The New Features Of The Linux 4.11 Kernel
Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 5 March 2017. Page 1 of 1. 20 Comments

If all goes according to plan, Linus Torvalds will have announced the first release candidate of the upcoming Linux 4.11 kernel before the day is through. The Linux 4.11-rc1 release also marks the end of the feature merge window for this kernel cycle. So with that said, here is a look at the new features of the Linux 4.11 kernel that I have been covering through closely watching the Git repository and mailing list over the past two weeks.

Highlights of the Linux 4.11 from our original coverage of the kernel developments this cycle include:

DRM / Graphics:

- AMDGPU power management continues to mature with Linux 4.11. Likely due to TTM memory management improvements, Linux 4.11 is faster for RADV Vulkan.

- Intel has enabled frame-buffer compression by default for Skylake hardware and newer.

- Intel's DRM driver also now handles DisplayPort MST audio. They added multi-stream transport capabilities a few kernels ago while this work is about allowing audio for DP MST displays.

- Intel also has initial Geminilake graphics support. Geminilake SoCs will be shipping later this year.

- The Nouveau DRM driver went through a Secure Boot code refactoring and based off that work NVIDIA even released the signed Pascal firmware for Pascal consumer cards along with code for bringing up accelerated support for the GeForce GTX 1050/1060/1070/1080. But that accelerated Pascal support isn't landing until Linux 4.12.

- TinyDRM was merged for helping to make DRM drivers for small displays/devices.

- ASPEED AST2500 display support.

- Various other DRM driver and core updates.

- Minor work done on FBDEV.

Processors:

- Intel's Turbo Boost Max 3.0 is better supported and will allow this boosting feature to operate on more systems/motherboards.

- Support for a variety of new ARM SoCs and boards like the Banana Pi M64, SolidRun MACCHIATOBin, BCM958712DxXMC NorthStar2 developer board, and HiSilicon Kirin960/Hi3660 and HiKey960. There is also WeTek Hub and WeTek Play2 support.

- A variety of KVM improvements.

- OpenRISC optimizations.

- PVHv2 support for Xen.

- Tweaking to the Intel P-State driver.

- TurboStat updates.

File-Systems / Storage:

- MD RAID optimizations.

- XFS clean-ups.

- EXT4 fixes.

- Various block layer updates.

- Some new F2FS functionality.

- Fixes and optimizations for Btrfs.

Other Hardware:

- Power-saving PCI-E L1 PM substate support is exciting to see now supported under Linux.

- New Raspberry Pi drivers.

- Realtek ALC1220 is now supported, which is the codec used by many Intel Kabylake and AMD Ryzen motherboards. Thus with Linux 4.11 many of these newer motherboards will finally have working audio!

- New input drivers for the Zeitech ZET6223 touchscreen and Samsung Touchkeys.

- New media drivers for a variety of different STM, Marvell, Toshiba, and other brands.

- EFI memory attributes table support.

- Better Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (TPM2) support.

- Wacom Intuos Pro support.

- A lot of networking updates.

Other:

- The new statx system call for providing enhanced file information and other benefits.

- The Serial Device Bus was introduced, also known as SERDEV, although drivers aren't making use of this serial device bus until at least Linux 4.12.

That's it for our highlights. If we missed anything interesting from the Linux 4.11 merge window, let us know in the forums! More Linux 4.11 benchmarks to come up shortly on Phoronix.


About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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