The Many Exciting Features To The Linux 4.8 Kernel

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 7 August 2016 at 08:41 AM EDT. Page 1 of 2. 7 Comments.

Today marks the closure of the Linux 4.8 kernel merge window so as usual here is our recap of all the features we've been monitoring over the past two weeks. Among the highlights for Linux 4.8 are AMD GPU OverDrive overclocking, initial NVIDIA Pascal support, a new ARM Mali display driver, mainline support for the Raspberry Pi 3 BCM SoC, HDMI CEC support, big reworks to Btrfs and XFS file-system code, and a number of new security features, among other changes.


- AMDGPU OverDrive support for finally being able to overclock AMD GPUs using the open-source Linux driver. However, for now this overclocking support is only available with AMDGPU-supported hardware and via basic command-line interaction via sysfs for just pushing up the GPU and memory clocks in 1% increments. Nothing like the new WattMan support by the Windows driver.

Trying Out The Experimental AMDGPU OverDrive Overclocking With The R9 Fury

- Many PowerPlay improvements to the AMDGPU code and specifically some improvements for Carrizo and Stoney.

- Initial NVIDIA Pascal support via the open-source Nouveau driver. However, for GeForce GTX 1000 GP104/GP106 GPUs, this only includes basic kernel mode-setting support. There isn't yet any accelerated support for the consumer cards until NVIDIA releases the needed signed firmware files. Only with the GP100 is there any accelerated support right now.

- The usual churn to the Intel DRM driver. One of the new Intel DRM features for Linux 4.8 is GVT-g para-virtualization.

- An ARM Mali display driver has been mainlined but this is only relevant to the display hardware.

- Various other DRM updates.


- Raspberry Pi 3's BCM2837 SoC is now supported by the mainline kernel. Other new mainline ARM SoC support include the Broadcom BCM23550, Freescale i.MX7Solo, Qualcomm MDM9615, Renesas r8a7792, and Renesas r8a7796.

- ACPI Low-Power Idle support.

- Finally being mainlined is the HDMI CEC framework! HDMI CEC for the mainline kernel has been a long time coming and should allow for better HDMI control support under Linux.

- There's a new Intel Virtual Button driver for helping some newer Skylake laptops.

- Microsoft Surface 3 touch-screen support and other input improvements.

- New ASoC sound drivers, including mainline support for some Mediatek platforms and the Allwinner A10.

- Continued hardware enablement work on IBM POWER9.

- QCA9888 support for the ath10k driver.

- KVM updates.

- A new reboot mode driver to help out some ARM hardware.

- A new SDIO WiFi driver for those having a Secure Digital sized WiFi card powered by some select chipsets.

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