A Look Back At Some Of The Best Features Added To The Linux Kernel In 2016

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 1 January 2017 at 12:29 PM EST. 1 Comment
Going from the Linux 4.5 kernel merge window that was open in last January to the Linux 4.10 merge window that closed this past Christmas, here is a look back at the prominent features added to the kernel in 2016.

Below is the list of the features I found most interesting in each of the kernel cycles in 2016 from Linux 4.5 to 4.10. Click the links for each of the kernels to see our usual and original feature overviews for each of these versions. it was another good year for the Linux kernel and saw almost two million lines of code added for the calendar year.

Linux 4.5 Features:

- Initial support for Intel Kabylake graphics.

- The Etnaviv DRM driver was added for Vivante open-source graphics support.

- AMDGPU PowerPlay support.

- A big ARMv6 / ARMv7 code rework.

- NVIDIA Tegra X1 SoC support and Jetson TX1 board support.

Linux 4.6 Features:

- GeForce GTX 900 series accelerated support in conjunction with signed firmware images.

- Support for 13 new ARM SoCs.

- A significant redesign to the CPUFreq and P-State kernel code.

- Initial POWER9 CPU support.

- Merging of OrangeFS.

- Cgroup Namespaces support.

- Improved security for 32-bit programs.

Linux 4.7 Features:

- AMDGPU DRM support for AMD Polaris RX 400 series graphics cards.

- Introduction of the Schedutil governor for ACPI CPUFreq.

- The core block code added async discard support.

- Microsoft Xbox One Elite Controller support.

- The LoadPin security interface was ported over from Chrome OS.

Linux 4.8 Features:

- AMDGPU OverDrive overclocking support along with PowerPlay improvements.

- Initial Pascal support within the Nouveau DRM driver, but no acceleration for the consumer GTX 1000 series parts.

- Raspberry Pi 3's BCM2837 SoC support.

- Hardened usercopy protection and ASLR for kernel memory sections.

Linux 4.9 Features:

- Experimental Southern Islands (GCN 1.09) support for the AMDGPU DRM driver.

- CPUFreq making greater use of CPU scheduler data.

- Memory Protection Keys (MPK) support.

- Support for vmapped kernel stacks.

- More ARM board support including the Raspberry Pi Zero and Nexus 5.

- The Greybus subsystem was added to the staging area.

Linux 4.10 Features:

- Atomic mode-setting, DP MST, boost re-clocking support for the open-source NVIDIA (Nouveau) driver.

- Intel GVT support.

- Three new ARM DRM drivers.

- More AMD Zen / Ryzen CPU feature enablement.

- Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 support.

- Support for several more ARM platforms including the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Droid 4, etc.
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Michael Larabel

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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