With a new approach, the now available Linux 4.15 tries to solve a well-known power-saving problem from the world. The new kernel improves support for AMD’s latest graphics chips. Protection from Meltdown and Specter is included.
Linus Torvalds has released the Linux kernel 4.15 – not as usual after nine or ten weeks of development, but only after eleven. The main reason for this are the security holes Meltdown and Specter, because between mid-December and mid-January, the kernel developers with PTI and Retpoline quickly added two countermeasures to reduce the risk potential. In addition, the new Linux version still offers many other innovations. The most important in a quick overview, before the text goes into the details on the following pages:
With a larger expansion of the Amdgpu driver, this AMD’s Vega graphics cards are no longer just rudimentary, but neat. In addition, many Vega predecessors (such as Radeon 400 or 500 series cards) now have some features that are important for driving modern monitors.
The new kernel revisits a well-known problem that causes many Linux PCs populated with SATA disks to unnecessarily consume power. Thus, the responsible developer tries to extend the battery life of notebooks noticeably.
Files in the sysfs can be checked to see if the processor is vulnerable to Meltdown and Specter and what the kernel is doing.