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The Linux 3.13 Kernel Is Already Super Exciting

Linux Kernel

Published on 08 November 2013 12:18 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
26 Comments

The merge window hasn't even officially opened yet on the Linux 3.13 kernel but it's already super exciting and I can't wait for the new code to start hitting mainline and to benchmark these massive changes to the Linux kernel. Here's just a few things to expect so far but it's already gearing up to be a super exciting release and perhaps the best of 2013.

Among the changes we know already that are going to be in Linux 3.13 that make it particularly great include:

- The NFTables code will be merged to ultimately replace IPTables on Linux. NFTables is a simpler ABI, eliminates lots of duplicated code, is more efficient for network filtering rules, and all around should be a much better design over the long-standing IPTables.

- This next kernel release will enable Radeon DPM and HDMI audio by default! At long last, users of the open-source Radeon driver with HDMI monitors/TVs will have audio output support enabled by default. This HDMI audio was enabled for a short while long ago, but disabled by default as it caused issues for some users. With Linux 3.13, audio should work "out of the box" for Radeon HDMI connections. Dynamic Power Management enabled by default is also a huge win for power-savings, lower heat output, and better performance for newer high-end GPUs that tend to boot to lower-than-rated clock speeds. Radeon DPM is great and increasingly important for modern AMD GPUs.

- Continued Intel open-source graphics driver improvements, including HDMI Stereo/3D support as one of the major new features.

- The other major Intel change is initial support for Intel Broadwell graphics on Linux, but look for much better support to come with Linux 3.14. Broadwell ins Intel's 2014 successor to Haswell. The graphics should be really spectacular!

- The Multi-Queue Block Layer has been merged. This disk change will allow for faster SSDs on Linux while reducing latency by balancing I/O workload across multiple CPU cores and allowing for multiple hardware queues. This should be a really big win for modern solid-state drive systems and benchmarks are forthcoming at Phoronix.

- The most exciting news of the morning is word of new power management and re-clocking code for Nouveau, this includes supporting the latest NVIDIA Fermi and Kepler GPUs too! The new code isn't enabled by default -- but automatic fan management is turned on -- and is a big step forward in making the open-source NVIDIA Linux driver more comparable to the proprietary GPU driver.

- Aside from the Nouveau PM work, there's lots of power management improvements on the CPU side, including the power-capping and RAPL code for being able to limit the power consumption of specific system components.

Stay tuned for many more Phoronix articles over the next two weeks as the merge window officially opens and we see what else is exciting across the various Linux kernel subsystems, but already there's lots of end-user changes to get really excited about for this next Linux update.

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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