What Excites Me The Most About The Linux 4.12 Kernel

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 30 June 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT. 36 Comments
If all goes according to plan, the Linux 4.12 kernel will be officially released before the weekend is through. Here's a recap of some of the most exciting changes for this imminent kernel update.

What I would call the "top features" for Linux 4.12 include:

- There is initial GeForce GTX 1000 series 3D accelerated support on the open-source Nouveau driver stack, when using Linux 4.12 paired with NVIDIA's firmware binary blobs now part of linux-firmware.git. But there isn't yet any re-clocking, so performance is very slow for Maxwell/Pascal.

- Intel's DRM driver has turned on atomic mode-setting by default!

- BFQ and Kyber are now mainline as two new I/O schedulers. BFQ in particular has been a long time coming for going to mainline.

- Initial Radeon RX Vega support in the open-source AMDGPU DRM driver... Good for the basics and getting the dGPU support out ahead of launch, but the big caveat is there is no display support for Vega until DC/DAL lands, and that won't happen until at least Linux 4.14 (it's not happening for 4.13). So this current Vega support is basically only good for headless compute systems or if using DRI_PRIME and driving the monitor via a secondary non-Vega GPU.

- Continued power management tuning.

- More ARM device support, as usual. There's been NVIDIA Tegra X2 work, iMX28, Orange Pi PC2, Rockchip RK3399/RK3288, and even support for the old Motorola DROID4.

- A USB Type-C port manager has been mainlined.

- KASLR is enabled by default for x86 systems.

Many more details on the changes and new features for Linux 4.12 at length via my 4.12 feature overview.
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Michael Larabel

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 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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