Linux 5.4 Features Are Huge From exFAT To New GPUs To Enabling Lots Of New Hardware
Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 29 September 2019. Page 1 of 1. 35 Comments

The Linux 5.4 merge window is set to end today with the release of Linux 5.4-rc1. With the major pull requests in, here is a look at the prominent changes and new features coming with Linux 5.4. As is standard practice, there will be about eight weekly release candidates of Linux 5.4 prior to officially releasing this kernel as stable in late November or potentially early December depending upon how the cycle plays out.

Among the major highlights for Linux 5.4 is the initial Microsoft exFAT file-system support, integration of the LOCKDOWN LSM, DM-Clone as a new means of remotely replicating block devices, case-insensitive F2FS support, support for several new AMD Radeon GPU targets, initial support for Intel Tigerlake with Gen12/Xe Graphics (still very much a work-in-progress), beginning to see various consumer Arm laptops working off the mainline kernel, a kernel fix around UMIP to help various Windows games in Wine, and a lot of other new hardware support.

Graphics:

- Support for the yet-to-be-released AMD Navi 12/14 GPUs.

- Also support for the yet-to-launch and Vega-derived AMD Arcturus GPUs.

- AMD Dali APU support and Renoir support as AMD 2020 APU platforms.

- Initial support for Intel Tigerlake Gen12 graphics.

- Nouveau can now detect if NVIDIA GPU power cables are not connected.

Processors:

- Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC support by the mainline kernel.

- Support for adjusting the Intel TCC thermal offset as a possible way to tweak more performance out of systems.

- Intel Icelake Thunderbolt support is finally in place.

- IBM POWER ultravisor / secure virtual machine preparations.

- Various power management updates.

- ASpeed AST2600 support.

- Dropping support for some older Intel XScale chips.

- Dropping of the Itanium IA64 SGI Altix.

- AMD EPYC load balancing improvements and other scheduler enhancements in general.

- The AMD Ryzen 3000 series temperature reporting patch was finally merged.

- Intel Lightning Mountain support.

Storage / File-Systems:

- Long-awaited support for Microsoft exFAT file-system with a preliminary driver being merged following Microsoft recently publishing the exFAT specification and no longer objecting to said support being in the kernel.

- The DM-Clone target was merged for efficient remote replication of a block device.

- New EXT4 debugging ioctls.

- Improved and faster IO_uring.

- NVMe-of P2P support for supported peer-to-peer DMA with AMD Zen systems and select Intel chipsets.

- Optional case-insensitive support for F2FS.

- BLK-IOCOST for better I/O workload accounting.

- XFS and Btrfs file-system fixes.

- Improved FSCRYPT support for this file-system encryption framework used by the likes of EXT4 and F2FS.

- EROFS graduated from staging.

Virtualization:

- VirtIO-FS was merged as a new way of sharing files/folders between the host and guests.

- Intel UMWAIT/UMONITOR support for KVM.

Other Hardware:

- Better Raspberry Pi SPI performance.

- Logitech Lightspeed Receiver support.

- Wireless USB and Ultra Wideband have been deprecated and face removal in the coming kernel versions.

- Support for an RC receiver popular with DIY drones.

- OLPC-XO 1.75 mainline support at long last.

- Support for the yet-to-launch Pensando Ionic networking hardware from this stealth start-up founded by Cisco executives.

- Continued improvements around Sound Open Firmware and other audio hardware additions.

- Supporting the ASUS NovaGo, HP Envy X2, and Lenovo Miix 630 by the mainline kernel for these Arm powered laptops.

Security & Other:

- FS-VERITY file authentication support was added by Google.

- Linux LOCKDOWN was finally merged for really tightening up the kernel/hardware interactions.

- A fix for many newer Windows games running under Wine/Proton around UMIP spoofing.

It's another big cycle and I'll be firing up a number of Linux 5.4 benchmarks beginning with the 5.4-rc1 announcement expected this evening.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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