Linux 5.5 which is the latest stable version of the Linux Kernel, features some really interesting hardware improvements and features! It has many changes including support for Raspberry Pi 4, and many more which we are going to talk about later.
Announced on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) by Linus Torvalds, the new Linux 5.5 is likely to be included in the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS which is set to release in mid April. The kernel version will also be back-ported to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS in the later year.
Without further ado, let us talk about the new Linux 5.5 features:
Linux 5.5 Features
Supports Raspberry Pi 4
Firstly, as you all may know already from the title, is that the Linux 5.5 comes with improved support for the Raspberry Pi 4. This means that the Pi 4 can now work out of the box on mainline Linux!
Other than the Pi 4, it also has improved support with the Nano Pi Duo 2 and 4 and also RK3308 boards like the Rock Pi S.
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Next, the 5.5 Kernel will also feature live patching which allows for patching of a running kernel with a need to reboot. This new system will now be able to store necessary data and capable of defining compatibility between live patches.
If you wish to use live patching, here are some rules:
- Any completely new system state modification is allowed.
- System state modifications with the same or higher version are allowed for already modified system states.
- Cumulative live patches must handle all system state modifications from already installed live patches.
- Non-cumulative live patches are allowed to touch already modified system states.
The Linux 5.5 also features a mainline driver reporting SSD temperature via HWMON in
sysfs which negates the need for other root-level user-space utilities.
Faster File Copying
This kernel features 3 and 4 copy modes in RAID1 on btrfs file systems which is 2 more modes compared to the previous version, allowing for data to be replicated faster across more drives at the same time.
New WFX Wi-Fi Driver
A new WFX Wi-FI driver is also coming as a feature for the Linux 5.5. The wireless transceiver is geared towards low-power IoT devices and uses a 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g/n radio optimized for low power RF performance in crowded RF environments.
To further enhance security on the Linux Kernel, VMs on Microsoft Hyper-V can now hibernate, and kernel concurrency sanitizer sets for spotting data race conditions which help to increase its security.
More Hardware Support
This kernel also includes more hardware support including support for an electronic privacy screen mode for newer Google Chromebooks and also Logitech Keyboards drivers (1st and 2nd version of Logitech G15). Thunderbolt (for Macbook) and Ice Lake USB power management have also been improved.
As expected, the new kernel release also includes GPU related improvements. Firstly, it will feature the improved Allwinner Cedrus Driver for ARM users which now includes HEVC/H.265 video decoding.
In addition, AMD OverDriver overclocking support is also added for Linux gamers using Navi GPUs along with significant changes to the Linux kernel scheduler for better performance.
Interested in more information regarding the Linux 5.5? Check out all of Phoronix articles, reviews and news stories covering Linux 5.5 to find out more!
You can download the latest mainline Linux Kernel 5.5 from here on Ubuntu or another Linux distribution now but it is NOT recommended as it has no support and may break your system!
With the Linux 5.5 release, the Linux 5.6 merge window is now open. The Linux 5.6 is looking to be a spectacular release with changes ranging from adding WireGuard, initial USB4 support, networking improvements, and many more.