Linux 4.15 Expected To Be Released Today, But It Might Be 4.15-rc9
Normally after RC7, the kernel is baked, but all the changes last week due to the fallout from Spectre/Meltdown led to RC8. But this past week, the pace of change has continued with many fixes still coming in. We'll likely see Linux 4.15.0 out today as Torvalds commented last week, but it wouldn't really be surprising if overtime is extended and instead we get 4.15-rc9 due to all of the changes this week and ongoing work still happening around Spectre and Meltdown mitigation.
But it's also possible Torvalds decides to cut the 4.15.0 release anyhow and encourage users to upgrade to the point releases that will surely be out soon. Many kernel developers are beginning their travels for Linux.Conf.Au 2018 and have prematurely begun with 4.16 pull requests, so Linus may want to move on and get the 4.16 cycle underway. We'll see as the day moves on.
Anyhow, as a reminder of what's great about the Linux 4.15 kernel:
- Retpoline support is in place for Spectre Variant Two mitigation, albeit the code continues to be worked on, and Spectre Variant One support and more is set for Linux 4.16. But much of this work is being back-ported anyhow to past cycles just like the KPTI support.
- Exciting us the most is that AMDGPU DC finally landed! Radeon RX Vega graphics cards can now work out-of-the-box on Linux with proper display support, etc. This also allows for HDMI/DP audio on recent GPUs, atomic mode-setting, the groundwork for FreeSync, and other display capabilities.
- Some DRM improvements for improving support for VR Head-Mounted Displays (VR HMDs) on the Linux desktop, namely the HTC Vive.
- Intel Coffee Lake graphics are now treated as stable.
- The RISC-V architecture was mainlined. But that's just the architecture code and not yet the needed RISC-V device drivers, etc.
- AVX-512 improvements, expanded Turbo Boost Max 3.0 support, UMIP capabilities, and other features to benefit newer Intel CPUs.
- AMD Zen Ryzen/Threadripper/EPYC CPUs now have proper temperature reporting now working under Linux.
- Some power management improvements.
- Networking support over systems connected between Thunderbolt cables.
See our complete Linux 4.15 kernel change-log via the Linux 4.15 feature overview and stay tuned for Linux 4.16 kernel coverage and benchmarks once that merge window is open.
Update: Linux 4.15-rc9 happened.