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Kernel: Subsystems, Nouveau, Linux 5.11 and Linux 5.12

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  • Finding real-world kernel subsystems

    The kernel development community talks often about subsystems and subsystem maintainers, but it is less than entirely clear about what a "subsystem" is in the first place. People wanting to understand how kernel development works could benefit from a clearer idea of what actually comprises a subsystem within the kernel. In an attempt to better understand how kernel development works, Pia Eichinger (and her colleagues Ralf Ramsauer, Stefanie Scherzinger, and Wolfgang Maurer) spent a lot of time looking for the actual boundaries; Eichinger presented that work at the 2021 online gathering.

    This work was undertaken to develop a more formalized model of how kernel development works. With such an understanding, it is hoped, ways can be found to make the process work better and to provide new tools. The researchers have a particular interest in safety-critical deployments of Linux. Safety-critical environments are highly sensitive; working software can make a life-or-death difference there. So safety-critical developers have to ensure software quality by any means available.


    At this point, she has some sort of definition of subsystems, twelve of which were identified at the top level. Those twelve were the Arm architecture, drivers, crypto, USB, DRM, networking, media, documentation, sound, SCSI, more Arm stuff (OMAP architecture code, for example), and Infiniband. Along with that, she has a tool that can automate this sort of subsystem detection. It is, she said, "just scratching the surface" of the problem, but it is a start.

    There are a number of ways this work could go in the future. One would be to examine historical kernel releases to build a history of how kernel subsystems have evolved over time. This model can also be used, of course, for the original purpose of determining how well the actual kernel patch flow conforms to the maintainer model. There may be scope for applying this technique to other projects as well.


  • Nouveau With Linux 5.12 Has ~5k L.O.C. Change In Preparing For Ampere - Phoronix

    With Linux 5.11 there is open-source Nouveau KMS support for Ampere GPUs -- just kernel mode-setting without any form of 3D acceleration. The actual hardware acceleration requires more work and also NVIDIA to release the necessary signed firmware binaries. With Linux 5.12 there still is no 3D acceleration but a big set of patches was merged as a step in that direction. 

    Nouveau still needs the signed firmware binaries for the GA100 / RTX30 Ampere acceleration but the patches queued into DRM-Next overnight are preparations for Ampere. In fact, it's nearly five thousand lines of code changed across a number of commits and is just restructuring the open-source driver code to be able to cope with all the new engine types and instances with Ampere. 


  • The 11 Most Interesting Features For Linux 5.11 - Lots For AMD + Intel This Cycle - Phoronix

    Linux 5.11 stable is expected to be released on Sunday barring any second thoughts by Linus Torvalds that could lead to an eighth weekly release candidate that would in turn push the official release back by one week. In any case, Linux 5.11 will be formally out soon and it's an exciting one on the feature front. 

    Linux 5.11 has many features / new hardware enablement from both AMD and Intel, new features like S.U.D. for helping out with Linux gaming, networking enhancements, and more. Below is a look at the eleven most interesting changes to find with the imminent Linux 5.11 release. 


  • Sony PlayStation 5 DualSense Controller Driver Coming To Linux 5.12 - Phoronix

    For as rough of a year as 2020 was, one of the many open-source accomplishments was Sony taking up "official" maintenance of their HID driver and ahead of Christmas to much surprise they published an official PlayStation 5 DualSense open-source controller driver for Linux. That PS5 controller driver is now set to be introduced with the imminent Linux 5.12 merge window. 

    That PlayStation 5 DualSense controller driver was initially published back in December, just days ahead of Christmas and fully open-source. The driver supports the PS5 controllers via USB and Bluetooth and supports nearly all of the functionality including extras like LEDs, motion sensors, battery reporting, light-bar control, rumble, etc. 

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