Linus Torvalds releases Linux 5.16 rc1 with new performance-enhancing memory tech

Emperor Penguin rates Memory Folios tech – source of that performance bump – as most important new feature in 'not huge' release


Linus Torvalds has loosed the first release candidate for version 5.16 of the Linux kernel.

In his Sunday afternoon State of the Kernel announcement, Torvalds indicated the merge window for the new release did not include any "uhhuh, things aren't working and now I need to bisect where they broke" moments. Work therefore proceeded swiftly, so much so that not even travelling for a few days and using a laptop (which Torvalds wrote is "usually fairly painful") delayed progress.

Torvalds wrote that Linux 5.16 will not be a "huge release" but does include a significant new feature. "Memory Folios" is a memory management system that offers "a more efficient and type-safe way to specify 'head of a group of pages', rather than the page pointers and 'compound_head()' and friends".

As explained by Matthew Wilcox, a long-time contributor to the Linux kernel (and Oracle employee) who focuses on memory, Memory Folios aims "to allow filesystems and the page cache to manage memory in larger chunks than PAGE_SIZE".

Doing so has produced some nice numbers. "The multi-page folios offer some improvement to some workloads," Wilcox wrote. "Real workloads (eg building the kernel, running postgres in a steady state, etc.) seem to benefit between 0–10%."

A single addition to the Linux kernel that could improve performance by ten per cent? Where do we sign?

Torvalds rated Memory Folios as "unusually core, but they certainly aren't the bulk of the changes".

Those come from the usual suspects – what Torvalds describes as "drivers (gpu, networking, sound and staging stand out, but it's all over) and architecture code".

Real workloads seem to benefit between 0–10%

"Hardware support is the bulk of the code, it gets the bulk of the changes. But we obviously have all the normal other updates, with filesystem, networking, and core kernel code. With documentation and tooling support filling the gaps."

"Anyway, the merge window may have gone about as smoothly as I could hope for," Torvalds wrote, before adding "but let's get the whole stabilization phase started with some serious testing, shall we?"

You heard the man. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022