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Linux 4.9 goes official; brings enormous hardware improvements

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Linux 4.9

After much anticipation, Linus Torvalds has formally released Linux 4.9 kernel as the “biggest release” in the history of open source platform. The new version includes a large number of hardware-centric improvements to upgrade the user experience over the previous Linux release.

“I am pretty sure this is the biggest release we have ever had, at least in a number of commits,” said 46-year-old Torvalds, in an email announcement to the Linux community. “If you look at the number of lines changed, we have had bigger releases in the past, but they have tended to be due to specific issues. In contrast, 4.9 is just big.”

The total number of improvements exist in the latest Linux version is bifurcated into two parts. While over two-third tweaks are related to drivers for staging, GPU and networking hardware, the rest include arch updates, documentation, generic networking and filesystem upgrades.

The Torvalds-led team has developed an experimental support for older AMD Radeon graphics cards to enable motion effects on the open source platform from dated hardware. Also, there are various improvements for modern AMD Radeon GPUs. These include virtual display support and better reset support. Users with Intel GPUs will also experience performance tweaks through features such as DMA-BUF implicit fencing and P-State boost.

Linux 4.9 additionally brings native support for affordable devices such as Raspberry Pi Zero. The platform also comes with some notably ARM SoC (system-on-chip) updates to support several mobile devices.

The newest Linux version is the final outcome of the first release candidate that was debuted back in October. Moreover, the kernel will be a part of major Linux distributions such as Arch Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and OpenSUSE Tumbleweed among various others.

Alongside announcing the release of Linux 4.9, Torvalds has confirmed that the merge window for 4.10 is now opened for developers. This window will be closed before December 25.