Linux 6.0 Supporting New Intel/AMD Hardware, Performance Improvements & Much More
Yesterday marked the release of Linux 6.0-rc1 and as such the merge window is now over and no more feature work is set to land in this kernel version. Here is my write-up of all the interesting new features and changes/improvements coming for Linux 6.0.
This kernel was originally going to be Linux 5.20 until Linus Torvalds decided to rename it to Linux 6.0. Normally after x.19 or x.20 point releases, Linus Torvalds decides to bump the major version number - this time after the 19th minor release. Linux 6.0 is looking very good in the performance department with Intel Xeon Ice Lake, AMD Ryzen Threadripper, and AMD EPYC looking very good with nice uplift in real-world workloads... That's just from what I have tested so far pre-RC1. Stay tuned for more Intel/AMD benchmarks on Linux 6.0 ahead.
Aside from greater performance, Linux 6.0 is supporting new hardware especially on the Intel/AMD side. Intel has more work for Sapphire Rapids, Raptor Lake, and Meteor Lake. AMD continues Zen 4 preparations and on the graphics side readying their kernel graphics driver for RDNA3. There is also other new hardware support like Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen3 support, Intel Habana Labs Gaudi2 AI accelerator support, fixing broken keyboard problems on Ryzen 6000 series laptops, a new audio driver for AMD Raphael platforms, AMD Jadeite audio support, Intel IPI virtualization, AMD x2AVIC, Intel SGX2, run-time verification for safety critical systems, IO_uring enhancements, more sensor coverage on AMD motherboards, and much more.
The Linux 6.0 stable kernel release should be out around the end of September / early October.
While there is a lot of great changes with Linux 6.0, not making it was the real-time "PREEMPT_RT" work still working towards the finish line, the Rust programming language infrastructure didn't land, MGLRU isn't coming until Linux 6.1, the OpenChrome VIA DRM/KMS driver wasn't picked up, and more Intel DG2/Alchemist work not yet stable.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen3 support as well as very early support for the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Arm laptop.
- Some big scheduler changes including improved NUMA balancing for AMD Zen. The performance improvements with Linux 6.0 at large are looking very nice from my testing so far on big systems.
- The AMD Retbleed IBPB mitigation path needs STIBP too and that security fix is part of Linux 6.0-rc1 while will also be back-ported to existing stable kernel series.
- New RISC-V extensions are wired up into the mainline kernel like Zicbom, Zihintpause, and Sstc. RISC-V also has a more useful default kernel configuration for being able to run the likes of Docker and Snaps on defconfig builds.
- LoongArch enables PCI support and other improvements to this Loongson CPU architecture work out of China.
- Intel Raptor Lake P support within the RAPL driver.
- AMD suspend-to-idle preparations for upcoming AMD hardware.
- Linux 6.0 has removed support for old NEC VR4100 MIPS processors found in the IBM WorkPad Z50 and other hardware from the 90's.
- Continued Intel DG2/Alchemist and ATS-M bring-up work. More PCI IDs are now in place too although early Intel Arc desktop GPU owners will still need to use the i915.force_probe option to still enable the DG2 class hardware support.
- Starting work on Meteor Lake graphics support although more patches are coming for Linux 6.1.
- More enablement work towards AMD RDNA3 graphics and other new IP blocks.
- P2P DMA for the AMDKFD driver along with other AMDGPU and AMDKFD kernel driver enhancements.
- Initial Arm Mali Valhall support in the Panfrost driver.