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.