The Best Features Of The Linux 4.17 Kernel: Power Savings, AMDGPU DC, ACPI TAD
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 3 June 2018 at 08:55 AM EDT. 14 Comments
LINUX KERNEL --
If all goes well, the Linux 4.17 kernel will debut as stable today. Linus Torvalds last week indicated that this next kernel stable release could be coming for this weekend, but there has been a lot of changes merged in recent days, so we'll see if Linus is still leaning towards releasing today or instead opts for Linux 4.17-rc8. Whatever he ends up deciding, there are a lot of great changes with Linux 4.17.

Back in April I published our usual lengthy overview of the Linux 4.17 features following the closure of the merge window, but for those that need a reminder, here's a brief look at some of the biggest changes to find with this next kernel version:

- AMDGPU DC is enabled by default for the new display code stack with this main Radeon Linux kernel driver. This means that recent generations of AMD hardware finally have HDMI/DP audio by default as well as prep work for FreeSync, atomic mode-setting, HDMI 2.0, and other modern display features with this display stack that is shared with their proprietary Windows driver. Aside from Vega, DC had to be manually enabled on recent kernel releases if desired.

- Another huge milestone for Radeon users on Linux is AMDKFD support is now in good shape for pre-Vega discrete GPUs. This allows the ROCm/OpenCL compute stack to now run off a mainline kernel for recent dGPUs like Fiji, Tonga, and Polaris with no longer relying upon an out-of-tree DKMS kernel module. Also on the AMDGPU side is initial support for WattMan-like power efficiency features as well as support for the yet-to-be-released Vega 12 GPU.

- Intel Cannonlake graphics support is now in good shape and enabled by default for when these next-gen Intel CPUs begin appearing later this year. Meanwhile, the Intel Linux developers are already working on Icelake support that will succeed Cannonlake.

- Cleaning up a lot of code in the code-base is dropping support for eight obsolete CPU architectures as well as separately dropping POWER4/POWER4+ CPU support. New CPU work includes the Andes NDS32 architecture and initial enablement work around the NVIDIA Xavier SoC.

- A significant power-savings improvement for idle systems on some hardware. The improvements can be around ~10% on affected systems.

- Lost and found support for F2FS as well as performance enhancements for this Flash Friendly File-System.

- EXT4 is now protected against malicious container images that could be specially crafted to cause problems with this file-system.

- The ACPI TAD driver was introduced that allows supported systems to be woken up when desired, among other possible features.

- Phoenix RC flight controllers are now supported with a new driver.

Those wanting a complete overview of the Linux 4.17 user-facing changes can see our kernel feature overview.

As is always the case with Linux N+1 looking more exciting, Linux 4.18 is queuing up a lot of great work as well.
About The Author
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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 10,000 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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