Linux latest kernel release version 5.5 is named Kleptomaniac Octopus, and promises improvements in hardware support, including Wake-On-Voice for Google Chromebooks and Logitech keyboard driver, along with improved Thunderbolt and Ice lake USB power management.
Linux 5.5 also brings many changes to the file system like XFS, ext4 and exFAT; while Ext4 has direct I/O via fscrypt and iomap support for smaller block sizes. And VMs on Microsoft Hyper-V, can finally hibernate, and kernel concurrency sanitizer gets spotting data race conditions.
The support for gaming hardware includes AMD OverDrive overclocking support using the Navi GPUs with significant changes to the Linux kernel’s scheduler that ensures better performance for Linux gamers.
Hardware Support Improvements in Linux 5.5
Notable among the hardware improvements in Linux 5.5 are support for the Raspberry Pi 4 / BCM2711, with various performance enhancements, including support for reporting NVMe drive temperatures, new Logitech keyboard driver, AMD HDCP support for content protection, introduction of KUnit for unit testing, and new RAID1 modes.
Other improvements and changes includes: Support for toggling ASPM link states individually for better power-savings when connected where the driver by default blocks ASPM. And Ice Lake USB power management improvement, the ability to boot modem processor on the Snapdragon 835 SoC (which is important for both cellular and WiFi support), and System76 ACPI Coreboot laptop driver support.
Additionally, on the laptop front are Huawei improvements, Thunderbolt improvements and officially deprecating the EEPROM driver and the highlight char/misc changes. And the new WFX WiFi driver for Silicon Labs WF200 ASICs.
Enhanced Security on Linux 5.5
Linux 5.5 livepatching infrastructure is now able to track the system state for better patch handling/compatibility. With the dropping of the SYSCTL system call, and reworked AMD IOMMU driver code, and security fixes continuing until 2038.
Besides the last-minute network driver fixes, Linux 5.5 also include several other improvements, with the support for new and upcoming hardware platforms like Raspberry Pi 4 and Chromebooks.
In the brief announcement by Linus Torvalds, he also mentioned the opening of the merge window of Linux 5.6 right from the next day of release. You can download the latest Linux kernel 5.5 from the Linux Kernel Archive.