Linus Torvalds announces release of new Linux Kernel 5.8

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Linux Kernel 5.8 has been announced by Linus Torvalds; Here are all the new features and major changes

Nearly a month after an email about the really big update to Linux Kernel, Linus Torvalds today released the Linux kernel 5,8. Torvalds told the fellow Linux Kernel developers in the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML), “So [here]it is, a shiny new kernel. Give it a whirl before all you people start sending me the pull requests for the merge window, which I’ll start handling tomorrow.”

“I considered making an rc8 all the way to the last minute, but decided it’s not just worth waiting another week when there aren’t any big looming worries around,” Torvalds added.

Linux 5.8 will be available to Canonical and other Linux dev teams in the near future. It is possible that Ubuntu may implement Linux 5.8 Kernel in its final stable release of the Groovy Gorilla to be released in October.

What’s new in Linux 5.8 Kernel?

Unlike Torvalds’s email, Linux 5.8 Kernel is not really big so if you were expecting Linux 5.8 to have major changes you would be disappointed. Linux 5.8 has many changes but they are neither big nor small. The new version contains many updated drivers for Adreno GPU chips like the 405, 640, and 650 versions, the new Spectre patches, as well as exFAT refinements.

Linux 5.8 will also get new Radeon drivers as well as support for the POWER10 chip which will be launched in 2021. Here are the top changes in Linux 5.8 Kernel:

  • New AMD energy driver for Zen/Zen2 energy sensors
  • AMD Renoir CPU temperature monitoring
  • AMD Renoir ACP audio support
  • AMDGPU Trusted Memory Zone Support
  • Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer
  • Boost support in the CPPC CPUFreq driver
  • Open Source Adreno 405 / 640 / 650 GPU support
  • Shadow Call Stack and Branch Target Identification for ARM64
  • More exFAT driver improvements
  • Thunderbolt ARM (i.e. USB 4.0) support
  • Intel Atom camera driver
  • Ability to swap fn and ctrl keys on Apple keyboards

Torvalds had told the Linux Mailing List that Linux kernel 5.8 would be a massive release because of lots of small changes. “In the 5.8 merge window, we have modified about 20% of all the files in the kernel source repository. That’s really a fairly big percentage, and while some of it _is_ scripted, on the whole, it’s really just the same pattern: 5.8 has simply seen a lot of development,” Torvalds said.

Based on this philosophy, Linux 5.8 now has lots and lots of miscellaneous file system updates, system architecture updates, memory and performance improvements on offer.

“Aside from silly header file noise, the last week was mostly dominated by the networking pull, which accounts for about half of the changes (Mellanox drivers and self-tests stand out, but there are other smaller things in there too). Some RCU fixes stand out,” he concludes.

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