Linux in The News 3-14-22

Last Updated on March 14, 2022 by KC7NYR

The Most Interesting New Features Of Linux 5.17 – Intel & AMD Continue With Big Changes

Assuming nothing major comes up in the next few days, the Linux 5.17 kernel is expected to be released on Sunday. While we have been covering Linux 5.17 kernel activity already for a while prior to the merge window even getting going, here is a convenient look at some of the most interesting changes to find in this new release.

See my Linux 5.17 feature overview list from January following the closure of the 5.17 merge window for a lengthy look at all of the changes in store. This article is to serve as a quick summary of the most prominent changes this cycle — at least from my perspective with what interests me.

Of the many great changes, what I’d call the best highlights for Linux 5.17 include:

– Most significant on the AMD side is the new AMD P-State driver for Zen 2 and newer systems with ACPI CPPC support exposed by the platform. AMD P-State is aimed to provide greater desktop/mobile power efficiency than the ACPI CPUFreq driver. I’ll have out some fresh benchmarks soon.

– Various early enablement work on next-generation AMD processors from EDAC handling for DDR5 server memory to temperature monitoring and other additions.

– Early preparations have begun for Intel Raptor Lake processors as the successor to Alder Lake. Expect more Raptor Lake enablement work to continue in v5.18 and succeeding kernels.

– Intel Alder Lake P graphics support is now enabled by default, no longer needing the i915.force_probe workaround.

– Intel Gen11 / Ice Lake graphics now have VRR/Adaptive-Sync support enabled to match the newer Gen12/Xe support.

– Intel AMX support for kVM virtualization is now ready, building off the Intel AMX support mainlined originally in Linux 5.16, and ahead of Xeon Sapphire Rapids processors shipping in large quantities.

– Intel Platform Firmware Runtime Update and Telemetry “PFRUT” support for run-time updating of select firmware components to avoid having to reboot the system. The intention with PFRUT is minimizing downtime around system firmware updates by avoiding the reboot when possible.

– Intel has continued their enablement work around DG2/Alchemist graphics cards that will be coming to market in the months ahead.

– Many more ASUS motherboards now have working hardware sensor support under Linux.

– A new hardware monitoring driver for controlling various NZXT devices under Linux.

– The new x86 Android Tablet driver allowing for various hardware quirks/workarounds to be applied for improving the support for these aging x86 Android tablets running mainline Linux kernel and modern Linux distributions.

– Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) stylus support for that industry effort to have a common specification around input styluses that work cross-devices/vendors.

– Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 support has been added rather timely along with the Snapdragon X65. This latest Snapdragon hardware was announced by Qualcomm at the end of November and great to see it mainlined so soon.

– Performance improvements for the Btrfs and F2FS file-systems.

– Continued upstreaming work around Apple Silicon / M1 hardware with PCIe clock gating support and other additions.

– The serial console driver saw a big performance improvement.

– Multiple Linux network performance optimizations.

– x86 Straight Line Speculation mitigation support and Page Table Check support as some additional kernel safeguards.

Look for Linux 5.17 to debut on 13 March unless anything severe comes up in the next three days that would lead to it being postponed by one week. More Linux 5.17 benchmarks are on the way and then it’s time for the v5.18 cycle.