Linux 5.6 Is Looking Like It Will Be Spectacular With A Long List Of Features

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 26 January 2020 at 06:55 PM EST. 20 Comments
Linux 5.5 is likely to be released later today and with that are many new features. But as soon as 5.5 is released it marks the opening of the Linux 5.6 merge window and this next kernel has us particularly exciting... It's certainly shaping up to be one of the most exciting kernel cycles in recent times with many blockbuster features and improvements.

Among the work that's slated to land with Linux 5.6 includes:

- WireGuard finally going into the mainline kernel for this secure VPN tunnel.

- Initial USB4 support thanks to Intel's open-source developers.

- The FQ-PIE packet scheduler is being mainlined as another step to fighting bufferbloat on Linux.

- Improved AMD Zen temperature/power reporting. The k10temp driver is now in good shape for reporting the temperatures and current/voltage readings on the AMD Zen/Zen+/Zen2 processors. I've partially been testing a lot of the processors and overall it's a big improvement over the limited temperatures exposed before and no power information.

- Also on the temperature front is finally having an in-kernel SATA drive temperature reporting driver that jives with the HWMON interfaces, doesn't require root access to read, and no special user-space utilities as was previously the case.

- Btrfs Async Discard support for better TRIM/discard performance on SSDs with Btrfs.

- F2FS data compression support.

- A fix so ASUS TUF laptops with AMD CPUs will stop overheating on Linux.

- Open-source NVIDIA RTX 2000 "Turing" graphics support with hardware acceleration albeit dependent on firmware binary blobs that have yet to be published.

- AMD Pollock support was sent in as part of the graphics changes.

- AMD DP MST DSC support is all wired up.

- AMD Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is wired up for tapping the PSP / Secure Processor on Raven and newer APUs.

- Power management improvements for Radeon GPUs.

- Continued Intel graphics work on Tiger Lake and Elkhart Lake among other improvements.

- Intel SST Core-Power support.

- Faster memmove() performance for Intel Ice Lake.

- Intel MPX is finally being cleared in full.

- Obsoleting the Intel Simple Firmware Interface.

- Intel Virtual Bus introduction.

- An optimization for Intel's IGC 2.5G Ethernet driver yielding ~7% better performance.

- Possible Intel server power management improvements.

- EXT4 Direct I/O optimizations.

- FSCRYPT inline encryption.

- Supporting more Logitech drivers with the input driver code maintained by the community.

- A new GRND_INSECURE random option.

- ARMv8.5 RNG support and other new ARMv8 features.

- Starting on AMD Zen 3 enablement though not too much at this point, but it's a start.

- More Intel Jasper bring-up and other new hardware bits.

- More AVX/AVX2/AVX-512 optimizations within the kernel's crypto code.

- Prepping for finally landing multipath TCP support.

- Potentially the inclusion of Western Digital's Zonefs file-system for SMR drives.

- One item we haven't seen queued yet but hopeful it could come at the last minute is the long-awaited AMD Sensor Fusion Hub driver.

- The time namespace for allowing per-namespace offsets to the system monotonic and boot-time clocks, with a container use-case in mind.

- There's even a mainline driver now for keyboard/mouse support on the SGI Octane and Onyx2. Yes, the hardware from the late 90's...

And I'm sure a lot more that I didn't yet notice in Git, but will be closely following the pull requests as always as soon as the Linux 5.6 merge window opens up... Stay tuned!
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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