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Exciting Features That Will Come To Linux 3.12

Linux Kernel

Published on 31 August 2013 05:33 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
2 Comments

While the Linux 3.11 kernel hasn't even been released yet (hopefully this weekend) and with it will come many exciting changes, there's already a lot to get excited for with the Linux 3.12 kernel.

The Linux 3.12 merge window will open once the Linux 3.11 kernel is out in the coming days, but already some of the changes that have been queued up that have me excited (particularly around graphics and hardware improvements) include:

- Experimental AMD "Berlin" HSA APU support on the graphics side. Berlin is the codename for AMD's first APU built atop their Heterogeneous System Architecture. The Berlin graphics core is based upon their current GCN architecture. From user-space it will be supported by the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver.

- The AMD pull request also has ASPM (Active-State Power Management) and DPM (Dynamic Power Management) for the AMD Radeon HD 8000 "CIK" series graphics processors.

- DRM Render/Mode-Set Nodes have already been queued up as an experimental feature to land in Linux 3.12. The DRM render nodes is the work of David Herrmann during this year's Google Summer of Code. This work allows a host of benefits as discussed in different Phoronix articles.

- GPU Run-Time Power Management has also been merged into the DRM-Next tree for Linux 3.12. This code allows for powering down secondary GPUs such as those in Optimus laptop configurations. GPUs controlled by DRM drivers can now be dynamically toggled on and off depending upon whether they're needed.

- The Snapdragon DRM/KMS driver is also going to be merged for the Linux 3.12 kernel. The Snapdragon "MSM" driver is for Qualcomm ARM SoCs and supports Adreno A2xx/A3xx GPUs. Rob Clark wrote this DRM driver as part of his Freedreno reverse-engineering project.

- On a smaller note, there's some Intel GMA-500 Poulsbo driver improvements.

- zRAM is set to move out of staging. ZRAM is already considered stable and commonly used as a compressed swap device in RAM and so now it's set to be promoted to the main area of the kernel.

Changes not yet seen queued up for the Linux 3.12 kernel include Radeon HDMI audio by default, Nouveau re-clocking support for Kepler/Fermi or general re-clocking improvements, nor the VIA KMS driver.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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