Looking Ahead To The Linux 4.18 Kernel
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 21 May 2018 at 11:39 AM EDT. 5 Comments
There still are several weeks to go until the Linux 4.17 kernel will be officially released and for that to initiate the Linux 4.18 merge window, but we already know some of the features coming to this next kernel cycle as well as an idea for some other work that may potentially land.

Here's a look at some of what you can get excited about for Linux 4.18:

- The Steam Controller driver is landing.

- Open-source NVIDIA Volta GPU support. But at this stage it's basically only good enough for display support on GV100 hardware and not much else yet.

- The V3D DRM driver is being merged for what formerly was known as VC5. This is the Direct Rendering Manager driver for the VideoCore V hardware as well as already a VideoCore VI GPU too. Hopefully the next-generation Raspberry Pi hardware will feature this GPU that is now capable of OpenCL and Vulkan.

- Synchronization object support (synobj) support for the VC4 DRM driver that's used by current Raspberry Pi hardware.

- Vega M GPU support within the AMDGPU DRM driver for the Intel Kabylake G hardware.

- Vega 20 GPU support is also being added for the yet-to-be-released product with not a solid of information on it yet besides being a 7nm GPU with at least an initial product focused on deep learning.

- GFXOFF support for Raven Ridge is already queued to completely shutoff the graphics engine when not needed.

- Various Vega 10 updates.

- AMDKFD has Vega support for allowing the mainline kernel to work with the Vega discrete GPUs on the ROCm/OpenCL compute stack.

- Intel Icelake support improvements for the "Gen 11" graphics as well as GEM memory management enhancements too on the Intel DRM driver side.

- A scheduler optimization for vCPUs.

- Initial work on USB 3.2 support.

And then a look at the unsettled material at this stage:

- P-State powersave improvements to boost I/O performance particularly for Xeon servers.

- There's work towards mainlining Bcachefs but it's not yet clear if this new file-system will be merged in time for Linux 4.18. But if it's going the staging route, still could land for 4.18 pending review.

- Also in the file-system space is supporting unprivileged FUSE mounts.

- Potentially but may still be too early is the new Linux kernel port to the new nanoMIPS architecture.

- Another possibility is the dropping of MPX support with GCC working to eliminate the code too.

Stay tuned for more details on Linux 4.18 as the actual cycle kicks off followed by our usual Linux benchmarking.
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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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