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Linux Kernel 4.12 Released with BFQ, USB Type-C Manager, Much More

party popper gif

Time to celebrate by b0rking your installs!

Linux Kernel 4.12 is officially out!

Announcing the release over on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML)  Linus Torvalds says: “Things were quite calm this week, so I really didn’t have any real
reason to delay the 4.12 release.”

“As mentioned over the various rc announcements, 4.12 is one of the
bigger releases historically.”

He advises the mailing list recipients to “go out and use it.”

With the 4.12 release out of the way development now starts on Linux 4.13, which, based on past release, may tentatively appear in September.

But all eyes will be on the subsequent release, Linux kernel 4.14, which is due towards the end of the year as this will be an LTS release.

What’s New in Linux 4.12

Among some of the many (many) new features, tweaks, changes and improvements in Linux 4.12:

  • Improvements to the F2FS (flash-friendly file system)
  • Initial support for GeForce GTX 1000 w/ Nouveau
  • Initial Radeon RX Vega support
  • Support for Intel RealSense SR300 camera, Razer Sabertooth & Mad Catz Brawlstick
  • USB Type-C port manager
  • Improved keyboard backlight support in Dell laptop driver
  • Support for the Intel volume button (intel-vbtn) driver
  • New ThinkPad T470 hotkey mappings
  • Sound driver fixes for Skylake, Atom SoCs
  • New sound drivers for various soundcards/chips

Among the additional ARM devices supported by Linux Kernel 4.12 is the Orange Pi PC2 we wrote about last year, the Rockchip RK3399 and RK3288, plus there’s more work on NVIDIA Tegra X2.

BFQ — Better, Faster, Quicker

Reader Fran G., has his own highlight in this release: BFQ (Budget Fair Queue).

The name sounds fairly oblique, but as Fran explains in an e-mail to us (thanks Fran!), it could have a big impact on your desktop’s performance:

“The BFQ (Budget Fair Queue) has been developed in the last few years and only recently included in the mainline kernel. Some distributions already included this by manually patching the kernel, and there was a PPA available for Ubuntu as well. However, we now get this available to all!

In a nutshell: this is a I/O scheduler that balances how the system accesses data on a drive (HDD, SSD, etc.). BFQ targets desktop users by ensuring that at no point a single application is using all of the bandwidth. Sometimes when copying large files in Linux a user sees the system slow down down or freeze completely – this will now be a thing of the past!

I know your website doesn’t feature articles with low-level kernel functionality, but this is one with a big impact in usability IMHO.”

BFQ is available in Linux 4.12 but is not enabled by default. To do that skip below to the featured comment in the comments section beneath this post.

For more details on what is new this release you refer to this page or review the full Linux kernel 4.12 commit log.

Install Linux 4.12 on Ubuntu

If you’re both brave and foolish you’ll be able to upgrade to Linux 4.12 by using the mainline Linux kernel builds available for Ubuntu developers to debug and test with.

UUKU makes it easy to install mainline Linux kernel on Ubuntu — but please keep in mind the aforementioned caveat!