Linux 5.6 what to expect

The release candidate of Linux kernel 5.6 is out there, so we can expect the final version very soon in the Arch repo.

As Linus Torvalds already explained, this kernel release will not be featuring big changes but despite the Covid-19 crisis, it is going to be released on schedule.


Some features we can expect are:

– WireGuard was finally mainlined for this secure VPN tunnel functionality without relying upon any out-of-tree kernel module.

– Initial USB4 support was contributed by Intel, based on their existing Thunderbolt driver code.

– Linux 5.6 is the first kernel that is ready for 32-bit systems to operate past the Year 2038 problem. But there still is more work to happen in user-space for addressing Y2038 compatibility, but at least now the kernel is in good standing.

– The AMD k10temp driver was overhauled by the community in now allowing initial support for voltage/current reporting on Zen CPUs and better thermal reporting in general for AMD Zen / Zen 2 CPUs.

– AMD TEE was merged in providing Trusted Execution support for AMD APUs.

– AMDGPU DRM driver improvements like AMD Pollock enablement, reset support for Renoir and Navi hardware, and other fixes.

– NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2000 “Turing” open-source support on the Nouveau driver paired with the proprietary firmware images. But re-clocking doesn’t yet work and the Gallium3D OpenGL pieces still need to come together, not to mention the lack of a Nouveau Vulkan driver.

– Async DISCARD support for Btrfs in offering better performance.

– Experimental transparent file-system compression support for F2FS.

– Linux 5.6 has mainline support for the Amazon Echo smart speaker, albeit not too useful by itself with just the kernel portion and not trivial to load up your own Linux stack on the device.

– A fix for ASUS laptops with AMD Ryzen processors to avoid over-heating and severe down-clocking issues.

– The FQ-PIE packet scheduler was merged for reducing bufferbloat in the networking code.

– The VirtualBox Shared Folder driver was finally mainlined for improving the out-of-the-box VirtualBox guest support.

On March 30th Linux kernel 5.6 was officially released, now it is a matter of time when the kernel will hit the stable Arch repo.

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