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IDG Contributor Network: What's new in Linux 4.4

What’s new in Linux 4.4

Linus Torvalds has been a busy bee, working steadily on Linux 4.4. And now it has been released for Linux users to savor and enjoy. But what’s new in Linux 4.4 and why should you care about it?

SJVN reports on Linux 4.4 for ZDNet:

With 4.4, Linux now offers much improved support for Intel’s new Skylake processor family. Intel claims that Skylake has double the performance and triple the battery life of that five-year old laptop still in your bag because it’s “good enough.” Without deep operating system support, such as Linux now offers, that improved functionality is largely hidden.

The Linux kernel 4.4 also offers better support for ARM’s 64-bit processors and Qualcomm’s high-bandwidth capable Snapdragon 820. The popular makers’ Raspberry Pi system also has better graphics support thanks to a beta Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) driver.

People who run Linux in a virtual machine (VM) will be pleased that the new virtio-gpu driver enables virtualization guests to use the host graphics card efficiently. “In this release, it allows the virtualization guest to use the capabilities of the host GPU to accelerate 3D rendering. In practice, this means that a virtualized Linux guest can run a game while using the host’s GPU acceleration. This makes running games on Linux VMs much faster. To use this, you’ll need a VM that uses Linux’s native VM hypervisor, KVM, and QEMU 2.5.”

More at ZDNet

And you can find an even more detailed list of Linux 4.4 features and changes on the Kernel Newbies site:

This release adds support for 3D support in virtual GPU driver, which allows 3D hardware-accelerated graphics in virtualization guests; loop device support for Direct I/O and Asynchronous I/O, which saves memory and increases performance; support for Open-channel SSDs, which are devices that share the responsibility of the Flash Translation Layer with the operating system; the TCP listener handling is completely lockless and allows for faster and more scalable TCP servers; journalled RAID5 in the MD layer which fixes the RAID write hole; eBPF programs can now be run by unprivileged users, they can be made persistent, and perf has added support for eBPF programs aswell; a new mlock2() syscall that allows users to request memory to be locked on page fault; and block polling support for improved performance in high-end storage devices. There are also new drivers and many other small improvements.

More at Kernel Newbies

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