Linux 5.16 Will Be A Great Christmas Gift For Open-Source Fans With Many New Features

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 25 October 2021 at 08:42 AM EDT. 15 Comments
While Linux 5.15 isn't even making its debut for another week or two, there is already a lot to look forward to when it comes to Linux 5.16. Here is a look at some of the new features expected for the 5.16 cycle.

Thanks to closely monitoring the many "-next" branches and mailing lists, here is a look at material currently queued and on-deck for Linux 5.16 barring any last minute issues or objections from Linus Torvalds once the 5.16 merge window opens in early November. Of course, stay tuned to Phoronix during the Linux 5.16 merge window for details on other interesting merges and other drama that may ensue followed by benchmarks of the new kernel.

- FUTEX2 is set to appear for that updated system call of interest to many Linux gamers for helping Windows games running on Linux via Wine / Proton.

- Cluster scheduler support is queued.

- Initial DisplayPort 2.0 code for the AMDGPU driver.

- AMDGPU is finally enabling Panel Self Refresh (PSR) by default for new GPUs.

- Cyan Skillfish display support for that Navi 1x APU.

- AMDGPU USB4 DisplayPort tunneling is added in preliminary form for next-gen Rembrandt / Yellow Carp APUs.

- NVIDIA Tegra NVDEC open-source support.

- Intel Encrypted PXP support.

- Intel Alder Lake S graphics are considered stable / ready.

- The new parallel submission uAPI for the Intel graphics driver.

- A Steam Deck display panel quirk.

- More extensible VirtIO GPU driver handling with "context types" support.

- NVIDIA's preparations for future laptops with EC-driven backlights.

- The panel-edp driver is being added to yield less hard-coded eDP panel configurations.

- Many block / I/O optimizations.

- The Realtek "RTW89" 802.11ax WiFi driver is being introduced.

- Vortex86 processor detection.

- Apple Magic Keyboard 2021 support.

- The Apple Silicon PCIe driver will be added, clearing the way for more Apple M1 drivers and functionality to appear.

- DMA-BUF peer-to-peer support for the Habana Labs AI driver.

- System76 laptops with open-source EC firmware can now have battery charging thresholds and newer System76 laptops also now have CPU and GPU fan speed and temperature reporting via the system76_acpi driver.

- Better HP Omen laptop support.

- Expanded ASUS motherboard sensor support.

- Improved USB low-latency audio playback.

- RISC-V hypervisor support is finally landing for KVM.

- New AMD Linux audio driver code.

- The AMD PSF disable bit will be exposed to KVM guests.

Not certain yet but:

- Potentially an updated Zstd implementation.

- Potentially Intel AMX landing? At least the FPU prep clean-up and other work is in good shape, but so far all the AMX enablement code doesn't appear to have been queued.

Linux 5.16 stable should debut right around the end of the year / early next year depending upon how everything plays out.
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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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