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Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS Officially Released, Adds 3D Support in the Virtual GPU Driver

Today, January 10, 2016, will enter in the Linux history books as the day when the Linux kernel 4.4 LTS (Long-Term Support) was officially released by Linus Torvalds and his team of hard-working kernel developers.

Prominent features of Linux kernel 4.4 LTS include 3D support in the virtual GPU driver, allowing for 3D hardware-accelerated graphics in virtualization guests, a leaner and faster loop device that supports Asynchronous I/O and Direct I/O, thus increasing the system’s performance and saving memory, and support for Open-Channel Solid State Drives (SSDs) through LightNVM.

Furthermore, Linux kernel 4.4 LTS adds journaled RAID5 MD support, fixing the RAID write hole, and perf and eBPF integration, allowing unprivileged users to run persistent eBPF programs. Also worth mentioning are Block polling support for improving the overall performance of high-end storage devices, a brand new mlock2() syscall for locking memory on page fault, and fully lockless handling of the TCP listener, allowing for more scalable and faster TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) servers.

“Nothing untoward happened this week, so Linux-4.4 is out in all the usual places.The changes since rc8 aren’t big,” says Linus Torvalds. “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. 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.”

Numerous new drivers have been added and others updated

In addition to the awesome new features introduced in today’s release of Linux kernel 4.4 LTS, we can notice a lot of updated drivers, as well as the addition of new ones, which will make the kernel support even more modern hardware components and all sorts of devices. Linux kernel 4.4 LTS ships, of course, with lots of under-the-hood improvements and countless bugfixes. More details can be found in Mr. Torvalds announcement.

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