AMD Radeon Vega Official Driver Support Comes To Linux Kernel 4.12

All major Linux kernel releases carry a handful of special updates, but there are some that are still a lot more notable than others. Linux 4.12 is one of those kernels, with even Linus Torvalds stating that it's one of the "bigger releases historically". A big reason for that? Well, for starters, it include introductory AMD Radeon Vega support. This comes hot on the heels of AMD unleashing its Vega Frontier Edition to the world, and close to a month before the consumer variants launch at SIGGRAPH 2017 in Los Angeles.

radeon vega frontier edition
AMD's Vega architecture is now supported in Linux - to some extent

It's important to note that this is truly introductory Vega support. Phoronix's Michael Larabel notes that with 4.12, Vega is only supported as a headless device, which makes it useful only to those using the new architecture strictly for compute-type workloads. Vega on Linux isn't expected to be fully supported until the 4.14 kernel drops, which will take place some time this fall.

Still, it's nice to see AMD so eager to get code for Vega into the kernel. Also worth noting is that NVIDIA has some love in this kernel, as well, with the open-source Nouveau driver now supporting the GTX 10 series - again, at least to a point. While this driver does support the display actually working (important for gamers, we hear!), re-clocking support is not present, so both Maxwell and Pascal are still severely lacking in performance versus the proprietary NVIDIA driver.

Linux Kernel 412

Also added in 4.12 is USB Type-C port management, support for Intel's RealSense SR300 camera and also Bluetooth on its Edison module, as well as support for Razer's Sabertooth and Mad Catz's Brawlstick. This is just scratching the surface, though. All told, 4.12 introduced more than one million lines of code, which is downright staggering considering it encapsulates just a few months' work.