Linux 5.6 Release – New features!

Previously as Linux 5.5 was released, we saw many interesting hardware improvements and features from Live Patching, Faster File Copying to additional Hardware Support.

Well get ready as the Linux 5.6 is a release you should look forward too with many new features included! The new kernel update was first announced by Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux through an email to the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML).

Despite the Coronavirus Lockdown, the kernel development was seen not to be impacted as said by Linus Torvalds:

I haven’t really seen any real sign of kernel development being impacted by all the coronavirus activity – I suspect a lot of us work from home even normally

Linus Torvalds

Without further ado let’s jump right into the new Linux 5.6 main features:

Linux 5.6 Main Features


Firstly, it would be the addition of Wireguard support which is a simple yet fast modern VPN. This addition will be probably be replacing OpenVPN which is on your Linux currently.

Want to find out more information about Wireguard? You can check out their website for more information like their conceptual overview, network interface, cryptokey routing and many more.

Not to mention, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS will also be adding support for Wireguard.

Year 2038 Ready

The Linux Kernel is now year-2038 ready as they fixed the 32-bit time_type issue.

Back then due to integer overflow, time value store will be stored as a negative number which casued the time value not go beyond a maximum value of 21474483647 (32-bit signed integer format) seconds which meant it cannot run beyond the year 2038.

But now it can!

Support for Amazon Echo

In this update, it includes preliminary support for Amazon Echo. With this, you can also look out to future updates where open-source software or use-space software can be developed, built and run.

USB4 Support

Linux 5.6 will also include the support of USB4. USB4 doubles the maximum aggregate bandwidth of USB and enables multiple simultaneous data and display protocols.

Based on the Thunderbolt protocol specification, USB4 will be backward compatible with USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3.

F2FS Data Compression Using LZO/LZ4

This kernal update will also come with support for F2FS Data Compression using LZO/LZ4 algorithms.

This means that the kernal will feature a new compression technique for Linux file-system where you will be able to select particular file extensions.

New CPUI Idle Cooling Thermal Driver

A rival approach to Intel’s home-grown versions, the Linux Kernel 5.6 will feature a thermal driver that is not limited to specific CPU architectures or vendors and does not need any extra cruft to work.

This driver will inject idle cycles at run-time when necessary to cool down the CPU and also reduce any static power leakage.

Improved Hardware Support

Similar to other new kernal release, Linux 5.6 comes with improved hardware support.

Linux 5.6 adds support for a few ARM SoCs and developer boards:

  • Pine H64 Model B
  • SolidRun’s HoneyComb LX2K workstation
  • Qualcomm sc7180
  • Google Coral Edge TPU
  • Libre Computer ALL-H3-IT
  • Atmel/Microchip SAM9X60
  • STM32MP15

It also comes with support for Logitech’s MX Master 3 mouse together with a few wireless Logitech products. Logitech devices that use the HID++ protocol can also now report battery voltage on Linux.

There will also be thermal sensor updates for a range of Rockchip and Allwinner platforms and also the Broadcom BCM2711 (Used in your Raspberry Pi 4).

This update will come patched to stop overheating or severely down-clocking on Linux for ASUS laptops and AMD Ryzen CPUs.

VirtualBox Folder Sharing

Lastly we have the addition of VirtualBox Folder sharing which allows users to instantly share folders between guests and hosts without using the Guest Additions Package.

It was debuted in Linux 5.4 but however was recalled and postponed. Now it is released!

More information on the Linux 5.6

That’s all on Linux 5.6 Main features! There are more changes that we didn’t highlight in this article but if you are interest about these technical changes, you can check them out on Phoronix!

If you wish to install Linux 5.6 in Ubuntu, Linux Mint and other Ubuntu-based distributions using mainline builds, we would highly not recommend it.

This is as mainline kernels are not as widely tested and checked unlike your regular in-release Ubuntu Kernel updates.

But if you really want to back port this update, you can get it on Ubuntu Kernel Server.


April 2020