The Notable Changes So Far With The Linux 5.1 Kernel

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 12 March 2019 at 05:55 AM EDT. 2 Comments
We are over half-way through the Linux 5.1 kernel merge window. While we've had many articles detailing the individual changes thus far of the new kernel, if you are unfortunately behind on your Phoronix reading, here's a quick look at some of what has been queued this far for this next major kernel update.

The notable Linux 5.1 work thus far includes:

- Intel Fastboot by default and many other DRM graphics/display driver changes.

- The kernel is deprecating A.out support.

- Livepatching improvements around cumulative patches / atomic-replace support.

- New ARM boards and SoCs are supported including the Bitmain SoCs, mainline support for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+, and a lot of other hardware.

- Intel HDCP 2.2 support.

- The new Habana Labs' Goya accelerator kernel driver is quite interesting.

- More touchscreen hardware support through additions in many drivers.

- Wacom Pro Pen Slim support along with other graphics drawing tablet improvements.

- Not yet merged but proposed is the ability to use persistent memory as RAM (PMEM as RAM).

- Pinning sensitive CR0/CR4 bits to prevent a recent trend in exploits.

- Icelake PMC core driver support.

- A new EDAC driver for Icelake CPUs (i10nm_edac).

- On the 64-bit ARM front, the default kernel configuration will now default to 256 for the max number of CPUs out of the box.

- RISC-V hardware support is getting squared away and being assumed to be safe now with the HiFive developer board.

- Reducing the scope of Spectre V4 speculation protection with PR_SPEC_DISABLE_NOEXEC.

- Minor Retpoline optimizations for Spectre V2.

- A Kbuild update so the kernel will play better with the LLVM Linker (LLD).

- XFS feature work though this round mostly on a lower-level to build off of moving forward.

- The FANOTIFY API is much more capable with the additions made to this file-system monitoring/intercepting interface.

- Configurable Zstd file-system compression for Btrfs.

- Staging cleanups thanks to Outreachy.

- The seemingly never ending work on continued preparations for the Year 2038 problem.

- Intel 22260 WiFi support and other networking driver improvements.

- For the Hyper-V hypervisor it will be easier to investigate performance issues.

- Continuing to better the MIPS R6 architecture support.

- ACPI 6.3 support and a new CPU idle governor among other power management updates.

- A lot of new audio hardware support.

Stay tuned for the rest of the Linux 5.1 kernel merge window happenings this week followed by our usual 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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