The Linux Kernel Highlights Of The 2010s From Torvalds' Sabbatical To Dealing With Vulnerabilities
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 31 December 2019 at 01:09 AM EST. 8 Comments
LINUX KERNEL --
Going along with our other end of year and decade recaps, here is a look back at the Linux kernel highlights for the 2010s.

The Linux kernel during the 2010s saw a lot of new features and expanded hardware support, fallout from many security vulnerabilities and having to provide various CPU mitigations as well, Microsoft beginning to contribute to the Linux kernel largely in the context of Hyper-V, various performance improvements, debates over the state of 32-bit's future, and much more.

Here is a look at the most viewed Linux kernel stories of the 2010s:

AMD's Ryzen Will Really Like A Newer Linux Kernel
AMD's Ryzen CPU is finally shipping in a few days! If you are planning to be an early adopter of AMD Ryzen processors, you will really want to be running a newer Linux kernel release for proper support and performance.

The Linux Kernel Is Now VLA-Free: A Win For Security, Less Overhead & Better For Clang
With the in-development Linux 4.20 kernel, it is now effectively VLA-free... The variable-length arrays (VLAs) that can be convenient and part of the C99 standard but can have unintended consequences.

Linux Gaming Performance Doesn't Appear Affected By The x86 PTI Work
With the recently published Initial Benchmarks Of The Performance Impact Resulting From Linux's x86 Security Changes, one of the common questions that came up is whether gaming performance is adversely affected by the x86 Page Table Isolation changes recently merged to the Linux kernel.

Say Hello To Linux 3.0; Linus Just Tagged 3.0-rc1
For anyone that was doubting Linus Torvalds would finally part ways with the Linux 2.6 kernel series, you lost your bets. On the eve of Memorial Day in the United States and his departure to Japan for LinuxCon, Linus Torvalds just tagged Linux 3.0-rc1 in Git.

Google Is Uncovering Hundreds Of Race Conditions Within The Linux Kernel
One of the contributions Google is working on for the upstream Linux kernel is a new "sanitizer". Over the years Google has worked on AddressSanitizer for finding memory corruption bugs, UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer for undefined behavior within code, and other sanitizers. The Linux kernel has been exposed to this as well as other open-source projects while their newest sanitizer is KCSAN and focused as a Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer.

Linux 5.2 Is Introducing The Fieldbus Subsystem
A new subsystem queued for introduction in the upcoming Linux 5.2 cycle is the Fieldbus Subsystem, which is initially being added to the staging area of the kernel.

13 Reasons Linux 3.13 Is Going To Be Very Exciting
While the merge window for the Linux 3.13 kernel isn't even over yet, this next major kernel update is already looking to be rather exciting with a number of new features.

Allwinner Continues Work On Linux Patches To Dump Kernel Errors To Block Devices
While Allwinner Technology isn't known as one of the most gracious contributors to the Linux kernel, their continued work on the "pstore_block" kernel patches will be of interest to many especially in the ARM/embedded space and just not for those using Allwinner SoCs.

Linus Torvalds Shows His New Polite Side While Pointing Out Bad Kernel Code
When Linus Torvalds announced last month that he would be taking a temporary leave of absence to work on his empathy and interpersonal skills as well as the adoption of a Linux kernel Code of Conduct, some Internet commenters thought this would lead Linus to being less strict about code quality and his standards for accepting new code to the mainline tree. Fortunately, he's shown already for the new Linux 4.20~5.0 cycle he isn't relaxing his standards but is communicating better when it comes to bringing up coding issues.

Building The Linux Kernel In 60 Seconds
In less than one minute, it's now possible to build the Linux kernel from source on a desktop.

Linux Kernel Developers Fed Up With Ridiculous Bugs In Systemd
A patch was sent out today to the Linux kernel mailing list that would hide the "debug" string from showing up within the /proc/cmdline output. Why? To workaround a systemd bug. This has set off Linus Torvalds on another epic tirade.

AMD Releases New "AMDGPU" Linux Kernel Driver & Mesa Support
At long last the source code to the new AMDGPU driver has been released! This is the new driver needed to support the Radeon R9 285 graphics card along with future GPUs/APUs like Carrizo. Compared to the existing Radeon DRM driver, the new AMDGPU code is needed for AMD's new unified Linux driver strategy whereby the new Catalyst driver will be isolated to being a user-space binary blob with both the full open-source driver and the Catalyst driver using this common AMDGPU kernel driver.

Linux 4.0-RC1 Tagged, Linux 4.0 Will Bring Many Notable Improvements
Linus Torvalds has decided to go ahead and rename the Linux 3.20 kernel to Linux 4.0 per his polling last week. Torvalds released Linux 4.0-rc1 on Sunday night and this release comes with many significant updates.

Linux's "Ondemand" Governor Is No Longer Fit
By default the Linux kernel uses the "ondemand" CPU frequency governor for achieving maximum clock frequency when system load is high and a lower clock frequency when the system is idle. However, it turns out that for at least modern Intel CPUs, this is likely no longer the case. This default kernel choice may lead to poor battery life and performance for modern Linux systems.

The VirtualBox Kernel Driver Is Tainted Crap
Linux kernel developers have marked Oracle's VirtualBox Linux kernel driver as "tainted crap" due to the overwhelming number of problems this module has caused.

Linus Talks Of Linux 2.8 Or Linux 3.0; Ending Linux 2.6
In a message to the Linux Kernel Mailing List today regarding the shortened merge window for the Linux 2.6.40 kernel, Linus Torvalds brings up that there's already been many Linux 2.6 kernel releases and that he could end up tagging this as the Linux 2.8.0 kernel.

Linux Will End Up Disabling x86 PTI For AMD Processors - Update: Now Disabled
While at the moment with the mainline Linux kernel Git tree AMD CPUs enable x86 PTI and are treated as "insecure" CPUs, the AMD patch for not setting X86_BUG_CPU_INSECURE will end up being honored.

EXT4 Data Corruption Bug Hits Stable Linux Kernels
As a warning for those who are normally quick to upgrade to the latest stable vanilla kernel releases, a serious EXT4 data corruption bug worked its way into the stable Linux 3.4, 3.5, and 3.6 kernel series.

Gigabyte's ASPM Motherboard Fix: Use Windows
If you have an affected motherboard to the ASPM power regression in the Linux kernel and it's from Gigabyte, don't expect a BIOS update from them to correct the ASPM semantics in the BIOS. Gigabyte recommends you just use Microsoft Windows.

The Controversial Speck Encryption Code Will Indeed Be Dropped From The Linux Kernel
While Google got the NSA-developed Speck into the Linux kernel on the basis of wanting to use Speck for file-system encryption on very low-end Android (Go) devices, last month they decided to abandon those plans and instead work out a new "HPolyC" algorithm for use on these bottom-tier devices due to all the concerns over Speck potentially being back-doored by the US National Security Agency.

Nasty Lockup Issue Still Being Investigated For Linux 3.18
When Linux 3.18-rc6 was released last Sunday, Linus Torvalds noted in the release announcement that a "a big unknown worry in a regression" remained. Nearly one week later, kernel developers are still figuring out what's going on with this regression that can cause frequent lockups. Worse off, it looks like it might affect the Linux 3.17 kernel too.

The Linux 3.13 Kernel Has Many Improvements
With development dragging on for the Linux 3.13 kernel until the middle of January, here's a recap of some of the most important changes that landed into Linux 3.13 that either provided new features, performance improvements, or are worth noting for one reason or another. There's also a rundown of all the Linux kernel benchmarks we've done on this new kernel to date.

The New & Best Features Of The Linux 3.11 Kernel
Nearing the end of the Linux 3.11 kernel with most (if not all) of the interesting pull requests merged, here's a look at the exciting features that will premiere in this next Linux kernel release.

The Big Features Of The Linux 4.0 Kernel
Linux 4.0 should be officially released within the next few weeks. In anticipation of its April debut, here's a look at some of the big features for this next version of the Linux kernel.

Linux's vmalloc Seeing "Large Performance Benefits" With 5.2 Kernel Changes
On top of all the changes queued for Linux 5.2 is an interesting last-minute performance improvement for the vmalloc code.

An Overview Of The Linux 3.14 Kernel Features
With yesterday's release of the Linux 3.14-rc1, here's a look at the top features that were merged for introduction in the Linux 3.14 kernel.

The Many Features Of The Linux 4.1 Kernel
The Linux 4.1 kernel merge window has been open now for two weeks and will most likely be closed by Linus Torvalds this evening. For those curious about the Linux 4.1 features, here's a look at the newest additions to the mainline Linux kernel!

The 3.8 Kernel Is An Amazing Gift To Linux Users
While we are just a few days into the Linux 3.8 kernel merge window and there's still a number of pull requests that have yet to appear for this next kernel development cycle with new features, there's already a ton of exciting work. If you missed the horde of Phoronix articles in the past few days covering the prominent features, here's a recap showing why this Linux kernel being developed over the holidays is a great gift for its users.

Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping x32 Support
It was just several years ago that the open-source ecosystem began supporting the x32 ABI, but already kernel developers are talking of potentially deprecating the support and for it to be ultimately removed.

Linux 3.10 Kernel Yields Biggest Changes In Years
The Linux 3.10 kernel is going to be massive with the just-released "-rc1" version being the biggest in the last several years (or perhaps ever), according to Linus Torvalds. This massive change-rate is based at least according to commit count and potentially actual lines too.
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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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