Linus Torvalds released Linux kernel 4.12 on Sunday, July 2 and remarked how it was “one of the bigger releases historically.” Indeed, just shy of 12,000 commits, only 4.9 was significantly larger, and that was because Greg Kroah-Hartman declared it an LTS release.
Despite Torvalds’ unassuming comment about how there’s “nothing particularly odd going on” in this release, there are definitely many things going on. Apart from the numerous commits, this kernel has also received an abnormally large number of patches. About 50 percent of these patches are from the work being carried out on supporting the AMD’s high-end Vega series of cards, which are to go on sale later this year.
Getting support for hardware that isn’t even available in shops yet is exciting, but even more so is the work being carried out on supporting USB-C natively. In case you are not aware of these nifty interfaces, USB-C ports are an ultrabook designer’s dream. The protocol itself allows users to plug in a cable however they choose — no more fumbling to get it right side up! But, more importantly, USB-C allows for a wider range of functionalities than prior versions of USB. You can, for example, deliver power over a USB-C to charge a mobile device from your laptop, yes, but you can also have your laptop receive power. This means you could charge your laptop back and never have to bother with a non-standard charging port again.
Not only that, but a USB-C protocol can also act as an HDMI port and stream video to an external monitor. And, of course, USB-C still supports mass storage devices, mice, keyboards, cameras, microphones, printers, and so forth. With a couple of these devices on your machine, you are covered for almost everything.