Seven Reasons To Already Get Excited For Linux 4.17, Especially For AMD/Radeon Users

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 30 March 2018 at 06:19 AM EDT. 15 Comments
While Linux 4.16 is coming in the next few days, I am already quite excited about the upcoming Linux 4.17 kernel cycle and the changes it will bring.

Among many other changes expected, seven of the changes that should be merged for Linux 4.17 that I am most excited on the Linux desktop side include:

- AMDGPU DC being enabled by default for all supported GPUs, rather than just for Vega and Raven by default. This modern display code stack that is shared with AMD's Radeon Software Windows driver will allow for FreeSync support, HDMI/DP audio, HDMI 2.0 features, atomic mode-setting, etc. Since being merged to Linux 4.15, it's stabilized a lot and should now be playing nicely with all supported hardware on the AMDGPU DRM driver.

- Discrete GPU support in AMDKFD. For at least Polaris and Fiji GPUs along with other possible hardware like Tonga, the AMDKFD "AMD Kernel Fusion Driver" should be finally working with these Radeon graphics cards. What this means is that the ROCm and ROCm OpenCL compute stacks will now begin working off the mainline kernel! Much easier to deploy OpenCL compute support at long last for Radeon graphics cards. But it will be not until a later kernel release where Vega GPUs have the same treatment and don't hold your breath on older GPUs not supported by ROCm, but the community can at least still revive Clover.

- Intel Cannonlake "Gen 10" graphics are now considered stable and enabled by default. The rest of the Cannonlake Linux CPU support should be rounded off and well. We're waiting still for Intel to begin shipping Cannonlake CPUs as the successor to Kabylake/Coffeelake, but the Linux kernel support is now in good shape as of 4.17. Intel is also already hard at work on the Icelake support that will succeed Cannonlake in 2019.

- AMD Vega 12 will also be supported by Linux 4.17, but we don't have much information at all on what Vega 12 actually is... Leading rumors are either a discrete mobile GPU or a possible successor to the Radeon RX 500 series line-up. Whatever it is, at least the Linux kernel support has actually materialized and going mainline prior to any product announcement, which in the past has usually been the other way around on the AMD side. AMD continues making strides in their open-source driver support and getting punctual support into the mainline kernel tree.

- Radeon WattMan-like functionality is finally being brought to Linux. I'll be running some tests/benchmarks shortly and providing information on that in more detail.

- The ACPI Time and Alarm driver support should be pretty nifty for different use-cases.

- A surprising number of people are getting excited about the Phoenix RC flight controller driver that will debut in this next kernel release.

Stay tuned for a lot more Linux 4.17 coverage on Phoronix once the merge window opens and then of course the obvious benchmarking that will follow.
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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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