Seven Changes We've Been Waiting On That You Will Not Find In Linux 5.7
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 16 April 2020 at 07:00 AM EDT. 24 Comments
LINUX KERNEL --
There are many new and exciting features of Linux 5.7 but also some material that didn't make the cut this window that we are now hoping will see mainline status for Linux 5.8 or another kernel this year.

FGKASLR - Intel has been working on Finer-Grained Kernel Address Space Randomization for making relative addresses within the kernel less predictable by employing function reordering on top of KASLR. FGKASLR can further increase the Linux kernel security but we haven't seen any major strides on it for mainlining since the initial patch series came out in February.

FSGSBASE For Better Performance - FSGSBASE has been around since Ivy Bridge and also found on modern AMD CPUs yet is not wired up for Linux yet. FSGSBASE can help increase performance especially in areas hurt by Spectre/Meltdown. Discussions over Intel FSGSBASE for Linux were recently restarted so hopefully the code can get in order for Linux 5.8.

AMD Sensor Fusion Hub Driver - The Sensor Fusion Hub driver for Linux was posted at the beginning of this year for this hardware that has been appearing in AMD Ryzen laptops since 2018. The AMD SFH driver is needed for the accelerometer / gyroscopic sensors and other capabilities on modern AMD laptops. While the driver has gone through a few rounds of review, open items remain in cleaning up the code... So sadly it didn't make it for Linux 5.7 even as AMD Ryzen 4000 "Renoir" laptops begin hitting the market.

AMD CPPC - Along similar lines, the AMD CPPC CPUFreq driver for Zen 2 processors appears stalled for the time being. That is while Intel has been making recent improvements to their P-State driver and beginning to transition to the "Schedutil" governor on Linux 5.7+. Hopefully this work gets picked back up soon.

Nouveau Re-Clocking - Big improvements to the open-source NVIDIA Linux driver are still a pipe dream for now... Using any GeForce GTX 900 "Maxwell" or newer GPU is still bound to its limited boot clock frequency that leads to horrid performance. As such, the GeForce GTX 700 series remains best off for Nouveau at the moment but even there you still need to be manually re-clocking your graphics card, etc. Unlike the other changes on the list, there are no public patches pending for dramatically improving this experience but waiting on the interactions of NVIDIA Corp.

DAMON - Back in January an Amazon engineer proposed DAMON for monitoring data accesses. DAMON can be used for behavior analysis, debugging, and analyzing over-committed memory use on systems. There still are discussions about DAMON happening on the mailing list, but it has yet to be merged.

Bcachefs - With ZFS not able to be mainlined without relicensing by Oracle and Reiser4/Reiser5 not seeing much momentum, many have been eager to see how Bcachefs will turn out as the file-system born out of the block cache code. Bcachefs is still churning away, but not yet ready for mainline.

What else do you want to see out of the mainline kernel? There are also other items like in-kernel IPC akin to BUS1 or KDBUS that appears to have been abandoned, among other wish list items for the kernel. But overall Linux 5.7 is looking like a good release overall and should debut as stable in June.
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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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