Linux 5.8 Kernel Features Include New Intel/AMD Capabilities, Security Improvements, Optimizations
Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 14 June 2020. Page 1 of 1. 8 Comments

Linus Torvalds is expected to release Linux 5.8-rc1 following the two week long Linux 5.8 kernel merge window. Here is our overview of all the big changes coming with this next version of the Linux kernel.

Linux 5.8 won't be out as stable until early to mid August but there is a lot coming for this summer 2020 kernel upgrade from many processor improvements, a fair amount of new hardware enablement, a variety of security enhancements, and other new kernel infrastructure like the general notification queue, cable testing infrastructure in the network code, and continued advancements to the open-source Intel/Radeon graphics drivers. Given the release timeline for Linux 5.8, this will likely be the kernel version shipped by the likes of Ubuntu 20.10 and Fedora 33 this autumn. Here are the highlights for Linux 5.8 based on my original reporting.

Graphics:

- Qualcomm Adreno 405 / 640 / 650 open-source support.

- AMDGPU TMZ support with Trusted Memory Zones for encrypted video memory.

- Intel Tiger Lake SAGV support and other Gen12 graphics updates.

- Radeon Navi/GFX10 soft recovery support.

- The Radeon driver also now better handles critical thermal faults.

- P2P buffer/DMA support between GPUs.

- Other updates too like Lima run-time power management, Nouveau support for NVIDIA format modifiers, and more.

Processors:

- The AMD Energy Driver was merged for (finally!!!) exposing the Zen/Zen2 energy sensors on Linux.

- AMD Ryzen 4000 Renoir temperature and EDAC support.

- Nested AMD live migration with KVM is now supported.

- Loongson 3 CPU support for KVM virtualization.

- Spectre mitigation fixes also being back-ported now to the stable series.

- Boost support for the CPPC CPUFreq driver.

- PCIe NTB support for Ice Lake Xeon servers.

- RISC-V Kendryte K210 SoC support has been wrapped up.

- New Arm SoC and platform support.

- Initial support for booting POWER10 processors.

- AMD Zen/Zen2 RAPL support for run-time average power limiting.

- Intel TPAUSE power-optimized delays support for Tremont cores and newer.

- Tightened Arm 64-bit security with now supporting Branch Target Identification (BTI) and the Shadow Call Stack.

- XSAVES supervisor states support, Memory Bandwidth Monitoring Counters, and other x86 (x86_64) updates.

Storage / File-Systems:

- A block device back-end for Pstore in saving oops/panic messages to disk.

- ERASE/Discard/TRIM support for all MMC hosts rather than being opt-in previously.

- F2FS LZO-RLE compression support is added for this flash optimized file-system.

- Microsoft exFAT driver improvements courtesy of Samsung.

- Support for emulating MLC NAND flash memory as SLC.

- A performance optimization for Xen 9pfs.

- SMB3 performance work for large I/O.

- Fixes for EXT4.

- Improved DAX support for direct access on persistent memory storage.

- Various Btrfs improvements.

Other Hardware:

- Habana Labs Gaudi support for this AI inference accelerator.

- Intel Tiger Lake Thunderbolt support as well as ComboPHY support for Intel's Gateway SoCs.

- Support for Thunderbolt on non-x86 systems.

- The possibility of significant power-savings for motherboards with PCIe to PCI/PCI-X bridges.

- Peer-to-peer DMA for AMD Raven and Renoir.

- AMD Renoir ACP audio support.

- Cable Testing Infrastructure in the Linux network code albeit initially limited to select hardware/drivers.

- Restoring the Intel Atom (AtomISP) camera driver.

- Support for swapping Fn and Ctrl keys on Apple keyboards.

- Numerous power management updates.

- AMD SPI controller driver was merged.

General Improvements:

- Jitter RNG improvements and landing of the Arm CryptoCell CCTRNG driver. AMD PSP SEV-ES support is also part of the crypto updates.

- The Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer has been merged with KCSAN helping to detect race conditions in the kernel and has already been used for uncovering dozens of real bugs.

- Staging and IIO updates.

- Scheduler optimizations.

- A general notification queue initially wired up for notifying on key/keyring changes.

- SELinux optimizations.

- Modernization improvements for Procfs with now supporting private procfs instances.

- A new initrdmem= option that among other use-cases can be used when replacing Intel ME space with an initrd image in the saved flash area.

- L1d cache flushing on a per-context basis as an opt-in feature was originally merged. However, Linus Torvalds ultimately reverted it for now as in the current implementation is "beyond stupid".

Stay tuned for Linux 5.8 kernel benchmarks beginning on Phoronix soon.

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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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