Renowned Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman shared today some interesting details on the performance impact of the Meltdown and Spectre patches on the Linux kernel.
According to some recent benchmarks done by a user on some Linux systems running newer kernel versions on a particular network-heavy load, the recently released Linux 4.15 kernel appears to be between 7 and 9 percent faster than Linux kernel 4.11.
But if the new KPTI (Kernel Page-Table Isolation) patches that mitigate the recently discovered Meltdown security vulnerability are enabled on the Linux 4.15 kernel, then the performance is just 1 or 2 percent slower than on systems running Linux kernel 4.11.
“So, overall, we are right back where we started from. Which makes me feel good, the recent Meltdown changes turn out to not really be much of a problem overall,” said Greg Kroah-Hartman on Google+. “But if you are stuck at an old kernel version, that’s a totally different story.”
This should make all those developers that worked hard during the past several months to redesign the Linux kernel against the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities happy as there were numerous reports out there about the dramatic impact of these patches on Linux systems.
Go update to a newer kernel version, says Greg Kroah-Hartman
Greg Kroah-Hartman recommends all those using a GNU/Linux distribution powered by a Linux kernel from an older, yet long-term supported branch, such as Linux 3.10, 4.4, or 4.9, to upgrade to a newer kernel version as soon as possible as they might notice a performance increase.
The latest kernel is Linux 4.15, which was released over the weekend with numerous performance improvements and several new features. If your GNU/Linux distro doesn’t have the latest Linux kernel available in the repositories, go ahead and download/compile it yourself.