Linux 5.14 Features From Secret Memory Areas To New Hardware, Core Scheduling, Legacy IDE Dropped

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 12 July 2021. Page 1 of 2. 2 Comments

With last night's release of Linux 5.14-rc1 the merge window is officially over for this next version of the Linux kernel. With that, here is a look at the highlights for the forthcoming Linux 5.14 kernel based upon our original reporting during the merge window.

Linux 5.14 was another busy cycle with seeing changes like a new tracer for operating system noise, memfd_secret for allowing secret memory areas on the system, many CPU/architecture-related updates, core scheduling for allowing better security with Intel Hyper Threading, many open-source graphics driver improvements for Intel and AMD, removal of legacy IDE support, and much more. Here is the more exhaustive list of notable Linux 5.14 features:


- Core Scheduling has been merged for making HT/SMT safer to keep enabled primarily for cloud environments with the ability to have more control over what's run on a core's sibling thread around trusted/untrusted tasks.

- VirtIO-IOMMU support on x86 where as previously was just AArch64 support.

- Various new Arm SoCs now supported.

- More kernel features now supported on RISC-V like transparent hugepages and KFENCE.

- ACPI CPPC CPUFreq frequency invariance support.

- A big clean-up to the x86 FPU code.

- Preparing for more OpenRISC LiteX drivers to be upstreamed in the future.

- Continued bring-up around Intel Alder Lake and the hybrid CPU concept. This includes new thermal code, P-State handling, and other ADL-specific additions.

- Upstreaming of Microwatt POWER soft CPU core support.

- ARM64 preparations for some CPU cores not supporting 32-bit execution.

- RAS/EDAC changes around Intel support for on-package HBM memory with future Xeon CPUs.

- Disabling Intel TSX by default on more CPUs.

Display / Graphics:

- A Microsoft Hyper-V display driver.

- SimpleDRM was merged.

- AMD Yellow Carp support.

- AMD Beige Goby support.

- Intel Alder Lake P support.

- AMDGPU hot unplugging should now work.

- 16 bpc display support for AMDGPU.

- PCIe ASPM is enabled by default in AMDGPU.

- Support for AMD Smart Shift laptops.

- Hantro VPU driver support for the G2 decoder.

- Many other open-source graphics/display updates.


- AMD SFH support for light sensor and human presence detection with newer AMD Ryzen laptops.

- Dell Hardware Privacy laptop support.

- Support to change Lenovo ThinkPad BIOS settings within Linux.

- A performance fix for Intel's ISST driver with some HPC benchmarks.

- Other Linux laptop support improvements.

Other Hardware:

- Raspberry Pi 400 support with the mainline kernel.

- Lower latency for the USB audio driver.

- Many Habana Labs AI driver improvements for its Goya and Gaudi accelerators.

- Microsoft Xbox One Controller select/share button support.

- Support for the SparkFun Qwiic joystick via a new driver as a ~$10 open-source joystick for DIY electronics.

- USB4 support improvements.

- New sound hardware support from Alder Lake M to various other sound chips.

- More work on supporting CXL, Compute Express Link.

- Intel has overhauled and replaced its RDMA driver.

- Support for a tiny and cheap MIPS IoT single board computer.

- Many networking driver updates.

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