Linux 6.0 supporting new Intel / AMD hardware, performance enhancements and much more

Linux 6.0-rc1 was released yesterday and therefore the merge window is now complete and there is no more work on the features to be included in this kernel version. Here is my rundown of all the interesting new features and changes / improvements coming in Linux 6.0.

This kernel was originally supposed to be Linux 5.20, until Linus Torvalds decided to rename it to Linux 6.0. Normally after an x.19 or x.20 release, Linus Torvalds decides to bump up the major version number – this time after the 19th minor release. Linux 6.0 looks very good in the performance department with Intel Xeon Ice Lake, AMD Ryzen Threadripper and AMD EPYC looking very good with a nice increase in real workloads … It’s just from what I tested so far prior to the RC1 release. Stay tuned for more Intel / AMD testing in Linux 6.0.

In addition to greater performance, Linux 6.0 supports new hardware, especially on the Intel / AMD side. Intel has more work for Sapphire Rapids, Raptor Lake, and Meteor Lake. AMD is continuing its preparations for Zen 4 and on the graphics side is preparing a kernel graphics driver for RDNA3. Other new hardware support is also available, such as Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen3 support, Intel Habana Labs Gaudi2 AI accelerator support, repair of broken keyboard problems on Ryzen 6000 series laptops, new audio driver for AMD Raphael platforms, AMD Jadeite audio support, virtualization Intel IPI, AMD x2AVIC, Intel SGX2, run-time verification for safety-critical systems, IO_uring improvements, increased sensor coverage on AMD motherboards and much more.

The release of the stable Linux 6.0 kernel should be released in late September / early October.

While there are many great changes to Linux 6.0, it wasn’t real-time work “PREEMPT_RT” still working to the finish line, the Rust programming language infrastructure didn’t land, MGLRU won’t come until Linux 6.1, OpenChrome VIA DRM / KMS driver has not been picked up, and more work with Intel DG2 / Alchemist is not yet stable.

Processors:

– Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen3 support as well as very early support for Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Arm laptop.

– Improved KPTI code mitigating Meltdown for ARM64.

– Support for 64-bit THP SWAP arm.

– Several big schedule changes including improved NUMA balancing for AMD Zen. The Linux 6.0 performance improvement looks very nice from my testing so far on large systems.

– The AMD Retbleed IBPB mitigation path also requires STIBP and this security patch is part of Linux 6.0-rc1 but will also be migrated to the existing stable kernel series.

– The new RISC-V extensions are connected to the main kernel such as Zicbom, Zihintpause and Sstc. RISC-V also has a more useful default kernel configuration, allowing programs such as Docker and Snap to run on defconfig builds.

– LoongArch enables PCI support and other enhancements to this Loongson CPU architecture outside of China.

– Raptor Lake support in Intel TCC cooling controller.

– EFI mirroring and ACPI PRM memory for 64-bit ARM.

– AMD Automatic Mode Transition (AMT) for Lenovo ThinkPad laptops.

– PowerVM Platform KeyStore and other IBM POWER CPU updates.

– C1 and C1E support for Xeon Sapphire Rapids has been fixed.

– Intel Raptor Lake P support in RAPL driver.

– AMD preparations for going idle for upcoming AMD hardware.

– Audio driver support for AMD Raphael and Jadeite platforms.

– Intel Meteor Lake audio driver support.

– Linux 6.0 removed support for the old NEC VR4100 MIPS processors found in IBM WorkPad Z50 and other hardware from the 90s.

– PCI support for the OpenRISC architecture.

– Perf tool support for AMD Zen 4 Instruction Based Sampling (IBS).

– Intel IPI and AMD x2AVIC virtualization are available for KVM.

– Support for Intel SGX2 has finally been enabled.

– AMD temperature monitoring for upcoming AMD processors.

– AMD using MWAIT over HALT is now preferred.

Graphics:

– Continuation of preparatory work for Intel DG2 / Alchemist and ATS-M. There are also more PCI IDs now, although owners of early Intel Arc desktop GPUs will still need to use the i915.force_probe option to still enable DG2 hardware support.

– Early work on Intel Ponte Vecchio.

– Start of work on Meteor Lake graphics support, although more fixes for Linux 6.1 are coming.

– More work to support AMD RDNA3 graphics cards and other new IP blocks.

– P2P DMA for AMDKFD driver along with other improvements to AMDGPU and AMDKFD kernel drivers.

– Support for Raspberry Pi V3D kernel driver for Raspberry Pi 4.

– Initial Arm Mali Valhall support in Panfrost driver.

– Atari FBDEV driver fixes.

– Faster console scrolling on old FBDEV drivers.

– Various other open source kernel graphics driver updates.

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