In that image, the ad on the left, is there any way you can move it (up top maybe?) or at least align the text above it to be in line with the text next to it. Having the links be left aligned and then suddenly jutted to the right because of the ad just makes the front page look....bad. At least to me.
The other request is, below the jutted text you have 2 columns of articles, its not really clear which order they came in though. You have a habit of doing articles and then follow up articles a day or so, or hours later, and if the reader can't tell what order the articles were posted in, it makes reading them in the proper order a bit of a pain
After looking at all my options, there's pretty much only one: I'll have to find one way or another to browse Phoronix on the current site theme/layout.
The answer could be a browser plugin that lets the user change the site's css. If that doesn't do the trick, probably will need to set up a pirate phoronix site somewhere that fetches content from the real one but has the old theme (and in that case, obviously no ads).
Unless Phoronix chooses to offer the old site layout in the future as well, of course.
As for many other commenters here, the first thing which really hurt my eyes was the ad on the left.
I would actually prefer having it between article links (article, article, article, ad, article, …) to having it on the left, jarring every joy in reading… (even though I still hate ads separating articles).