The Features That Landed So Far In The Linux 4.6 Kernel

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 22 March 2016 at 06:36 AM EDT. 7 Comments
We are a little more than half-way through the Linux 4.6 kernel merge window so here's a quick look at the new changes and features that have made it into the code-base for this next major kernel release.

Among the pull requests and Git activity I've been tracking for Linux 4.6 for more than the past week includes:

- Support for over a dozen new ARM SoCs and other platform additions and improvements! The new mainline ARM support in Linux 4.6 is quite great. There are also ARM 64-bit architectural improvements as well.

- CGroup Namespaces support at long last.

- A significant redesign to CPUFreq and P-State in the power management realm. The possibilities for the future are interesting such as this new governor being designed for post-4.6.

- The open-source working support for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 series on Nouveau via the signed firmware code and the firmware images finally made available by NVIDIA. Benchmarks coming!

- FBC and PSR by default for Intel's graphics driver! Power-saving features finally being turned on by default, unless they get turned off (again) due to problems.

- AMDGPU reset support and other enhancements for users of the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver stack.

- Raspberry Pi 3D performance improvements.

- Objtool to make it easier to find Assembly bugs in the kernel. Separately but related there's more porting of Assembly code to C with this next kernel version.

- XFS file-system updates.

- F2FS file-system enhancements.

- Scalability and performance improvements for EXT4.

- Continued work on XHCI USB 3.1 support.

- A wide range of Linux networking improvements.

- Synaptics RMI4 support to lead to better touchscreen and touchpad handling in the future.

- Runtime power management of AHCI controllers.

- The start of POWER9 support.

- The usual churn in the staging world.

- Intel Skylake audio fixes.

- HID driver updates and support additions.

- Memory Protection Keys support.

- EFI security improvements.

- Better security of 32-bit Linux programs.

- Scheduler improvements.

- It didn't land yet, but there's a proposal for a new in-kernel debugger.

- Various KVM changes.

I think that covers everything that caught my interest over the past week. What are you most excited to see about Linux 4.6? Stay tuned for my continuing merge window coverage over the next few days and this weekend I'll have a more formal and exhaustive write-up about the Linux 4.6 features. Of course, following that, will be many Linux 4.6 kernel benchmarks on Phoronix and our associated sites.

Update: Now that the merge window is closed, see the full list of new Linux 4.6 features.
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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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