The Most Interesting Features Of The Linux 4.14 Kernel

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 5 November 2017 at 07:07 AM EST. 17 Comments
If Linux 4.14 weren't an LTS release with so many changes, it would likely be released today with -rc7 having come last week, but due to the size of this new kernel, 4.14-rc8 will most likely be christened today followed by Linux 4.14 next weekend. Here's a reminder about some of the most technically interesting work in this new kernel update.

In the past week there has been nearly 150 commits merged since 4.14-rc7, so Linus will likely go ahead with an -rc8 today, but we won't know for sure until later today. Anyhow, some of the most interesting work you'll be able to find in this kernel series that is also a Long-Term Support release includes:

- Heterogeneous Memory Management (HMM) was finally merged to mainline.

- AMD Secure Memory Encryption has landed for EPYC server CPUs to yield more secure virtualization and more. I'll be working on some AMD EPYC SME benchmarks soon.

- Zstd compression support was added to the kernel and is wired in with the native transparent file-system compression options offered by Btrfs.

- More Vega improvements in AMDGPU DRM, although the most exciting work on that front will be with Linux 4.15 when "AMDGPU DC" display code should finally be merged.

- Intel has continued on the hardware enablement for next-gen Cannonlake processors.

- The Rapsberry Pi has HDMI CEC support now out of the mainline kernel for "Consumer Electronics Control" for being able to control HDMI-connected devices off a single controller / over the HDMI link.

- Raspberry Pi Zero W, Banana Pi, and various other ARM boards should now play nicely with the mainline kernel.

- The new Realtek "rtlwifi" driver is in staging for the Realtek RTL8822BE 802.11ac hardware.

- A fix to ensure the core performance boost bit gets set for Ryzen processors.

- The ORC unwinder was merged which can now allow for frame pointers to be disabled while still yielding a debugging-friendly kernel. Distributions like Ubuntu that can now disable CONFIG_FRAME_POINTER from their kernel may see slightly better performance as a result.

See our Linux 4.14 feature overview for a more exhaustive list of changes. This kernel is up to around 23.2 million lines.
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Michael Larabel

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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