LINUS TORVALDS has confirmed the release of Linux Kernel 4.4 right on schedule.
The release has gone ahead as planned, despite some problems in mid-December. Linux kernel releases are based around a schedule rather than any specific features, but that hasn't stopped a number of big additions to the code base provided by the community.
Perhaps the biggest news is improved support for cutting-edge chipsets including Intel's Skylake, ARM's 64-bit processors and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820.
In graphics, there's support for AMD Stoney, and GPU additions for AMD's Carrizo, Tonga and Fiji processors.
Raspberry Pi users can benefit from the beginnings of a KMS driver courtesy of Broadcom. This version is for kernel mode-setting only, so as yet there's no support for 3D hardware acceleration or power management.
Other 3D support is available in the new version which will be used to provide OpenGL acceleration support for guest virtual machines using VirtIO, joining VMWare and Virtualbox as options.
As ever, the community is quite often hampered by lack of source information from the chip manufacturers, and as Michael Larabel notes on Phoronix, this is hindering work on support for several Nvidia chips.
Torvalds, never backward in coming forward, managed to take a little dig at one of Linux's distant cousins.
"The changes since RC8 aren't big. There's about one third arch updates, one third drivers and one-third 'misc' (mainly some core kernel and networking), but it's all small," he said.
"Notable might be unbreaking the x86-32 'sysenter' ABI, when somebody [*cough* android-x86 *cough*] misused it by not using the VDSO and instead using the instruction directly."
Other noteworthy additions include updates for ARM SoCs, and improvements to ARM UEFI 2.5.
Network additions include support for the latest Realtek driver and for persistent maps and programs with eBPF.
Other products getting support include Intel Lewisburg sound, putting work ahead of schedule for release of Intel's Purley platform later in the year. There's better support for Skylake Windows 8 touchpads, the Corsair Vengeance K90 keyboard drive and the Logitech G29 racing wheel.
Google Fibre TV's remote control gets a boost, Toshiba Laptops should play nicer and there's better compatibility for the Chrome Pixel 2016.
We could go on and on (there are over 2,400 bits of rather techie changes) but instead we reckon you're better off getting stuck in and finding them for yourself. After all, that's what Linux is about.
Time waits for no contributor. The window for Linux 4.5 is now open. µ
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