Linux 4.0-RC1 Tagged, Linux 4.0 Will Bring Many Notable Improvements

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 22 February 2015 at 10:03 PM EST. 12 Comments
Linus Torvalds has decided to go ahead and rename the Linux 3.20 kernel to Linux 4.0 per his polling last week. Torvalds released Linux 4.0-rc1 on Sunday night and this release comes with many significant updates.

Linus tagged the Linux 4.0-rc1 kernel just moments ago in Git and codenamed this release the "Hurr durr I'ma sheep." He wrote in the commit message:
.. after extensive statistical analysis of my G+ polling, I've come to the inescapable conclusion that internet polls are bad.

Big surprise.

But "Hurr durr I'ma sheep" trounced "I like online polls" by a 62-to-38% margin, in a poll that people weren't even supposed to participate in. Who can argue with solid numbers like that? 5,796 votes from people who can't even follow the most basic directions?

In contrast, "v4.0" beat out "v3.20" by a slimmer margin of 56-to-44%, but with a total of 29,110 votes right now.

Now, arguably, that vote spread is only about 3,200 votes, which is less than the almost six thousand votes that the "please ignore" poll got, so it could be considered noise.

But hey, I asked, so I'll honor the votes.
Linux 4.0 is happening!

As of writing this article no Linux 4.0-rc1 release announcement has been issued, but in my close monitoring of the code and mailing lists of the past two weeks, here's the changes for the Linux 4.0 kernel exciting me the most:

DRM / Graphics Drivers:

- The AMD Radeon driver finally has DisplayPort audio support.

- The Radeon driver also has better fan control support and other improvements.

- The AMDKFD HSA kernel driver has basic work towards Carrizo/VI APU support.

- The Intel DRM driver has many improvements throughout and basic Intel Skylake support should now be working.

- The Nouveau DRM driver has GK20A re-clocking support and other improvements.

- Freedreno's MSM driver has Embedded DisplayPort support, YUV support for newer hardware, and various other changes.

- New DRM drivers and other improvements.

File-Systems / Disk Drives:

- pNFS block server support and it's currently supported by the XFS file-system. This feature has been a long-time coming for mainline.

- RAID 5/6 improvements for Btrfs.

- VirtIO 1.0.

- Fixes to the F2FS file-system.

- Handling of multiple read-only layers for the OverlayFS.


- Intel Quark SoC x86 platform support.

- Numerous new ARM platforms are now enabled for this next Linux kernel release.

- Various x86 KVM optimizations.

- A new AMD ACPI driver and Skylake P-State support, among other power management and ACPI improvements.

- Full IBM z13 support.

Other Hardware:

- Improved Toshiba laptop support.

- Bootloader improvements for the Sony PlayStation 3 with Linux.

- TPM 2.0 support for Trusted Computing.

- Various sound updates.

- New input drivers.

- New and improved media drivers.

- Better Logitech HID++ support.


- Many staging changes along with the demotion of the I2O subsystem.

- Live kernel patching infrastructure work as the joint work between the kGraft and Kpatch initiatives from SUSE and Red Hat, respectively.

That's hopefully all of it and not missing anything else too exciting... Be sure to share your favorite changes of Linux 4.0 for what you're looking forward to within our forums.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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