Linux 4.16 Gets Three New Driver Subsystems Plus VirtualBox Guest Driver

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 1 February 2018 at 08:06 AM EST. 13 Comments
Greg Kroah-Hartman's pull request of the char/misc driver work usually isn't too exciting each kernel cycle, but for Linux 4.16 it's definitely on the heavier side with introducing three new subsystems for different hardware busses.

The three new subsystems are Siox, Slimbus, and Soundwire.

Siox - SIOX is a rather peculiar bus system that is used by German company Eckelmann AG to control their building management and refrigeration systems for commercial and industrial systems. The upstream Linux kernel work was done by Pengutronix. SIOX stands for Serial Input Output eXtension.

Slimbus - Slimbus is the Serial Low-power Inter-chip Media Bus. Slimbus was developed by MIPI for supporting multiple digital audio components to communicate simultaneously and support multiple audio streams. Slimbus has been around for about a decade but only now receiving mainline kernel support.

Soundwire - Soundwire is another MIPI standard and is a low-power, two-wire sound bus supporting multiple audio streams and embedded control/commands.

Rounding out the exciting char/misc changes for Linux 4.16 is the VirtualBox Guest driver being mainlined, finally! This vboxguest driver is needed to support copy-and-paste to/from VirtualBox VMs, VirtualBox seamless mode, OpenGL pass-through, and other features. Meanwhile for Linux 4.17, Red Hat's Hans de Goede hopes to mainline the Vboxsf driver for shared folder support.

The complete list of char/misc changes for Linux 4.16 can be found via this pull request.
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