Linux 5.6 Is The Most Exciting Kernel In Years With So Many New Features
The Linux 5.6 merge window is anticipated to be ending today followed by the Linux 5.6-rc1 test release. This kernel is simply huge: there is so many new and improved features with this particular release that it's mind-boggling. I'm having difficulty remembering such a time a kernel release was so large.
The quick summary of Linux 5.6 changes include: WireGuard, USB4, open-source NVIDIA RTX 2000 series support, AMD Pollock enablement, lots of new hardware support, a lot of file-system / storage work, multi-path TCP bits are finally going mainline, Year 2038 work beginning to wrap-up for 32-bit systems, the new AMD TEE driver for tapping the Secure Processor, the first signs of AMD Zen 3, better AMD Zen/Zen2 thermal and power reporting under Linux, at long last having an in-kernel SATA drive temperature for HWMON, and a lot of other kernel infrastructure improvements. In our original monitoring of the kernel mailing list and Git activity, the big highlights for Linux 5.6 that have us excited include:
Processors / Platforms:
- Continued bring-up of Intel Jasper Lake, Tiger Lake, and Elkhart Lake platforms along with some missing Comet Lake PCI IDs in different drivers.
- Linux 5.6 has mainline support for the Amazon Echo.
- Many other new ARM SoCs and boards supported.
- Continued Intel Gateway SoC enablement.
- The first tiny bits of AMD Family 19h support (Zen 3).
- The AMD k10temp driver finally starts reporting voltage/current for Zen CPUs and numerous thermal reporting improvements. This is a big step forward thanks to the community but unfortunate these Zen/Zen2 thermal/power reporting bits have taken so long and there are still some mysteries that remain.
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2000 Turing support with the open-source Nouveau driver that can offer hardware acceleration but still relies upon the binary firmware (to be released) and yet to be made NVC0 Gallium3D changes for OpenGL support.
- Continued Intel Gen11 and Gen12 graphics improvements.
File-Systems / Storage:
- Async DISCARD support for Btrfs for better efficiency/performance.
- The Zonefs file-system for zoned block devices is a new file-system with Linux 5.6.
- NFSD now supports server-to-server copies building upon the previously-merged NFS client support for SSC.
- The NFS client meanwhile can now use a cache if the NFS server connection is lost.