Linux 5.7 Released: New features and Main Changes

The new Linux 5.7 was released recently after being officially announced in an email by Linus Torvalds that the stable release of this kernel is ready for launch.

Previously, as Linux 5.6 was released, we saw many changes including the addition of Wireguard and Amazon Echo, USB4 support, and also 2038-year readiness.

This latest release succeeds the previous Linux Kernel 5.6 including all the changes pulled out during the kernel 5.7 merge window.

Without further ado, let us look at what Linux 5.7 brings us:

New Features

New exFAT File-system driver

As expected, the new Samsung-developed file-system driver for Microsoft’s exFAT is one of the new features in Linux 5.7. It is set to replace the existing exFAT driver added in Linux 5.4 last year.

With this new driver, it is now much more reliable with more functionality compared to the older driver. This driver will also continue to see more improvements by Samsung and others.

Thermal Pressure checking to Task Scheduler

Previously, the Linux kernel scheduler has not been aware when a CPU capacity is reduced due to thermal issues. With this new feature, it was designed with ARM SoCs in mind for better performance where the scheduler will be informed of the thermal pressure where affected cores might be downclocked due to that reason.

The key benefit of this new feature is better performance when CPUs are overheating.

Support for new ARM devices

Coming is this update is also mainline kernel support for many new ARM devices including the Pinebook Pro, PineTab tablet, and the Pinephone mobile phone.  

The Linux 5.7 features de-facto compatibility with the RockChip RK3399 SoC used in the PineBook, and the AllWinner A64 chip used in the PinePhone.

Other additions includes:

  • Support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 as well as the Qualcomm IPQ6018 WiFi 6 router chip.
  • Mediatek MT8516 SoC support as hardware used commonly by voice assistants.
  • NXP i.MX8M Plus SoC support.
  • Samsung S7710 Galaxy Xcover2 support as an old Android device.
  • Many updates for different areas of the NVIDIA Tegra platform support.
  • i.MX system controller thermal support.
  • Enabling the Qualcomm SDM845 display and GPU clocks as well as audio configs along with many other defconfig enabling.

Zstd Compression Support

This Linux update also brings Zstd compression support to the F2FS (Flash-Friendly File System) filesystem. LZO and LZ4 will remain available as the existing compression options while LZ4 is now the new default compression method for F2FS.

Coming along with this new addition will be a new kernel octl and mount time display debugfs.

If you interested in other enhancements and cleanups for F2FS, you can check out this pull request.

Better HDR/OLED Display Support

In this kernel, AMDGPU Linux driver for modern OLED and HDR displays has Display Core (DC) Patches.

AMDGPU Display Core (DC) changes now allow for managing backlight brightness using the DisplayPort AUX channel rather than the PWM for managing the display backlight. Panel Self Refresh (PSR) functionality was also added.

EFI “Mixed Mode” Booting

In Linux 5.7, support for EFI “Mixed Mode” Booting is added which allow 64-bit x86 kernels to be booted from 32-bit firmware running on 64-bit capable CPUs.

Btrfs File-System Updates

In Btrfs File-System, this kernel brings several updates and fixes to it. Some of it includes deletion of subvolumes function ioctl, leak detector for tree root structures, a per-inode file extent tree for in-memory tracking of contiguous extent ranges and Zoned block device support for which it sets the initial stage.

If you are interested in the full list of Btrfs changes, you can check out this pull request.

Other Changes

In Linux 5.7, there are many more new updates and changes and some of them include:

  • Intel Gen12 / Tiger Lake graphics enabled by default
  • Apple USB Fast Charge support for iOS devices
  • Split lock detection
  • Improved support and added support to new hardware
  • Better Meson video decoding in staging
  • Experimental support for swap over SMB3 mounts

There are more changes like bug fixes, security improvements, and networking refinement that we didn’t highlight in this article but if you are interested in these technical changes, you can check them out on Phoronix for a complete feature overview of the Linux 5.7!

Getting the Linux 5.7 in Ubuntu

If you wish to install Linux 5.7 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.


June 2020