Some Of The Graphics Driver Improvements Coming For The Linux 4.6 Kernel

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 11 March 2016 at 08:42 AM EST. 3 Comments
With Linux 4.5 likely coming out this weekend, here's a look at some of the new features/functionality coming for Linux 4.6 -- with this article looking at a portion of the expected DRM driver changes.

This early look is mainly covering the graphics areas of the kernel given that's what excites me (and most Phoronix readers) the most... More Linux 4.6 coverage will obviously be on Phoronix daily over the next two weeks once the merge window opens and I'm looking at all of the pull requests and different Git branches. Anyhow, for what has already been covered on Phoronix so far about Linux 4.6 includes:

- Nouveau is expected to finally have the signed firmware image support for the GTX 900 series that means finally getting open-source 3D/OpenGL on the newer Maxwell GPUs. There's still re-clocking to be done and other improvements, but at least the GeForce GTX 900 series can finally start running on Nouveau with hardware acceleration... Just a few months ahead of NVIDIA's Pascal launch.

- The power-saving FBC and PSR features by default for the Intel DRM driver. Haswell and Broadwell will once again try for Frame-Buffer Compression and Panel Self Refresh enabled by default. There is also various other Intel Linux graphics improvements.

- Improvements to the Etnaviv DRM driver for Vinvante IP cores.

- Adreno 430 graphics support via the Freedreno DRM driver updates.

- GPU switching for Pre-Retina MacBook Pros.

- GPU reset support for AMDGPU along with scheduler optimizations, ACP support for APUs with i2s audio, ioctl optimizations, GPU VM optimizations, and a variety of fixes and other minor improvements.

- What is not present in Linux 4.6 DRM is the massive AMD DAL driver code that was published last month. (There also isn't yet any code being mainlined in preparation for AMD's next-generation Polaris graphics processors.)

Stay tuned for more Linux 4.6 coverage over the next two weeks followed by plenty of Linux kernel performance benchmarks.
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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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