Improving performance with mitigations=off

I became aware that Spectre and Meltdown kernel mitigations could be turned off in Linux. I decided to give it a try.

You are making your system vulnerable to known types of attacks for marginal performance gains. I do not suggest or recommend it.

I am not explaining what the vulnerabilities are, and in what cases it would make sense to leave them open. My CPU is (selected lines from lscpu):

$ lscpu             GenuineIntel
  Model name:            Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-8809G CPU @ 3.10GHz

  Itlb multihit:         KVM: Mitigation: VMX disabled
  L1tf:                  Mitigation; PTE Inversion; VMX conditional cache flushe
                         s, SMT vulnerable
  Mds:                   Mitigation; Clear CPU buffers; SMT vulnerable
  Meltdown:              Mitigation; PTI
  Mmio stale data:       Mitigation; Clear CPU buffers; SMT vulnerable
  Retbleed:              Mitigation; IBRS
  Spec store bypass:     Mitigation; Speculative Store Bypass disabled via prctl
  Spectre v1:            Mitigation; usercopy/swapgs barriers and __user pointer
  Spectre v2:            Mitigation; IBRS, IBPB conditional, RSB filling, PBRSB-
                         eIBRS Not affected
  Srbds:                 Mitigation; Microcode
  Tsx async abort:       Not affected

Deactivate Mitigations

This computer is running Fedora 37, booting using EFI and Grub2. I used to know LILO. Updating Grub was very easy when I knew how to do it. Obviously a restart is required.

# == To disable mitigations, making system vulnerable ==
# grubby --update-kernel=ALL --args="mitigations=off"
# grubby --info=ALL
# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

# == To enable mitigations, making system safe ==
# grubby --update-kernel=ALL --remove-args="mitigations=off"
# grubby --info=ALL
# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

After turning mitigations off, this is the pretty output from lscpu:

Vulnerability Itlb multihit:     KVM: Mitigation: VMX disabled
Vulnerability L1tf:              Mitigation; PTE Inversion; VMX vulnerable
Vulnerability Mds:               Vulnerable; SMT vulnerable
Vulnerability Meltdown:          Vulnerable
Vulnerability Mmio stale data:   Vulnerable
Vulnerability Retbleed:          Vulnerable
Vulnerability Spec store bypass: Vulnerable
Vulnerability Spectre v1:        Vulnerable: __user pointer sanitization and usercopy barriers only; no swapgs barriers
Vulnerability Spectre v2:        Vulnerable, IBPB: disabled, STIBP: disabled, PBRSB-eIBRS: Not affected
Vulnerability Srbds:             Vulnerable
Vulnerability Tsx async abort:   Not affected


Rather than using some synthetic test I decided to use my most common heavy workload, a “precommit”-script that i run in my software project before committing code to git. All going well, it looks like this:

$ /usr/bin/time ./tools/
PRE COMMIT (5x: integrationtests, tests, htmllint, eslint, pkgjson)...
         pkgjson ---- Bad:0 Void:0 Skipped:0 Good:111 (111)
            html ---- Bad:0 Void:0 Skipped:0 Good:257 (257)
              es ---- Bad:0 Void:0 Skipped:0 Good:2 (2)
 integrationtest ---- Bad:0 Void:0 Skipped:7 Good:1487 (1494)
            test ---- Bad:0 Void:0 Skipped:0 Good:2622 (2622)
41.08user 4.37system 0:22.63elapsed 200%CPU (0avgtext+0avgdata 196640maxresident)k

This is a mix of different types of loads. Mostly it is Node.js running JavaScript code. In the beginning the five test categories run in parallel, but as the first checks complete less things are running. Also the tests contains some I/O, some waiting for I/O, some actual requests to services on the internet and things like that. So there is a lower limit to how fast it can run, regardless of CPU performance.

I ran several times to make sure everthing is cached and below are approximate avarages (this benchmark is not entirely stable from time to time):

Elapsed timeUser timeSystem time% CPU
i7-8809G mitigations=off22s38s3.5s190%
i7-8809G hyperthreading off (BIOS)29s32s3.9s120%
i5-4250U mitigations=off33s89s8s290%
Apple M1 Pro (10 Cores)23s18s3.6sn/a

Turning mitigations off gives about 10% performance on elapsed time for this real world problem. That is something (I have seen other people seeing more like 1% difference in gaming).

I found it interesting that my M1 Pro had the same performance, despite having more cores (10 vs 4/8) and lower total user time (kind of half time). I draw the conclusion that not so many cores are used in parallel and thought it was interesting to turn off hyperthreading (on a safe configuration) but that was quite bad for performance.

I also tested on an older NUC, finding basically no improvement at all with mitigations=off.

I will leave my computers safe.

Whisky tasting notes 2023

Links: Whisky ranking

Chivas Regal 12 vs Mackmyra Första Utgåvan: Chivas slightly darker. Mackmyra has a quite non-typical whisky aroma, a bit grappa-like. Chivas very mild and subtle aroma. Also tasting Mackmyra is an unusual experience, quite fruity (again like grappa) with some vanilla. Chivas would just have to bring some standard mellow speyside flavours to the glas to win, but chivas really disappoints, very little flavour and quite much pure alcohol feeling. So anyone who didnt want a whisky in the first place might prefer Chivas, but I taste with the idea that I appreciate both whisky and flavour, and I think Mackmyra is better.

Highland Park Cask Strength vs Redbreast 12: Redbreast slightly darker (after adding not so little water to HP). HP rather dry, malty aroma, not very peated. Redbreast has a sweet vanilla aroma. I taste Redbreast and it is like a soft and balanced bourbon. HP is more sour, even peated. I like the HP, but I think Redbreast is not only easier to drink but also a step better.

Highland Park 18 vs Tobermory 12: HP is a bit more dark and red, Tobermory a bit more light brown. Tobermory has not so little vanilla on the nose, soft sweet and balanced. Highland Park is not so different, a bit more rich and floral. Tobermory has a fresh kind of salty vanilla and caramel flavour, soft and very balanced. HP is more peated, more sophisticated but less accessible. Back to Tobermory, it is really easy to drink and enjoy, perhaps a bit too (sweet and soft) much so. I think I can say that for the whisky enthusiast HP is the more rewarding whisky and I give victory to HP, but Tobermory is damn tasty.

Arran Quarter Cask vs Ballantines 17: Arran is paler, even before I add water. Ballantines has a light, dry, malty classic aroma. Arran is sweeter in a more unusual way, a bit spicey or like punch. Back to Ballantines it is the more subtle whisky on the nose. I taste Ballantines and it is quite simple, straight, not sweet but quite flawless. Arran is more caramel and honey, and a bit only that. Back to Ballantines it still holds and it lingers nice and soft. Arran is more odd. I prefer Ballantines.

Bushmills 12 vs Svensk Whisky för Ukraina: Bushmills is darker, more red and amber. Ukraina is quite sweet on the nose, some bourbon, and a bit raw/young. Bushmills is softer, more subtle. Back to Ukraina it is also a bit salty. I taste Bushmills and the taste impresses more than the smell, soft, caramel and in lingers nicely. Ukraina, almost peated just before I drink it, quite complex, quite young and a bit unrefined. Back to Bushmills, no new impressions but it is still very nice after the more powerful Ukraina. This is quite close, Ukraina is more interesting but it also has less of an identity (it is a blend of 9 distilleries), Bushmills is very well produced and easy to like. I prefer Bushmills.

Springbank 9 Local Barley vs Springbank 11 Madeira: Local Barley is paler, both are cask strength. Local Barley is fresh and malty, Madeira is obviously more fruity and sweet. I add water to both. I taste Local Barley and find it salty, a bit peated, warming, lingering, very nice. I taste Madeira and it has a more common fortified wine matured flavour, that hides much of what I find in Local Barley (if it was there at all). You may or may not like Local Barley, but tonight I find it a fantastic whisky and Madeira can not compete.

Glenlivet 18 vs Springbank 11 Madeira: Glenlivet a bit darker. On the nose, the difference is not that big so it is not so easy. Glenlivet is a bit more subtle and balanced, a bit more Speyside nut and caramel. Springbank has an obvious and sweet origin. Tasting Glenlivet it is surprisingly fruity. Very balanced and soft, with the maltiness more in the finish. Madeira is a more sharp, short flavour with more questionable oily finish. Glenlivet wins.

Glenmorangie 18 vs Glenmorangie 19: 18YO slightly darker. On the nose 18YO is a bit more fruity sweet and 19YO more classic speyside character. They are similar, caramel, nutty and no dirt, leather or peat at all. Tasting is same conclusion, 18YO is slightly sweeter and 19YO a bit more dry and malty. However 19YO is more even and lingers longer in a nice way. So it is a narrow but clear victory to 19YO.

Glenlivet 18 vs Glenmorangie 18: Glenlivet is darker, with a malty nose. Glenmorangie is more caramel. Glenlivet is quite dry, a bit salty on the nose. Glenmorangie is more sweet, with a caramel and nut finish. I can appreciate a more dry and salty whisky, but Glenmorangie is very good and the way it lingers makes a difference.

Dufftown 18 vs Springbank 18: Similar color. Dufftown quite light, fresh, slightly fruity aroma. Springbank is more oily, dirty, leather. Dufftown has a very ordinary typical whisky flavour, unfortunately a bit alcohol flavour in the finish. Springbank is heavier, with oil and leather and it is quite soft. But it kind of tastes old in a not so good way, and hints of sulpur. I add water to both, more to the stronger Springbank. Dufftown is ok but boring, like I would want to remember a decent blend. Springbank got softer with water and it has a richer flavour than Dufftown, but a bit bitter. I kind of have to say that Springbank is the better whisky, but I can see myself choosing the Dufftown for something easier to enjoy.

Highland Park 18 vs Springbank 18: HP a bit darker, with a lighter fresher and fruitier nose. Springbank smells like a horse. Tasting HP it is a bit salty, rather fresh, soft and balanced. Springbank tastes dirty, almost like something is wrong with it, and a bit of sulphur in the end. I will drink more of both but HP wins.

Glenfarclas 12 vs Glenrothes 12: Quite similar color, I think Glenrothes is slightly more dark and brown. Glenfarclas is very dry on the nose, a bit of alcohol smell, some fine maltiness too. Glenrothes is more sweet, but not in the sherry way, but more as strange oiliness from the distillery process. Both smell a bit suspicious to me. Tasting Glenfarclas, it is dry, salty and malty and that is good, and it kind of tastes more than it smells. Tasting Glenrothes it tastes a bit sweet blend, quite short finish, and it kind of tastes less that it smells. The base of Glenfarclas is nice, but there is a pure alcohol flavour that makes it through. For Glenrothes, those alcohols tastes like other things than ethanol, more unclean. Glenrothes tastes like I imagine people who don’t usually drink or like whisky experience drinking whisky. I prefer Glenfarclas.

Deanston 12 vs Mackmyra Reserve Förlagrat Refill Gravity: Deanston is darker. Mackmyra has quite much bourbon aroma, a bit in the Irish way. Deanston at first seems more dull, quite malty. Waiting a bit Deanston also is quite much bourbon and malt, back to Mackmyra it smells candy. Tasting Deanston, this is an excellent non-peated malt, it tastes like grain and casks, just what you would expect to come out of a whisky distillery, and soft lingering flavour. Mackmyra is ok, but very many flavours that do not quite match or fit, quite chemical. Deanston wins.

Deanston 18 vs Mortlach 20: Mortlach a bit darker. Deanston has a complex spicy malty nose. Mortlach a bit sweeter and more oily. I taste Deanston and find it quite dry, balanced, malty. Mortlach is a bit sweeter, which comes with some bitterness, and at least initially it reveals less complexity. Back to Deanston it has a hint of some funny chemical scent I cant describe, and it is a lighter whisky than Mortlach. Not so easy to pick a winner, I think Mortlach is more solid.

Bowmore 12 vs Ileach: Bowmore a bit darker with a less peated nose. Bowmore has a more complex aroma, quite balanced for a peated whisky, with some maltiness and after a while not so little bourbon. Ileach is more only peat, hints of candy and a bit chemical. Tasting both is kind of the same experience. I have not been so impressed with Bowmore 12 before, but this time it tastes very nice, being not so peated so other flavours come through. Ileach is a cheap peate Islay, not much more. Bowmore wins.

Ledaig 10 vs Ledaig Rioja: Not so surprisingly Rioja is a bit darker. I dont seem to fell much peat today, at least not in my nose. 10YO has a dry and quite fresh nose. Rioja is more sweet and heavy. I taste Rioja, it is probably cask strength (my sample bottle does not tell), and it is definitely a peated whisky. Some overwhelming sourness at this ABV. Adding some water makes it a bit softer, but the peat and the wine gives a sourness and also what I think of as sulphur. Standard 10YO does not have this sourness and it is more malty, getting used to the peat I can feel the bourbon cask flavour. I enjoy 10YO quite much, and Rioja not at all.

Ledaig Rioja vs Port Charlotte 2003-2015 Sherry: Rioja really looks pale reddish! Port Charlotte has this sulphur nose, I add water right away, and it gets a bit better. PC is more powerful on the nose still, with a raw sweet aroma. Rioja a bit fruitier. I find these two hard to describe. I taste PC and since I added enough water the sulphur is kind of gone, and it tastes quite decent. More sulphur in Rioja so I add more water to that one too. Both being rather watered down both are quite drinkable, not very enjoyable. Rioja is the milder one, PC still has quite much sherry character, if that is a good thing. I think PC wins, because it has more flavour, is more complex and it probably tastes a bit better to properly watered down.

Ledaig Rioja vs Longrow 14 Sherry: Rioja is pink, Longrow has a classic amber color. No water, Ledaig has a fruitier aroma, Longrow a more raw sweetness. Still no water, Tasting Longrow, the flavour of fatty old margarine dominates. Rioja without water is better, the flavours I pick out are not very whisky-typical, I think of some pink Gin Tonic (and that would have been nicer). I add not so little water to both. Ledaig is now thinner, less sulphur. Longrow has a very nice flavour at first, without the sulphur, and then comes the sulphur. More water to Longrow and it becomes quite complex, soft soft and interesting. Ledaig, hopeless.

Deanston 15 Organic vs Glenrothes 12: Deanston is more pale, with a light aroma, more alcohol than whisky. Glenrothes has more classic bourbon notes with caramel and vanilla. Deanston is a bit dry, not exactly soft, some sweetness. Glenrothes also in the mouth quite sweet with bourbon and caramel flavours. If this was a blind tasting I would have thought Deanston was younger than Glenrothes. I add some water to Deanston and it softens up a little and has some complexity, some bitterness. Deanston is drinkable, but it is hard to find anything to enjoy, Glenrothes at least has a soft bourbon flavour. Glenrothes wins.

Glenrothes 12 vs Knob Creek 9: Knob Creek is darker and stronger so I add water. Quite similar bourbon aroma, Knob Creek is obviously heavier and more bourbon. Glenrothes is a bit half/half (bourbon/scotch) on the nose. I taste Knob Creek, so much flavour, almost overwhelming. Quite nice bourbon flavour, not the perfume I feared, and it lingers warm in the mouth. Glenrothes is, less sweet and more bitter. And while Knob Creek is a bourbon with bells and whistle, Glenrothes is no bourbon. But Glenrothes qualities of being a scotch are not very convincing. Knob Creek is crisp and clear and loud. Glenrothes is numb and dumbed down, losing.

Bowmore small batch vs Laphroaig 10: Laphroaig a bit darker. Bowmore is a bit more peated, but that is kind of it. Laphoaig is softer with both more balance and complexity. Bowmore stands up good, but Laphroaig wins.

Bunnahabhain Staoisha vs Laphroaig 10: Quite similar color. On the nose Laphroaig is a bit more mellow, malt, caramel. Bunnahabhain has this more fruity and sour hint of sherry cask. I have added a bit of water to Bunnahabhain and it has an immediately surprisingly fruity aroma, after that classic peat, and it all fades away quite quickly leaving nothing bad. Laphroaig is more sea, iodine, medicine. Back to Bunnahabhain it is apart from fruity a bit burnt and bitter. Back to Laphroaig it is obvious that this is a quite even game where the winner may be about pure preference. I find the more classic (non-sherry) Laphroaig more pleasant.

Glen Moray Peated vs Ledaig Rioja: Ledaig is copper coloured while Glen Moray is classic golden. Glen Moray has a simple fresh peated nose, more grain than sea and salt. Rioja, I would way it actually smells a bit of red wine, less peat than Glen Moray. Back to Glen Moray it is a bit raw wood. I taste Ledaig, it is stronger than I prefer, it is wine-sour, and there is some sulphur in there. Glen Moray is really thin, watery in the mouth, with a thin whisky flavour as base and some peat on top – I must consider if my sample bottle has gone bad. Over again to Rioja with water, it is softer and more balanced, definitely red wine, not quite my cup of tea but I can kind of enjoy it. Glen Moray tastes like a very young whisky. Ledaig wins.

Glenmorangie 18 vs Mortlach 13 (2021 Special Release): Glenmorangie is darker, with a soft caramel bourbon vanilla aroma. Mortlach is more like white wine on the nose, some maltiness and bourbon in the background, but a more powerful aroma than Glenmorangie. Tasting is similar, Glenmorangie har a very nice soft sweet caramel and (not so little) bourbon flavour, tasting very well engineered. Mortlach is interesting in that it has no peat, no sherry and (almost) no bourbon flavours, not much cask flavours at all I would say. Yet it is full of flavour, dry, fruity almost sparkling. It is possible to prefer either of these fine whiskies. I think Mortlach is both the more interesting and the better tasting whisky.

Glenrothes 12 vs Motörhead: Glenrothes is paler, more yellow. Motörhead is red ripe fruit sweet on the nose. Glenrothes is more malty, more chemical, a bit more bourbon and arguably the one with more powerful aroma. I taste Motörhead and it is fruity sweet, also a bit fruity sour, not much classic whisky flavour. I taste Glenrothes and I have this chemical feeling of a crude destillation, gives me the feeling of a cheap blend, but it has more flavour than that. I find Glenrothes more sour than sweet, and the best I can say is that I find some bourbon notes there. Motörhead barely tastes like a whisky but I find it marginally nicer than Glenrothes to drink.

Bunnahabhain Staoisha vs Hven Tycho’s Star: Very similar color. Bunnahabhain has a fairly light peated aroma. Hven is more oily or heavy on the nose, but less peated. Bunnahabhain is a bit lite fire smoke, Hven more like something burnt in the bottom of a pot. I taste Hven, it is quite light, definitely peated, slightly burnt, nothing bad. I taste Bunnahabhain and it is saltier, more iodine and sea, it lingers much longer. Back to Hven, not much peat now, a bit sweetish. Back to Bunnahabhain, complex, quite balanced. Hven is ok, but Bunnahabhain is much better.

Bunnahabhain 8 Heavily Peated vs Bunnahabhain Staoisha: Staoisha is darker and more red in color, and more smoky on the nose, like fresh burnt wood and fire. Heavily Peated more smells like an old library, closet or attic. I taste Heavily Peated and it is soft and complex with the peat very integrated in the experience. Staoicha is more raw (probably stronger) and not quite so balanced. I prefer Heavily Peated.

Bunnahabhain Staoisha vs Mackmyra Svensk Ek Extra Rök: Both cask strength, Mackmyra is more dark and red, and it is also a bit more powerful on the nose. Both are a bit sweet and raw (young) burnt wood, but Mackmyra is more over the top. I taste Bunnahabhain and it has a nice peat and a nice sweetness, but it lacks complexity and it is not so interesting. Mackmyra is sweeter, more so than peated, and the sweetness come with a strange chemical flavour, like getting into a brand new car or something. Back to Bunnahabhain it is more classic and conservative and now when I go to Mackmyra it is very obvious that Bunnahabhain is better.

Ardbeg 10 vs Bowmore 1999 Bourbon Hand Filled: Ardbeg is much paler, and on the nose more dry. Bowmore aroma a bit more wood and some sweetness. Ardbeg in the mouth, complex, rough, almost everything you can wish from Islay. Bowmore has a lot of citrus, orange, quite different from Ardbeg. Back to Ardbeg, it is more bitter and burnt than the sweeter Bowmore. After a slight break I am back finishing Bowmore first and Ardbeg second. I would say these are very equal in quality yet different in character. I would say Ardbeg wins.

Bushmills 12 vs Writers Tears: Bushmills is darker, a bit sweeter, more bourbon and fruitier on the nose. Writers Tears is more spicy. Writers Tears is quite fresh and light, yet a bit oily, kind of creamy and spicy. Bushmills has more sherry flavour, both sweeter and a bit more bitter. Writers Tears is very easy to drink. Those who prefer sherry flavour will prefer Bushmills, I am not particular sherry fan and I appreciated Writers Tears for what I feel is a quite natural flavour. Writers Tears wins.

Nikka Coffey Malt vs Writers Tears: Nikka a bit paler. Nikka is more creamy and spicy on the nose, Writers tears a bit more bourbon. Tasting Nikka it is rather dry, Writers Tears a bit more sweet and a bit more bourbon. Back to Nikka it has somr. odd chemical flavours. Both are soft whiskies, easy to drink, I think I find Writers Tears a bit more complex and tasty.

Macallan 12 Sherry Oak Cask vs Writers Tears: Writers Tears is more milkish and yellow, Macallan is more reddish. Macallan has a fruity, obviously sherry but not so dominant, aroma. Writers tears is more dry, not malty, but sweet (I know, dry and sweet shoul d be opposites). Macallan tastes good, it is balanced, soft, a bit sweet, fruity, but there is something slightly off about the flavour that I do not like. Writers tears is more straight (a bit stronger), less complexity. There is something fake about Macallan to me, Writers Tears has a bit more attitude, is simpler, but I think it tastes better.

Longrow 11 Red vs Longrow 13 Red: 11YO is more red or dark orange, 13YO is more classic sherry color. 11YO is not particularly peated, a bit raw and some bourbon. 13YO is more peated, more sulphur, less fruity. I add a little water to both and find 11YO quite straight and balanced, with a salty almost rusty raw flavour. 13YO is more sour and more sweet, a bigger flavour. They are quite similar. If I really liked the flavour 13YO is the better whisky, but I think the 13YO is a bit too much, and thus 11YO becomes easier for me. Back to 11YO it is quite sour in a not very fresh way. More complexity in 13YO, I have to prefer 13YO.

Longrow 11 Red vs Longrow 14 Sherry: Red has a more red/orange color and a sweeter aroma with more fruity wine notes. Sherry is more raw and perhaps salty. I taste Sherry and it is nice first, but with not so little sulphur coming. Red is more neutral, if that is possible. I add more water to both. These are pretty unique and quite similar whiskies, I can understand people value them highly, but in my mouth they are not very tasty. I prefer the more straight and less sulphur 11YO Red.

Longrow 11 Red vs Deanston 9 Oloroso: Longrow is more red, almost pink. Deanston has a fresh aroma, balanced mix of bourbon and sherry. Longrow is more raw and salt. I taste Deanston and find it quite creamy and balanced. Longrow is a more complex and rough experience, but now compared to Deanston I feel the sulphur. I prefer the smooth Deanston.

Macallan 12 Sherry Oak vs Mortlach 12: Macallan is darker. Mortlach has a very fresh fruity aroma. Macallan is a bit thicker and sweeter. Mortlach on the other hand is more malty. Tasting Mortlach it is rather light and fresh, with some sweetness, and it lingers nicely. Macallan has this to me artifical sweetness that is a bit unfresh and also a bit bitter. Mortlach wins.

Longrow 11 Red vs Writers Tears: I add a little water to Longrow and it is still more red. WT has a creamy aroma, LR is definitely peated. After a while LR is leaning towards sulphur, WT towards bourbon. I taste WT and find it sweet with a honey flavour. Longrow is more sour and raw, some bitterness lingering. I give more water to both, especially LR. WT is now softer, not an amazing flavour but not bad either, easy to drink. Longrow got too much water. Longrow is obviously more interesting and challenging, but I think I would prefer a Writers Tears on most occations.

Longrow 11 Red vs Macallan 12 Sherry Oak: Macallan more brown, Longrow more red/pink. Macallan has an aroma of (overly) mature sweet fruits. Longrow is more raw and rough. Macallan has a soft fruity flavour, not fresh but rather ripe. Longrow is saltier, with a hint of sulphur. I dont particularly like Macallan, but I prefer it to Longrow.

Bowmore Small Batch vs Mackmyra Extra Rök Svensk Ek: Bowmore is much paler, with a light almost citrus and peat aroma. Mackmyra is more oily, heavier, sweeter and more smoke than peat. Bowmore is surprisingly thin and subtle in comparison and Mackmyra even if it is a bit odd tastes quite nice. Mackmyra wins.

Deanston Oloroso Finish (9Y) vs Linkwood 13 Oloroso (Cask Viking): Linkwood a little paler, more bourbon than sherry on the nose, nice! Deanston is more sweet fruity. I taste both cask strength, that is nothing for me, and I add water to both. Linkwood has a clean, straight flavour. My sample bottle says 1st fill Oloroso and I can not believe it. Deanston is sweeter, thicker, richer, a hint of sulphur. I add more water to Linkwood to see if it reveals more. Unfortunately quite not. I find Linkwood a bit flat, a bit bitter. Deanston is not perfect, but it is better in most ways.

Glenfarclas 12 vs Linkwood 13 Oloroso (Cask Viking): Glenfarclas is paler, but as I add water to Linkwood the difference disappears. Glenfarclas has a dry, spicy aroma. Linkwood is softer, slightly sweeter, more fruit-candy. Glenfarclas kind of tastes a bit roasted (not peated). Linkwood, some bitter slightly artifical caramel flavour. I like Glenfarclas better.

Deanston 15 Organic vs Linkwood 13 Oloroso (Cask Viking): Deanton is the palest, with a subtle nose, at best. Linkwood has a soft creamy nose. Deanston has a dry malty thin flavour. Linkwood has more sweetness to it, and is softer. Linkwood wins.

Bushmills 10 vs Linkwood 13 Oloroso (Cask Viking): Linkwood a bit darker. Bushmills smells a bit of dry hay or weed. Linkwood is more caramel and lighter. Bushmills is soft, slightly salty, some complexity, balanced and a bit nutty finish. Linkwood is more sharp, less soft and complex. Overall it is more pleasant to drink Bushmills.

Hudson Baby Bourbon vs Linkwood 13 Oloroso (Cask Viking): Hudson much darker. Hudston has a strong spicy bourbon aroma, quite raw. Linkwood is more sublte, a bit waxy. Hudson, quite classic bourbon flavour, and against a bourbon Linkwood has a quite classic scotch flavour, more balanced and less powerful. Unless you have a particular disliking for bourbon I think Hudson is better. Much more flavours, and I think it is as easy to drink as well.

Johnny Walker White Walker vs Linkwood 13 Oloroso (Cask Viking): Linkwood is darker. Now I feel the subtle Oloroso origin in Linkwood, and white walker has more of a chemical aroma. Tasting white walker it is surprisingly sweet, quite smooth, a bit like punch, and not so little bourbon-flavour. Linkwood is more like single malt, a bit more wood-raw. I prefer Johnny Walker, if I have to drink any of them.

Bunnahabhain 12 vs Bunnahabhain 12 CS (2021 Edition): CS slightly darker, at least until I add water. Regular 12 has a rich mellow aroma with bourbon. CS, still no water, a bit more chemical and less bourbon. I add some water and my impression remains. I taste CS first (with water – I like it that way) and it is quite crisp, some chemical flavours, some bourbon, reasonably complex, not very soft. Regular Bunnahabhain tastes more bourbon, is a bit lighter (but it could be because it is more watered down), more soft, but perhaps less flavour and complexity. I have to say they are quite similar, but not the same. A regular 12YO I expect very many casks to go into the mix and with a “2021 Edition” fewer casks are mixed, meaning the regular 12YO has its edges and corners softened for good and for bad. Tasting these two whiskies, this many-casks vs fewer-casks is exactly what I think I taste (it is easy when I know what I am tasting). If I just want a tasty drink I would not pay extra for the 12 CS, and I would probably choose the Regular 12 even at the same price. That said, a special edition is always interesting, and there are those who much prefer a cask strength whisky. To me Regular 12YO wins.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Bunnahabhain 12 CS (2021 Edition): Bergslagen slightly darker, with a more rough aroma. Bunnahabhain is more bourbon on the nose. I taste Bergslagen and it is quite complex, somewhat balanced, a bit on the sour side and not so soft. Bunnahabhain is soft and smooth, more refined. I prefer Bunnahabhain.

Bunnahabhain 12 CS (2021 Edition) vs Macallan Fine Oak: Bunnahabhain slightly paler. Macallan has a quite wine-like aroma with sherry influences. Bunnahabhain is is more raw, dry and bourbon. Tasting both gives me an impression in line with what I felt with my nose. Quite similar quality, Macallan is perhaps slightly lighter but also more complex, and the easier whisky to drink. Close victory to Macallan.

Aberfeldy 16 vs Bunnahabhain 12 CS (2021 Edition): Aberfeldy a bit paler, and with a softer, lighter very classic speyside aroma. Bunnahabhain a bit more burnt and rough. I taste Aberfeldy and it is soft and balanced, also lingering nicely. Bunnahabhain is more burnt and bitter, with a bit more character. I prefer Aberfeldy after all.

Glenrothes 12 vs Johnny Walker White Walker: JW is paler and with a more creamy and smooth aroma. Glenrothes is more sour, chemical. JW is more subtle on the nose, and tasting it, kind of a honey flavour. Glenrothes is a bit more sharp and bitter, but also more fully bodied. I was leaning both ways, but then I realise that JW tastes like nail polish remover. I prefer Glenrothes.

Glenrothes 12 vs Jameson: Glenrothes is darker, with a sweet aroma, a bit bourbon and a bit fruit. Jameson is very subtle on the nose, at least it is soft. I taste Jameson and it has a nice soft flavour, classic whisky, not so sweet as I could have guessed of an Irish whiskey, some caramel and nuts. Glenrothes has more flavour, more burnt, a bit bitter and some bourbon and sherry notes I think. Back to Jameson, it is a bit chemical. If you are looking for subtle and soft Jameson is a good option, but I think Glenrothes is a better whisky.

Glenmorangie 18 vs Old Pulteney 18: Same color. Old Pulteney is light, dry, fresh malty with some caramel. Glenmorangie is more sweet, hints of sherry but not so much. Tasting Old Pulteney is good, kind of what I expected. Glenmorangie is a bit sweet, it does not quite take off, a bit bitter, I prefer Old Pulteney.

Bushmills 21 vs Springbank 9 Local Barley: My ranking list requires med to compare these two whiskies, and very unsurprisingly I found Springbank much paler. Bushmills has a rich soft fruity aroma, still whisky. Springbank at first smells quite peated, a bit sour, quite dry and a bit chemical. Tasting Bushmills it is almost flowery, soft but still with a mild kick at 40%. Springbank comes cask strength so I have watered it down, it is pure, not soft but quite balanced, full of flavour, and I water it down a little more. The target audience is obviously not the same and many people would pick a winner just on the character. I think both whiskies have a clear idea what they want to be, and both get quite close to a perfect whisky of that type. That said, I think Springbank gets its message through better, it is more distinct, more uncompromising, more confident.

Bunnahabhain 12 CS (2021 Edition) vs Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured: Deanston is much paler, with a honey vanilla aroma. Bunnahabhain (with some water already) is a bit mora salty, raw, dry. These are actually rather similar on the nose. Tasting Deanston it is quite light, nice creamy bourbon and honey flavour, a bit chemical finish. Bunnahabhain is more burnt, more powerul, more flavour but not as soft. I add more water to it. Back to Deanston it is not a bit dominated by some nail polish remover flavour. Bunnahabhain is the more stable choice.

Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured vs Highland Park Valfather: Deanston much paler. Highland Park has a heavier slightly peated aroma. Deanston has a nice light bourbon and honey aroma, but the aroma is a bit too light and becomes a bit chemical. I don’t find much more when I taste these two whiskies, Valfather is not so complex and balanced, after tasting it I dont feel Deanston is so chemical any more. I could pick any winner, but I think I prefer Deanston.

Glenrothes 12 vs TX Texas Straight Bourbon: Glenrothes is a bit paler and more brownish. TX has a pure vanilla bourbon aroma, Glenrothes definitely has bourbon traces but it is a also less sweet, more bitter and chemical on the nose. I taste Glenrothes and it kind of tastes like a sweet Speyside the way I imagine people not used to drinking whisky experiences it. TX does not taste as soft as it smells, but it has a quite typical clean bourbon flavour, a bit of perfume but not too bad. Blind tasting I would probably guess Glenrothes is a blend. Somewhat surprisingly I find the flavour of TX more narrow and distinct, even more thin, than that of Glenrothes. Glenrothes is less balanced. I prefer TX.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Highland Park Cask Strength: Bergslagen is darker, with a sweet fruity somewhat dirty smell. Highland park has a much lighter nose, I add some (more) water and wait a bit. A few minutes later, HP has a lightly peated slighly salty, nice aroma. Back to Bergslagen it smells a bit thick sweet now. I taste HP, still too little water for me, but it has a nice peated flavour. Bergslagen tastes quite sweet, quite nice but with a somewhat raw and strange wood flavour. HP now came down in alcohol to a nicer level, and then the flavour also got a bit thin. I would say HP is a quite solid moderatly peated whisky while Bergslagen is quite experimental – a quite successful experiment – but anyway a bit too odd for my taste. HP wins.

Selling my Chromebook

I sold my Chromebook, an Acer R13 with Mediatek ARM CPU. I bought it in the beginning of 2018, and I wrote some about it.

Looking back I bought it in early 2018 and it was not until late 2019 that I had reached a point where it was not an ongoing challenge to make good use of it. 18 months is a quite long time. When I bought the R13 it probably had ChromeOS 62-63 something. With ChromeOS 76 the Linux support was stable on R13 and ChromeOS came with virtual desktop support. Since Linux support was working properly I still have not used it very much. So I was not a very early adopter but I was still, in hindsight, two years early.

Why did I sell it and how did it not meet my expectations?

  • Quality trackpad, keyboard, loudspeakers was simply not very good (probably ok for the price, but I want to pay more for better)
  • Android experience was mixed when I tried it, and I did not use it much later on
  • I feel that the desktop/windows/app-integration experience of ChromeOS was not optimal
  • Running Linux in a container makes Linux (applications) feel a bit like second class citizens

Display, battery life, performance and specs (64GB SSD, 4GB RAM) and ports was acceptable. Although it is a bit quirky to use it for Linux, configuring, upgrading and maintaining ChromeOS is super smooth.

One factor is that I was disappointed and worried about where Apple was going at the time and I was sincerely looking for an alternative, now Apple looks pretty good again.

I think when I bought it I kind of assumed Apple and Microsoft would be more annoying and ChromeOS would develop quickly. I think in hindsight Apple and Microsoft have moved faster than Google. Apple is native Unix and even Windows comes with Linux in a container nowadays (like ChromeOS), so the Linux subsystem of ChromeOS is no unique selling point.

I conclusion, when paying less for a laptop you also get less quality. My Chromebook was never feeling very nice or cool next to my MacBook Air 11-inch 2014. It is possible to pay more for a Chromebook than I did for mine, but then you may get a Windows or Apple laptop with roughly the same spec for roughly the same price. I can see why it is targeted at schools and less complex workplaces.

Even though this was the cheapest computer I bought (not counting some Raspberry Pi) I think the cost per hour of usage was quite high.

Smögen 5 private casks

I got samples of 4 private casks from Smögen and a Smögen 8YO. I will try them all and see what comes out of it. I will have a standard Longrow available as reference, and that is a quite high bar for a Swedish whisky.

From most pale to most dark: Longrow, 8YO, P79, P135, P119, P103… at a quick glance.


P79: Quite fruity, no peat really, some vanilla. More bourbon after a while.

P103: Slightly more mellow and sweet than P79.

P119: More bourbon and caramel here.

P135: More subtle, unusual aroma, fruit or chemical, a bit sour. Feet.

8YO: Slightly peated, dry, wood.

Based on my nose alone, winner would be P119 followed by, P79, P103, 8YO, P135.


P79: Clearly peated flavour, quite rich and soft in flavour.

P103: Both peat and I would say sherry. A bit more raw than P79.

P119: Lightly peated, more bourbon than sherry.

P135: Mostly dominated by peat, but not so much, sour.

8YO: This is a peated whisky. Really nice.


From best to worst: P119, Longrow, 8YO, P79, P103, P135

Framing it

I compared P135 with Floki, and found P135 better.
I compared P119 with Bushmills 16, and found Bushmills better.


Some private casks are much better than others. The buyer of P119 picked american white oak and got a very good result, the buyer of P135 settled for “bourbon” and got a really bad result.

More tests

P135 vs Deanston 15YO Organic: Smögen is darker and with a clearly peated aroma. Deanston has a more clean, alcohol dominated aroma. Tasting Deanston it has some nice saltiness and maltiness but it is quite thin. P135 has a quite fine classic peat flavour, and it beats Deanston.

P135 vs Svensk whisky för Ukraina: Smögen slightly darker. Ukraina has a more raw wood aroma, Smögen a bit more peated. Ukraina, slightly raw flavour, but quite complex and balanced with a nutty sweetness. Smögen has a more solid peated flavour, and wins.

P135 vs Bergslagen Gast: Bergslagen has a more raw wood aroma, P135 more peat. Bergslagen has a quite dry clean smoky flavour. Smögen a bit sour in a not so pleasant way. Bergslagen wins.

P103 vs Bergslagen Gast: Smögen is darker and more red. Bergslagen has a kind of raw wood aroma. Smögen a bit sweeter (perhaps not softer), probably some sherry. I taste Smögen after a splash of water, it tastes young and raw. Bergslagen has a pretty dry, somehow classic quite balanced peated flavour. I like Bergslagen better.

P103 vs Balcones: Balcones is darker, sweeter and softer. Smögen is more raw wood and some peat. Balcones has quite much bourbon flavour, with some unusual kick. It tastes nicer than Smögen.

P103 vs Glenmorangie 10: Glenmorangie is much paler, with a light fruity aroma. Smögen is heavier and sweeter on the nose. I taste Glenmorangie and this is a whisky I want to like, but it kind of disappoints me, tasting alcohol like a blend, not having the malty caramel flavours I expect. Smögen wins.

P103 vs Andalusia: Andalusia a bit darker, with a soft sweet aroma, some vanilla. Smögen is more raw and peated on the nose. Andalusia also tastes quite soft. Smögen is more for the experienced and curious drinker. Quite close, I prefer Andalusia.

P79 vs Bergslagen Gast: Smögen is darker, with a softer and sweeter aroma. It also tastes pretty sweet and soft. Bergslagen is more raw, sour. I like Smögen better.

P79 vs Bergslagen Two Hearts: Very similar color. Bergslagen has a more bourbon like sweet classic aroma. Smögen more raw young wood. I had added water to both but after tasting I add more. Smögen has a more raw wood flavour. Bergslagen is a more soft mature whisky, not peated. I prefer it to Smögen.

P79 vs Highland Park Valfather: Smögen is a bit darker. HP is more lightly peated and a softer aroma, and the same is true when tasting. Smögen is younger, more experimental and more peated and you can obviously prefer that. I think HP is the better whisky.

P119 vs Johnny Walker Blue Label: Smögen a bit darker and more red. JW smells soft like velvet, Smögen is a bit sweeter, more raw and more peated. I taste Johnny Walker, it is flawless but a bit boring. Smögen more flavour, first peat and a bit sour with a nice bourbon finish. JW may be more smooth and easy to drink, but it just does not taste that good, so I recommend Smögen.

P119 vs Springbank 15 Rum: Springbank is much paler. Smögen has a more oily raw wood aroma. Springbank a bit lighter, not really fruity but honey or something. More peat in Smögen. I taste Springbank and find it salted, balanced, hint of sulphur (so I add more water) and pretty nice. Smögen is more burnt, raw and much more young tasting, but with a surprisingly nice bourbon finish. Springbank tastes even better with extra water, like a desert wine of whiskies. I prefer Springbank.

P119 vs Tobermory 12: Smögen a little darker. On the nose Tobermorys main impression is sweet caramel, nice and balanced. Smögen is much more raw on the nose with some peat. Tasting Tobermory it has a rich balanced flavour, hints of peat perhaps. Smögen is more both sweet and sour, less balanced, but more flavour indeed. Tobermory is much more of an ordinary whisky, but I prefer it.

Replacing MacBook Air 2014 in 2022

I have a MacBook Air 11-inch 2014. It runs Big Sur and it is stuck there (not Monterey or Ventura) so I can guess I have security updates for another year (to autumn 2023). This means I am beginning to look for a new MacBook, but I am not desperate.

My 11-inch was bough as an outgoing model, discounted, sometime in 2015 so it has given me 7 years of good use so far. When I bought it I paid not so little extra money get 8GB of RAM (instead of std 4GB) but I left it at standard 128GB of SSD. Later I have bought a 256GB minimal USB-key that is constantly plugged in for a total of 384GB of storage.

Looking at Apples baseline today (autumn 2022) that is 8/256 GB, twice as much as it was 8 years ago (where is Moores Law?). Using the same logic as in 2015 I would be buying the M1 Air with 16/256.

Apple Support

Apple typically supports a computer for 7 years, then releasing security updates for another 2 years. But this is no rule. Some models are luckier than others. We may assume the M1 Air will be abandoned before the M2 Air. But it could be different. Maybe Apple will support Apple silicon indefinitely because of environmental reasons. Maybe the M4 will be very different, and M1-M3 will all be dropped with the same future release of macOS. We do not know.

My 2014-Air is approching end of support. But I have to admit that is not the only reason I want to replace it.

Apple Upgrades

Apple computers can not be upgraded when it comes to RAM, SSD or CPU. And Apple charges quite much for upgrades when you order. So it may make more sense to buy a computer that will last you for a few years (and a little longer if you are lucky) than to pay much extra for a computer that may last a few more years (if it is still alive and supported).

Being Cheap Strategies

Assuming you want value-for-money when you buy a new Apple laptop there are a few strategies:

Buy the cheapest (outgoing) model that can support your needs today. Since Apple computers are relatively expensive this gives you all advantages of a Mac and a new computer at the lowest price. This is also a wise choice in the sense that the computer may fail, be lost or be accidentally broken.

Buy a discounted (outgoing) more premium model that can be expected to be useful for longer. The drawback is primarily that the computer will be supported by Apple for a shorter time after you bought it.

Buy a new model just when it shows up. Apple keeps models for 18 months or longer, and rarely lowers the prices much. So it makes sense to wait until they release new models and buy them immediately. This maximizes Apple support time.

Regardless, the best time to buy a Mac is when new models just came out.

Right now, Autumn 2022, is not the best time based on the above. But we have a situation with inflation (and I would guess the upcoming M2 Pro and M3 Air will be more expensive than current lineup) and recession (Black Friday offers may be unusually good 2022).

As the M2 Air was introduced this year I looked at it and decided to keep my 11-inch 2014 until the M3 Air is introduced in the future, but a good enough Black Friday deal could perhaps change my mind.

Apple compters can not be upgraded (RAM/SSD). The problem with future-proofing by buying a very expensive computer (say M1 Ultra, 32/2048) is that it may take several years until you have any need for it, and by that time it may be the wrong thing anyway (or it has broken). Paying for a 2TB SSD today that you will not make use of until 3-4 years, or never, is simply not so smart.

My 2014-Air and Requirements

The status of my 11-inch 2014 is:

  • 8GB RAM is enough for now
  • 128GB SSD is too little, mini USB-key helps
  • Screen 1366×768 is beginning to feel underwhelming (as is webcam)
  • Approaching end of support
  • Can not use my iPad as second screen

So when I bought the 2014-Air I knew these things and I knew it would perhaps last so long. In that perspective, 7 years of service is good.

What are my new requirements?

  • RAM
    • 8GB would currently be ok, but I doubt it is a smart buy
    • 16GB is ok
    • 32GB would be for a need or usecase I am not aware of today (I have a Windows computer for playing games with 32GB of RAM)
  • SSD
    • 256GB – I could squeeze myself down from 384GB, but it feels wrong
    • 512GB is ok for needs as I know them today
    • 1024GB would allow me to not think so much about storage organisation as I do today
    • I have a NAS and other computers, so I can work with less SSD, and I do not really need 1024GB of high-performance storage.
  • CPU
    • I currently do not do any CPU-intensive tasks where M1, M1 Pro or M2 would make a significant difference

The problem with CPU is… that it is currently the most limiting factor of my 2014-Air (i5@1.4Ghz), but no other laptops in 2015 would really have made a difference today anyway. When you are out of SSD, or when you are out of RAM, it really limits you and you need to replace the machine or change how you work with it. When your CPU gets old it is just a slightly degraded experience. What my computer is not capable of is to use my iPad as a second display, and that is just because it is a too old generation.

What options do I have today?

M2 Air 16/1024GB: this would be a convenient choice. However it is so expensive (twice as expensive as the computer it replaces).

M1 Air 16/1024: this would be a reasonable choice at a good discount. But this is a computer that already used 2 years of expected support. Buying it at full price (which is cheaper than the M2 Air) would have made sense when it was just released but not today.

M1 Air 16/256: At a good discount, this is the equivalent decision of buying my current 2014-Air in 2015, which turned out ok.

M1 Pro 14-inch 16/512: This is a machine that I usually consider too expensive (because I can lose it, pour Coca Cola in it, or it may just break after warranty). However at a good discount it definitely seems to give value for money.

M1/M2 Pro 13 Inch: This machine would be a “pro” option if it had SD-slot and Magsafe.

Black Friday Discounts

I live in Sweden so the prices are in SEK. Black Friday season has started and we see lower prices. But given that these are models that are 1-2 years old, to me it looks more like an adjustment for an older product than a real bargain.

The M1 Pro is down to 5/6 of the price. But what if that gives you just 5 years of supported usage instead of 6? Then I basically pay the same per day of usage, but I missed the first year when the model was the best. On the other hand, if the Pro is the right way to go (14-inch, better loudspeakers, SD-slot), this may be the last opportunity ever to pick up a Pro at this price point.

Models and prices

I have to say that Magsafe is something I really want. I am so happy Apple brought it back (otherwise I could considera Dell XP13 at a great Black Friday price). So M1 Air is a bit off the table.

I also like the idea of an SD-slot, not only to import photos now and then, but also to use for extra semi-permanent storage in the future.

Given what this looks like the only thing that tempts me is an M1 Pro.

M1 AirM1 ProM2 Air
16/1024 (10 Core)29990
SD-Slot (and HDMI)Yes
Age / Support-2 years-1 years
Better Display & AudioYes
Faster CPU/GPUYesYes

Decision and Conclusion

I caved in an replaced my working, supported, fit-for-purpose MacBook Air 2014 with a MacBook Pro 14-inch, 10-core M1, 16/1024GB. I have used it for a month now, and I have not looked back.

I like the display, the audio, the keyboard, how it sits in my lap, that it is fast and has seemingly limitless battery life. I have not taken it out of my home or pressed it very hard yet though.

The most surprising thing is that I barely use the Mag Safe. I have an iPad Pro with a USB-C-charger. So when I put away my MacBook Pro I just put it on top of the iPad and plug in the same USB-C-charger. Since battery life is so good I don’t really feel the need to keep it plugged in when I work with it, thus the need for MagSafe is limited.

I have moved in all files from my NAS using syncthing that made some sense to copy to the laptop. That is less than 300GB used, out of 1TB. I think I will make use of more than 512GB eventually, but the extra cores compared to the cheapest M1 Pro or even the M1 will probably never make a difference.

I have used the SD-card once to import pictures from a camera.

All in all, I now feel I would have been ok with any of the 16/512 configurations above, and given my MagSafe revelation, the M1 Air would have been a sensible choice. Now I paid 30-35% more for the Pro with more storage. If it does not die on me I am good with that.

Switching from Ubuntu to Fedora

I have been using Ubuntu since 6.06 I think, and before that I mostly used Debian. Before that I used Slackware, and I have occasionally tried Red Hat Linux (version 6 or 7, not RHEL) long ago as well.

I have mostly used Xubuntu because it is light, clean, traditional desktop-minded, and somewhat similar to macOS, and my current Linux PC is a Hades Canyon that I installed Xubuntu 19.10 to. That Xubuntu has been updated a few times, lastly from 22.04 to 22.10, and while I like a Debian based system there are somethings that have bugged me:

  • HDMI Audio got noisy after upgrading to 22.10 (this used to be a problem earlier)
  • Audio IN (and Bluetooth Audio) has never worked well with Xubuntu.
  • Some I/O errors/warnings occasionally when booting, no real problems though
  • Background image in Xubuntu sometimes is replaced with a generic background, and a few days later it came back (not feeling 100% solid)
  • Firefox is SNAP, updated separately and manually (so I get a notification to close the browser, but that does not update it, so I have to do a manual update and then restart my browser)

Some of these problems are perhaps caused by a system having been updated for several versions over a few years so it was anyway time for a clean install.

The HDMI noise was something I could not tolerate so I tried a Live Ubuntu 22.10 USB, and that worked fine. But I have recently read some things that made me curious about Fedora so I tried a Fedora 37 Live USB as well, and that also gave me good audio out. Both come with a new version of Gnome (Fedora more standard than Ubuntu).


I have never really been a Gnome fan. Checking out the Live USBs I realise that Windows 11, Gnome and ChromeOS are surprisingly similar. And in a way they are all pretty similar to macOS.

Deep inside I would like to use the Awesome Window manager. But I am not really willing to pay the price of learning and of not having the convenience (of a modern desktop). I have not tried Awesome so I do not really know.

So I am willing to give Gnome a chance instead of lingering on Xfce and Xubuntu. Those people who design Gnome must hate high information density – I have a problem with that.

Advantage Fedora

Given I want to try Gnome I see some advantages with Fedora:

  • No Firefox-SNAP-situation
  • Standard Gnome
  • Wayland (?) – at least it makes me curious
  • Trying something new

A few days with Fedora

Installing Fedora 37 (BETA) was easy. I few thoughts after a few day:

  • My immediate impression is that Wayland (or Gnome) is faster than X11/Xfce. There is a snappier more immediate feeling to the UI.
  • Pressing the start-button on the keyboard, and the clicking a common application or searching for anything is not so bad (like Chrome OS and Windows 11).
  • Even though the information density is low there is little cognitive noise. When running the browser, the tabs are on top of the window and Gnome itself occupies minimal space, I like that.
  • Settings windows is dead simple, very much like ChromeOS but even more minimalistic. Appearance: I can change background image and light/dark theme. That is it. Change the font or font size of window headers? Nope.
  • Audio Input on the Hades Canyon NUC is still not working properly/easily. Perhaps a USB headset would work, I have none available to try.
  • On shutting down the computer it asks me if I want to install updates before it powers off – this feels like the right thing to do.
  • The new package manager seems nice, I used it to install node.js, and it seems solid.

On my Mac there is an application called Performance Monitor. In Gnome I have System Monitor. This is for a technical audience but System Monitor in Gnome feels underwhelming. This is where I would like higher information density, options to dock it the the menu (or something), and simply a better application. Honestly, Task Manager in Windows NT4 felt more professional.

On my Mac there is the “About this Mac” menu option. I like it much. I can immediately see details about my computer, both hardware and OS. It would make so much (more so than in macOS) sense to have this in Fedora: RAM chips, CPU model, Motherboard model, Installed hard drives, GPU model and VRAM, and so on. And what is my Gnome version? It may sound like a joke, but then you want to install and configure stable-diffusion and you need to know you GPU spec.

In the “Software” application I can see that there is a kernel update from to But it does not tell me I am on Fedora 37. And lsb_release is not available, as it is on Ubuntu.

I suppose it is possible to install more things and configure Gnome to make it a bit more tech-savy.

Stable Diffusion – Playing with parameters

It is fun to make images with Stable Diffusion, but it is also frustrating when the result is not what you expect and it takes long time generate new pictures.

I have been playing with the cpu-only-branch of Stable Diffusion on a linux computer with an 8th Generation Core i7 CPU and 16GB of RAM and here comes some findings.

Basic prompt and parameters

I wanted to generate a useful picture for my Dungeons & Dragons game. So, as a somewhat qualified start I did:

fantasy art of village house, cliff, well, town square, market and storm, in the style of greg rutkowski

I used

  • seed=2 (bacause I did not like seed=1)
  • Sample Steps=10
  • Guide=7.5
  • Sample Model=Euler Ancestral
  • Resolution=512×512
  • The 1.4 model (the small one)

Not very far from default settings. My performance is about 10s per sample step, thus this picture took 1m40s to generate:

This is the unmodified 512×512 picture. Below I will publish smaller/scaled picture but unless otherwise mentioned they are all generated as 512×512. This picture was not so far from what I had in mind, but I don’t see any well or market, or town square.

Sample Methods

I generated exactly the same thing, only changing the Sample Method parameter:

Three of the sample methods took (roughly) twice the time (200% in the name above). I can at least draw the conclusion that the sampling method is not just a mathematical detail but something that actually affects the output quite much.

Sampling Steps

Next thing was to try different number of sampling steps, from 2 to 99:

I find in fascinating how some buildings disappear and are replaced by others at certain thresholds here. Even if it is more expensive to run 75 steps than 10, if you are looking for results like the 75 stops picture, there is no point in generating multiple images with 10 steps. As an amateur, more steps give more details and more sharpness.


There is a guide parameter (how strongly the image should follow the prompt) and that is not a very obvious parameter. For this purpose i used 30 Sampling Steps and tried a few guide values (0-15 are allowed values):

To my amateur eye, guide seems to be mostly about contrast and sharpness. I do not see that the pictures resembles my prompt more or less.


I generated 6 images using different resolutions. Sampling Steps is now 20.

To my surprise the lower than 512×512 came out ok, I have had very bad results at lower resolutions below. It is obvious that changing the resolutions creates a different picture, like with a different seed with the same prompt. The smaller pictures are faster and the larger slower to generate (as indicated by the %), and the largest image caused my 16GB computer to use its swap (but I think something else was swapped out). My conclusion is that you can not generate many pictures a low resolution, and then regenerate the ones you want with higher resolution and the same seed (there are probably other ways to upscale).

Image type

So far all images have been “fantasy art”. I tried a few alternatives with 20 Sampling Steps:

This changes much. The disposition is similar but the architecture is entirely different. What if I like a drawing with the roof style of fantasy art?


So far I have been using Greg Rutkowski for everyting (at first opportunity I will buy a collection of Greg Rutkowskis work when I find one – so far I have not found any). How about different artists:

Obviously picking a suitable artist is critical for your result. To my surprise, for my purposes Anders Zorn is probably more useful than Boris Vellejo.

Dropping Keywords

So far I have not seen much of wells and markets in my pictures. What about dropping those keywords from the prompt?

The disposition is somewhat similar, and still no wells or markets.

Model Choice

There is a 1.4-model to download, and a larger (full) version. What is the difference. I tried three prompts (all fantasy art in the style of greg rutkowski):

  • old well in medieval village
  • medieval village on cliff
  • medieval village under cliff

Conclusion here is that the result is slightly different depending on model, but it is not like it makes a huge difference when it comes to quality and preference.

Trying to get a well

Not giving up on getting a picture of a well I made 9 pictures, using different seeds and the prompt:

  • fantasy art old well in medieval village, greg rutkowski

None of them contains a well as I think of a well. If I do an image search on Google I get plenty of what I want. Perhaps Stable Diffusion does not know what a well looks like, or perhaps this is what fantasy art and/or Greg Rutkowski would draw wells as.


I did this because I thought I could learn something and I did. Perhaps you learnt something from reading about my results. It is obviously possible to get cool pictures, but what if you want something specific? The prompt is important, but if you are playing with the wrong parameters you may be wasting you time.

Stable Diffusion CPU-only

I spent much time trying to install Stable Diffusion on an Intel NUC Hades Canyon with Core i7 (8th Generation) and an AMD RX Vega (4GB), with no success. 4GB is tricky. AMD is trickier.

I gave up on my NUC and installed on my laptop with Windows, GeForce GTX 1650. That worked, and a typical image (512×512 and 20 samples) takes about 3 minutes to generate.

For practical reasons I wanted to run Stable Diffusion on my Linux NUC anyway, so I decided to give a CPU-only version of stable diffusion a try (stable-diffusion-cpuonly). It was a pretty easy install, and to my surprise generation is basically as fast as on my GeForce GTX 1650. I have 16GB of RAM and that works fine for 512×512. I think 8GB would be too little and as usual, lower resolutions than 512×512 generates very bad output for me.

So when you read “stable diffusion requires Nvidia GPU with at least 4GB of RAM”, for simple hobby purposes any computer with 16GB of RAM will be fine.

Elemental Dice 1-5

I just received 5 new Elemental Dice. Only two of the new ones were metal (Sa,Ce) and three were embedded in resin (S, Mn, Hg). Here is a picture of the complete collection.

As you can see the Ce(rium) die has already started to deteriorate. It came like that, I am not the only one, and we will see about replacement shipments.

I added Ce and Sa to my density table:


All dice have a lower wight than exptected. First, the edge are rounded and text and die-numbers are engraved or carved out of the metal cube so it is expected to not be 100%. Some dice are just plated, for obvious reasons (Rh,Pd,Pt,Au) so most part of those are probably Fe/Ni-something. I do not know what is up with Carbon, I suppose it is another form of pure carbon than Graphite.

Windows 11 22H2, Docker, on Dell XPS 15 7590

I have a Dell XPS 15 7590 that I use for running Docker and Business Central images. I have used Windows 10 for two years experiencing some occational problems with starting the Docker images, so I decided to finally upgrade to Windows 11.

Bad timing. It seems 22H2 introduced a bug for this computer (link to Dell forum).

Automatically updating to Windows 11 failed. Blue Screen on boot: INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE. But it recovered from that and booted back to Windows 10.

I decided to make a clean installation of Windows 11 Pro. That was ok, until i installed Docker (4.12.0), then I got the same Blue Screen and this time I found no way to recover. I think the problem has to do with Hyper-V-activation, but there are probably more details I am not aware of.

Eventually, after several installations and restore efforts, things seem to work:

  • BIOS AHCI (not RAID, but I do not think that matters)
  • BIOS Virtualization ON
  • BIOS Virtual Direct I/O OFF
  • Applied KB5017389

I have now learnt to use Restore Points in Windows. Very useful to make a manual restore point before a significant configuration change. When the computer fails to start properly, you can navigate to the option of using a Restore Point, and that has worked several times (and every time) for me now. You need to have a recovery key for the computer (I got mine from, need to log in of course, for a “personal” computer). It is the same key for every restore point so you can write it down and keep it.

Windows 11 impressions

This is the first time I install and use Windows 11. I am actually somewhat satisfied, even impressed. This is the first time using Windows makes me feel inspired and empowered, ever.