Linux 5.12 Features Intel Xe VRR, Nintendo 64 Port + Clang LTO + Much More

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 28 February 2021 at 10:30 AM EST. Page 1 of 2. 9 Comments.

The Linux 5.12 merge window was off to a rough start due to winter storms preventing Linus Torvalds from merging changes for nearly one week, but in any case he appears to have caught up and the Linux 5.12-rc1 kernel is expected later today to end out the merge window. Here is a look at the many exciting changes coming for Linux 5.12.

Linux 5.12 is going to be another very exciting kernel release. The stable Linux 5.12 release should happen in late April or early May depending upon how the cycle ultimately plays out. Linux 5.12 is an interesting kernel during COVID times with additions ranging from Nintendo 64 support some 20+ years later to Sony mainlining an official PlayStation 5 controller driver.

The quick highlights for Linux 5.12 include the ability to use Clang Link-Time Optimizations (LTO), IDMAPPED mounts are exciting for many use-cases, KLeak has been added as a kernel memory leak detector that is low-overhead for production kernel builds, Radeon RX 6800 series overclocking is now supported, Intel Xe VRR / Adaptive-Sync is in place, initial CXL 2.0 interconnect support, the Sony PlayStation 5 DualSense driver has arrived, the very impractical Nintendo 64 port was merged, dynamic preemption is available, some ASRock motherboards now having working sensor/voltage reporting, and much more.

Here is the lengthy list of the Linux 5.12 changes we have been monitoring in our original reporting. If you enjoy the daily coverage followed by Linux 5.12 benchmarks heating up, consider showing your support by joining Phoronix Premium.

Processors + SoC Platforms:

- Mainlining of the SiFive FU740 and HiFive Unmatched RISC-V board support. NUMA support has also landed for RISC-V.

- Intel ASIC N5X and Snapdragon 888 are along the new platforms now supported.

- The new kernel will avoid prematurely shutting down hot Intel mobile systems depending upon the thermal zone being tripped.

- Lenovo Laptop Platform Profile support.

- Better Microsoft Surface device support.

- The Dynamic Thermal Power Management (DTPM) framework was merged so you don't burn yourself on hot devices.

- Various x86 platform driver additions.

- Removal of old/obsolete ARM platforms.

- Removal of Intel MID support and with that Intel Simple Firmware Interface support is removed.


- More of Intel's ACRN hypervisor code is upstreamed for that IoT / safety critical minded hypervisor.

- VFIO batched page pinning for better performance.

- Support for the Linux kernel to boot as the root partition on Microsoft's Hypervisor.

- KVM now allows user-space to emulate Xen hypercalls.


- Intel VRR / Adaptive-Sync for Intel Xe (Gen12) is exciting.

- Radeon RX 6800/6900 series OverDrive overclocking is now wired up.

- FP16 pixel format support for more Radeon GPUs.

- Various other AMDGPU improvements.

- Adreno 508 / 509 / 512 GPU support in MSM.

- The ability to disable Intel graphics security mitigations.

- Intel Rocket Lake fixes along with power management improvements, clear color support for Tiger Lake, and other i915 happenings.

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