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ParityPortal | October 23, 2014

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Linux 3.12 features

Linux 3.12 features
Ravi Mandalia

Linux 3.11 has now been released after an eventful set of rc releases [rc7, rc6, rc5]. We already have a lowdown of the exciting features of Linux 3.11 kernel here and today we bring to you the features you can expect in Linux 3.12 which may be released sometime in the beginning of November.

The Linux 3.12 merge window is now open, but we have already poked around the Linux Kernel mailing lists to find out the features one should expect in Linux 3.12.

First up it’s the zRAM. The module basically aims to increase the performance of the Kernel by not only avoiding paging to disk but also by optimizing the use of compressed block device in RAM. The module has moved out of staging and promoted to the main area of Linux Kernel. While sending out the patch Minchan Kim noted that zRAM is being used by multiple companies as well as new Android smartphones have started to use the module. CyanogenMod is also using zRAM and Google has enabled it for its Chrome OS.

AMD Berlin APU support will also be coming to Linux 3.12. Berlin is the first APU from AMD that is based on its Heterogeneous System Architecture whereas the graphics core of Berlin is based on AMD’s GCN architecture. RadeonSI Gallium3D driver will support Berlin from user-space. You can find the pull request here. Linux 3.12 will also be bringing in Active-State Power Management (ASPM) and Dynamic Power Management DPM for the AMD Radeon HD 8000 “CIK” series graphics processors.

Linux 3.12 will also have GPU run-time power management, which would enable powering down of secondary GPUs found in Optimus laptop configurations. Once released Linux 3.12 Kernel will allow for dynamic toggle of GPUs controlled by DRM drivers.

Linux 3.12 will also bring with it driver improvements for some Intel GMA-500 Poulsbo driver.

Support for Snapdragon DRM/KMS driver is also going to be added to Linux 3.12 kernel. Once merged the Snapdragon “MSM” driver will bring in support for Qualcomm ARM SoCs as well as Adreno A2xx/A3xx GPUs. The driver has been written by Rob Clark as a part of his Freedreno reverse-engineering project.

Linux 3.12 will also enable ‘eLLC cache’ in full to harness maximum graphics performance from Intel’s Haswell processors with Iris Pro 5200 “GT3e” graphics which sport 128MB of embedded DRAM.

The Linux 3.11 successor will also bring in a revised version of SimpleDRM. David Herrmann explains the one thousand line DRM driver as, “The SimpleDRM driver binds to simple-framebuffer devices and provides a DRM/KMS API. It provides only a single RTC+encoder+connector combination plus one initial mode. Userspace can create one dumb-buffer and attach it to the CRTC. Only if the buffer is destroyed, a new buffer can be created. The buffer is directly mapped into user-space, so we have only resources for a single buffer. Otherwise, shadow buffers plus damage-request would be needed.”