Linux 5.16 comes with several improvements for games, SMB and BTRFS

Linux 5.16

Well, we already have it here. After a development “decelerated” by the dates that we have just passed, and not only that, but on top of that the strongest days fell on Saturday, Linus Torvalds has just released the stable version of Linux 5.16. This is what happens to the latest LTS version and will be supported until some time after Linux 5.17 is released, which will begin development in two weeks.

Among the most outstanding novelties (via Phoronix) we can mention that Linux 5.16 has added the futex_waitv syscall from FUTEX2, which will improve the experience of playing Windows titles on Linux. On the other hand, support for two types of hardware that developers are taking great care of, the Apple Silicon M1 and the simple Raspberry Pi board, has continued to improve.

Linux 5.16 highlights

  • Graphics:
    • DisplayPort 2.0 for AMDGPU driver before next-gen GPUs with DP 2.0 support.
    • The AMDGPU USB4 display tunnel for Rembrandt / Yellow Carp is being prepared by adding USB4.
    • The new GPUs from AMD use their new code path for device enumeration.
    • Support for VirtIO context types to support more use cases with the VirtIO virtual graphics driver.
    • Intel’s Protected Xe Path is now supported for Gen12 graphics.
    • The Alder Lake S graphics are now considered stable and the Intel DG1 PCI IDs are finally present as well, as the DG1 is pretty much settled.
  • Processors:
    • Support for Intel AMX with the kernel.
    • AMD EPYC CPUs can now enjoy SEV / SEV-ES live migration within the host with KVM.
    • Audio support for Yellow Carp and VanGogh APU audio coprocessor work.
    • The default RISC-V kernel build now supports the open source NVIDIA driver.
    • Intel Raptor Lake model identification patch.
    • RISC-V KVM hypervisor support for future RISC-V processors that support that hypervisor extension.
    • Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 support in the main kernel.
    • Elimination of MIPS Netlogic SoCs.
    • Support for Snapdragon 690 and other new ARM hardware like the Rockchip RK3566 and RK3688.
    • Cluster-aware scheduling support to improve scheduling decisions for processors where cores are clustered with shared resources such as L2 cache. This is for ARM and x86 although at the moment it is leading to regressions for Intel Alder Lake.
  • Games on Linux:
    • The FUTEX2 syscall futex_waitv has come as a great improvement to make Windows games running on Linux better fit the functionality of the Windows kernel. To take advantage of this, Proton and WINE will need to be updated.
    • The Nintendo Switch controller for the Switch Pro and Joy-Cons controllers has been improved.
    • Better support for Sony PlayStation 5 controller.
    • Better support for HP Omen laptops.
    • Steam Deck display panel orientation improvements.
  • Storage and file systems:
    • Block subsystem optimizations, including much of Jens Axboe’s work on optimizing the per-core IOPS potential of the Linux kernel.
    • More performance improvements for Btrfs.
    • F2FS adds an option to intentionally fragment the filesystem for the benefit of the developer.
    • Faster Ceph with asynchronous dirops enabled by default.
    • AFS, 9p, and Netfslib now make use of folios.
    • LZMA / MicroLZMA compression for EROFS.
    • Memory footprint reduction job for XFS.
  • Networking:
    • Microsoft SMB3 / CIFS enhancements including fixes and some performance work.
    • Realtek RT89 WiFi Controller to support the new 802.11ax wireless adapters.
  • Other hardware:
    • Working sensors support for many more ASUS and ASRock motherboards.
    • Support for Apple Magic Keyboard 2021.
    • Habana Labs AI controller now supports peer-to-peer sharing via DMA-BUF.
    • Work has been done on ACPI to allow a controller to test hardware while it is off or in a low power state.
    • More CXL subsystem enablement work.
    • Hardware support enhancements for System76 notebooks.
    • New driver to deal with CE driven backlights.
    • Better AMD S0ix support.
    • USB work as part of Apple Silicon update.
    • Apple M1 PCIe Controller.
    • AMD Yellow Carp Runtime Power Management for XHCI Controllers.
    • Many improvements in energy management.
    • Better USB low latency audio support and other sound enhancements.
  • Security:
    • SELinux / LSM / Smack controls and auditing for IO_uring.
    • Improved the Retpoline code to deal with the rewriting of the return springboard code. The x86 BPF code now also better aligns with expectations around Retpolines.
    • Preparation work to support FGKASLR in the future as randomization of the fine-grained / granular core address space arrangement.
    • Support for KVM guests to have control over the AMD PSF check bit to make that security related change if desired.
    • Microsoft began delivering Hyper-V isolation VM support.
    • Specter SSBD / STIBP defaults for SECCOMP threads have been relaxed.
  • Others:
    • Memory folios have come as a core enhancement to Linux’s memory management code.
    • DAMON-based memory reclamation has arrived to help Linux in low memory situations.
    • The updated implementation of Zstd for the kernel is now available.
    • Xen can handle faster startup of PV guests.
    • Work has started to clean up the code a lot.

Now available at The Kernel Archive

Linux 5.16 has already been announced and is it availabe in The Kernel Archives. Ubuntu users who want to install it will have to do it on their own. Jammy Jellyfish will be an LTS version, so it should arrive with Linux 5.15. In any case, Linux 5.16 is never officially coming to Ubuntu.

The content of the article adheres to our principles of editorial ethics. To report an error click here.

Add Comment