime for Windows, that claims to unify programs for all Windows platforms. Sounds good up to now, but it intrinsically also binds every program to the Windows Store. This is a new form of the Trusted Computing platform, that has failed already several times in the past. So if programs are not "trusted" by the Windows store, you cannot run them. That is bad, since other Platforms, like Steam, then cannot install Games without the "permission" of the Windows Store. That is terrible! You just lost control over your computer.

"The risk here is that, if Microsoft convinces everybody to use UWP, then they phase out Win32 apps. If they can succeed in doing that then it’s a small leap to forcing all apps and games to be distributed through the Windows Store. Once we reach that point, the PC has become a closed platform. It won’t be that one day they flip a switch that will break your Steam library – what they’re trying to do is a series of sneaky manoeuvres. They make it more and more inconvenient to use the old apps, and, simultaneously, they try to become the only source for the new ones."

Tim Sweeney, PC Gamer

I don't like the approach here - It's not that Microsoft brings something new out that just works better. No, they did a major screwup with DirectX 12, where they focused on the Marketing and not on the actual Technology. This is why Vulkan gained so much popularity and may outpower DirectX 12. At least I hope so, because that would be a game-changer in the battle of the operating systems. And the winner in this case is the consumer, because he can chose between two different platforms, what suits him better.

If Microsoft would really bring something totally revolutionary and big on the table, that outperforms all of the competitors the case would be different. But they are not. They are trying to destroy better technologies to bring make their own product shine brighter.


Of course, this is just my humble opinion, and I could be wrong.