The Big Features Of Linux 5.1: IO_Uring, Intel Fastboot Default, Goya AI Accelerator, New Hardware
- Support for using persistent memory as system RAM. This is preparing for Intel (3DXPoint) Optane NVDIMMs and other PMEM to optionally be used as system RAM if desired.
- Greater performance out of ZRAM thanks to changing the default compressor.
- Another addition on the Intel Icelake front is a new EDAC driver for these CPUs for dealing with error detection and correction around ECC memory with Icelake server CPUs.
- IO_uring was merged for fast and efficient I/O with this new interface that allows submission and completion queue rings to be shared between applications and the kernel to avoid excess copies, among other design improvements allowing for async I/O to be done with a single system call.
- The FANOTIFY API is more useful for file monitoring/intercepting.
- F2FS fixes with this flash-friendly file-system appearing now on more Android mobile devices.
- EXT4 and Btrfs also saw a lot of fixes.
- Btrfs as a new feature in Linux 5.1 now has configurable Zstd compression support where as previously the Zstd compression level wasn't configurable for this transparent file-system compression option.
- Performance improvements in FUSE if you run any file-systems in user-space.
- Low-level work on XFS in preparing for future functionality to be introduced.
- Wacom Pro Pen Slim support along with other drawing tablet driver improvements.
- More touchscreen hardware is working with Linux 5.1.
- Intel 22260 WiFi support and other networking hardware support enhancements.
- New audio hardware support including the high-end Fireface UCX and various sound chips.
- The ability to lockdown all but internal USB devices at boot time, this is a change driven by Google's Chromebook developers.
- The kernel's livepatching infrastructure now supports cumulative patches and atomic-replace.
- A Kbuild update so the kernel will play nicer with the LLVM LLD linker.
- Linux 5.1 is making it easier to investigate Microsoft Hyper-V performance issues.
- The Linux kernel is deprecating A.out support.
- The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ is supported by mainline finally along with the NVIDIA Shield TV, Intel Chameleon96 / Altera FPGA developer board, Sophon Edge with the Bitmain SoC, and other Arm developer boards.
- The Outreachy folks provided a number of trivial cleanups in the staging space.
- Continued work on Year 2038 problem preparations.
Overall, Linux 5.1 is quite exciting. Though not making it for Linux 5.1 was the WireGuard support still baking, the Panfrost DRM driver isn't yet ready for mainline, no signs of Radeon Navi support yet, no re-clocking for newer NVIDIA GPUs on Nouveau, and other items we and members of the forums are constantly looking out for. I'll be kicking off Linux 5.1 benchmarks shortly. Look for the Linux 5.1-rc1 inaugural release candidate to happen later today.
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