Linux 5.18 To Bring New Intel Drivers, Optimization For AMD EPYC, C11 & Much More

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 11 March 2022 at 06:30 AM EST. 5 Comments
LINUX KERNEL --
Linux 5.17 will hopefully be released on Sunday and with that next kernel there are many exciting features in tow. But for as great as Linux 5.17 is, there are many features I am already eager for with Linux 5.18. Here is an early look at a number of the changes expected in this next kernel version.

From my close monitoring of the many Linux "-next" branches, here is a look at many (but not all) of the features that will likely be sent in for the Linux 5.18 merge window that starts once v5.17 has been released. These features worked their way into the -next branches so should be in Linux 5.18 unless any get backed out due to last minute issues, objections by Linus Torvalds, etc.

Linux 5.18 is very heavy as usual with new hardware support and feature additions from both Intel and AMD, ongoing RISC-V work, switching to the C11 standard from C89, and more. On the Intel side there is the Software Defined Silicon functionality, HFI is being merged, PECI is finally being picked up, and more. On the AMD side is continued work for new hardware enablement and also there is a scheduler optimization for the kernel that can benefit significantly for select workloads on AMD EPYC servers.


New hardware support, never ending software innovations, and performance optimizations always get us excited about new Linux kernel versions.


Here is some of what to get excited about for Linux 5.18, which will formally kick off development soon and then see its stable release in turn by mid to late May:

- Intel Software Defined Silicon is making its debut as the controversial and yet to be formally announced functionality around license-based activation of additional CPU silicon features.

- More Intel DG2/Alchemist and Xe HP driver work in trying to get those forthcoming Intel discrete GPUs ready for the mainline Linux kernel, including the new DG2-G12 sub-target support. It's still ongoing.

- Intel HFI is being merged as the Hardware Feedback Interface and should help with performance/energy efficiency handling on Intel Alder Lake hybrid processors.

- Intel PECI is finally being mainlined as the Platform Environment Control Interface.

- Intel Alder Lake N graphics support.

- Intel PPIN reporting via sysfs.

- Intel ENQCMD support is being re-enabled after the code was disabled last year in the kernel and now properly improved/fixed-up.

- Intel Raptor Lake audio support.

- A Linux scheduler change that can help AMD EPYC server performance in various workloads.

- AMD has been quietly working on new graphics processor support albeit in blocks and not too much exciting for end-users at the moment.

- Switching from C89 to C11 as the C language standard.

- Intel's Indirect Branch Tracking support as part of Intel CET looks to be ready for Linux 5.18.

- AMD's HSMP driver is being mainlined as the Host System Management Port interface for additional system management functions on AMD EPYC servers.

- AMD FreeSync Video Mode by default for Linux 5.18.

- AMDKFD CRIU support is being enabled.

- RISC-V sv57 support for 5-level page tables.

- Stop building a.out on M68k and Alpha to see if anyone notices/cares prior to removing a.out format support in full.

- EXT4 fast commits should be faster.

- Brfs encoded I/O support.

- Intel Madison Peak Bluetooth support.

- Intel Idle driver support for Sapphire Rapids.

- FBDEV performance optimizations.

- Audio support for NVIDIA's Orion SoC.

- Linux RNG/random performance improvements.

- Improved support for ASUS MeMO Pad 7 and Nextbook Ares 8 x86 tablets.

- Multiple improvements for Apple keyboards on Linux.

- The Razer driver is being added for dealing with non-HID compliant Razer input hardware.

- AVX-accelerated SM3 hashing in the kernel's crypto code.

- The SigmaMicro HID driver for dealing with quirky keyboards having SigmaMicro ICs.

- UDP IPv6 performance optimizations.

- Improved ASUS motherboard sensor monitoring via a new driver that is faster and more flexible than the ASUS sensor driver merged just last cycle for v5.17.

- The experimental/in-development Btrfs extent tree v2 work is queued in the Btrfs -next branch for wider testing albeit still very much in development.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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