The Most Interesting Highlights To The Linux 5.0 Kernel
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 22 February 2019 at 03:39 AM EST. 12 Comments
LINUX KERNEL --
With the Linux 5.0 kernel due out within the next week or two, here's a look back at the biggest end-user facing changes for this kernel release that started out as Linux 4.21.

From our perspective, the most interesting work in Linux 5.0 includes:

- AMD FreeSync/VRR support! Without a doubt, this has been one of the most sought after features by Radeon Linux users for quite a while. Finally with Linux 5.0 the kernel bits are in place for handling FreeSync, assuming you also have a new user-space with Mesa 19.0 and updated xf86-video-amdgpu for piecing everything together.

- Initial support for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2000 "Turing" graphics cards by the open-source Nouveau driver. This though is just kernel mode-setting and not any accelerated graphics, re-clocking / power management, or other necessary features to actually make this open-source driver viable compared to the NVIDIA proprietary driver. But it's a start and at least those with Turing hardware no longer have an awful, low-resolution experience until they are able to get around to installing the NVIDIA proprietary driver. Hopefully the Turing (and Maxwell/Pascal) open-source driver support will see some miracle improvements not too far out.

- Early support work around next-generation AMD Ryzen/EPYC processors... This kernel has Zen 2 temperature monitoring support, AMD Platform QoS support (similar to Intel RDT) for EPYC, AMD Always-On STIBP Preferred Mode, AMD microcode handling improvements, and some new PCI IDs added.

- Adiantum was added to Fscrypt as Google's replacement for their previously planned Speck usage. Adiantum offers very fast data encryption capabilities for low-end hardware with processors lacking native crypto extensions. Adiantum will be used for Android Go devices to offer storage encryption in an efficient manner on low-end ARM hardware but Adiantum can also be used elsewhere with EXT4/F2FS fscrypt capabilities.

- The Btrfs file-system has restored support for swap files after lacking the capability for years.

- Logitech high resolution scrolling support makes for more precise scroll wheel events on many Logitech and Microsoft mice. Though this work also requires libinput updates in user-space for making use of it.

- The Raspberry Pi touch-screen driver was finally mainlined.

- A new console font for HiDPI and retina displays.

A more extensive list of the Linux 5.0 kernel changes are outlined in our complete Linux 5.0 kernel overview. Linux 5.0 is looking really good on at least the feature front. The performance front for Linux 5.0 is largely in good shape but I am currently exploring some performance issues with 5.0 Git.
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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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