Linux 4.3 Release – Main Changes, ARM and MIPS Architectures

Linus Torvalds released Linux Kernel 4.3 last week-end:

So it *felt* like the last week of the rc series was busy, to the point where I got a bit worried about the release. But doing the actual numbers shows that that really was just my subjective feeling, probably due to the kernel summit and travel back home from Korea. It wasn’t actually a particularly busy week, it’s just that the pull requests were more noticeable in the last couple of days.

We had a network update and a late fix for a x86 vm86 mode bug introduced by the vm86 cleanups, but other than that it’s just a collection of various small one-liners all over. Ok, the vm86 mode thing was a one-liner too, it was just slightly more nerve-wracking because it looked scarier than it was before people (Andy) figured out what was going on.

The changes from rc7 are dominated by the network stuff, but as you can tell from the appended shortlog it’s not anything particularly scary.

So on the whole, this remains a rather calm release cycle until the very end. And with the release of 4.3, obviously the merge window for 4.4 is open, and let’s keep our fingers crossed that that will be an equally calm release. Especially since apparently Greg has decided ahead of time (as an experiment brought on by discussion at the kernel summit) that 4.4 will be another LTS release.


Linux 4.2 brought us file systems and networking changed, new cryptography implementations, AMD GPU driver support for more graphics card, among other things. Some changes made to Linux 4.3 include:

  • Removal of EXT-3 file system (EXT-4 file system will handle EXT-3)
  • Various fixed for BTRFS, EXT-4, F2FS, and XFS file systems
  • IPv6 is now built into the kernel by default.
  • New driver framework for nonvolatile memory devices (e.g.EEPROMs). See nvmem.txt for details.
  • The networking layer added “lightweight tunnel” support.

More user visible and internal changes can be found on LWN’s merge window articles [1], [2] and [3].

I’ve also compiled some of the new features and improvements specific to the ARM architecture with a focus on Allwinner, Rockchip, Amlogic and /Mediatek processors often featured in this blog:

  • Allwinner:
    • A10 / A13 / A20 / A23 / A31 – Enabled OTG controller
    • A10 / A10s / A13 / A20 – Support for DMA engine
    • A23 / A33 – Support for USB controllers
    • most of Allwinner SoC – Support for Allwinner Security System crypto accelerator (sunxi-ss)
    • AXP152 – AXP152 mfd support
    • Added boards – Iteaduino Plus A10 board, Ippo-q8h-a33 v1.2 tablet board
  • Rockchip
    • Audio – Machine drivers for Rockchip systems with MAX98090 and RT5645 and RT5650
    • Added USB PHY support for RK3066 and RK3188, enabled on Marsboard
    • Reserve unusable memory region (0xfe000000~0xff000000) on RK3288 and RK3368
    • Fixed suspend issues on RK3288
    • Added support for phase inverters
    • Added support for Rockchip RK3368 including clock-controller
    • Added support for Netxeon R89 board, two Chromebooks (Veyron family), and R88 board (RK3368)
  • Amlogic (Minor changes)
    • meson6: DTS: Fix wrong reg mapping and IRQ numbers
    • meson8b: Properly include clk.h
  • Mediatek
    • Added basic support for Mediatek MT6580
    • Added SMP support for Mediatek MT6795
    • Mediatek MT8173: cpuidle-dt updates, watchdog device, misc other additions
    • Added MT6397 PMIC support to MT8173 eval board
  • Qualcomm
    • Qualcomm MSM8916 and APQ8016 updates for USB
    • Pinctrl driver updates for Qualcomm SPMI-MPP, and Qualcomm Technologies QDF2xxx ARM64 SoCs
    • Qualcomm driver for SMM/SMD (Shared Memory Driver)
    • Regulator driver for the Qualcomm RPM
    • Device tree updates for Compulab QS600, Inforce 6410 & 6540,  APQ8074 Dragonboard, etc…
  • Samsung
    • Various defconfig and device tree updates for Exynos processors
    • cpufreq driver updates
    • clk driver updates for Exynos 3250, 4210, 4412, and 5250 SoCs
  • Xilinx – ZynqMP: A bunch of devices added to the existing DTSI (sdhci and watchdog on ep108, DWC3 usb, SMMU, CANs node…)
  • Other new ARM SoCs & hardware platforms – Broadcom North Star 2 (ns2), Marvell Berlin4CT,  Freescale i.MX6UL boards, SocioNext (previously Panasonic) UniPhier, Texas Instruments DM814x, Gumstix Overo platforms

There have also been some changes for MIPS architecture mostly committed by Imagination Technologies themselves:

  • Fixed JZ4740 build
  • Cavium Octeon CN68XX improvements
  • Some work on the clock framework
  • Added uprobes support
  • Support for the I6400
  • Moved ath79 GPIO driver to drivers/gpio
  • Various fixes

Finally, I’ve generated Linux 4.3 Changelog with comments only (12.3MB) using git log v4.2..v4.3 --stat. Normally I would also recommend checking out the changelog on KernelNewbies here, but they have not even updated Linux 4.2 changelog yet.

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2 Replies to “Linux 4.3 Release – Main Changes, ARM and MIPS Architectures”

  1. Arnd Bergmann, one of ARM SoC Linux maintainers, recommends to use:

    to get an overview of the important changes going into a release.

  2. “Added support for Rockchip RK3368 including clock-controllerm”

    Glad to see that, as some of the 3368 devices are cheap and would be a great way for developers to attain 64-bit ARM hardware to build and port Linux code on. For example, this Vensmile R8 with 2gb RAM, 8gb flash, gigabit ethernet, and an octa-core 64-bit ARM processor for just $55:

    That could make a great little Linux desktop machine for basic usage, or a nice little server.

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