Features Of The Linux 3.19 Kernel: Graphics & Disks Rule

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Storage on 22 December 2014 at 03:32 PM EST. 8 Comments
The merge window is closed and 3.19-rc1 was released on Saturday, marking the end of new mainline Linux kernel features for 2014. Here's a rundown of the exciting new features of the Linux 3.19 kernel for what will become the first major kernel release of 2015.

Among the highlights of the new work merged for Linux 3.19 include:

DRM / Graphics

- Of most interest to Phoronix readers are likely the many DRM graphics driver updates.

- AMDKFD was merged as AMD's Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) kernel driver to go along with their new open-source, user-space HSA library and other open-source Radeon graphics code.

- Intel Skylake graphics enablement is progressing on both the kernel and user-space sides. With Linux 3.19, initial Skylake support is in place though expect significant improvements in later kernel releases. Skylake processors succeed Broadwell and are expected to appear in late 2015.

- DPM fan control support in the Radeon DRM for improving fan controls and reducing noise.

- TTM performance optimizations.

- Nouveau started work on support for NVIDIA's new Maxwell GPUs although no acceleration support is ready for 3.19. There's also other Nouveau improvements and prep work.

- Intel finally started dropping UMS/DRI1 code while separately making other improvements to its open-source DRM driver.

- The start of finally mainlining the atomic work.

- The Rockchip DRM driver was merged.

- The Freescale i.MX DRM driver graduated out of the kernel staging area.

- Adreno 400 series support was implemented in Freedreno's MSM driver thanks to the contribution by the Qualcomm Innovation Center.

Disks / File-Systems

- Significant RAID5 / RAID6 improvements for Btrfs.

- SquashFS now supports LZ4 compression.

- Faster boot times for F2FS and other improvements to this Flash Friendly File-System.

- Various XFS improvements and bug fixes for EXT4.

- Multi-queue block layer improvements, including porting over the NVMe driver to the new interface.

- Device Mapper improvements (DM) to meet the needs of GlusterFS, along with other enhancements.

- Multi-layer support for OverlayFS.

- Inline data support for CephFS.


- Many MIPS updates.

- Merging of ARM CoreSight.

- VirtIO and Xen updates for improved Linux virtualization.

- MPX extensions support for Memory Protection Extensions of future Intel hardware (Skylake and beyond).

- KVM x86 improvements while dropping support for KVM on IA-64.

Other Hardware

- Improved multi-touch support.

- New input drivers.

- Many sound driver updates and Intel Skylake HDMI audio support.

- ACPI and power management improvements in two servings.

- Reworked ThinkPad muting support and new Dell backlight keyboard support code.

- Landing of Android Binder code in staging along with other changes in the Linux kernel staging area.

In the next few days I'll begin publishing my usual Linux kernel benchmarks comparing Linux 3.19 to earlier kernel releases. The daily Git code is also being benchmarked on a daily basis via LinuxBenchmarking.com -- A Walkthrough Of The New 32 System Open-Source Linux Benchmarking Test Farm.
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About The Author
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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