Linus Torvalds presents a Santa Claus contest as FOSS-lovin’ Finn puts the best possible gift under the tree this holiday season: a brand new Linux kernel.
Yes, Linux kernel 6.1 is here, ready to power your servers, desktops, smartphones, switches, routers, and everything in the world. Linus Torvalds announced his arrival on the Linux Kernel mailing list: “Here we are, a week late, but last week has been nice and slow, and I’m happier about my 6.1 state than I was two weeks ago.”
The Linux kernel is developed and maintained by a global community of engineers and enthusiasts. While a large number of those who contribute to the Linux kernel as part of their daily work, others choose to do so in their spare time, on their own, and on their own terms.
Let’s take a closer look at what these wonderful people have been up to lately …
Linux Kernel 6.1 features
A major addition to Linux 6.1 is Primary support (beta) for anti-rust, which is a multi-purpose, general-purpose programming language, which is rapidly growing across the open source landscape. Although small in size, this initial batch of evocation fulfills the ambition of allowing kernel developers to write kernel code in Rust.
Another addition to Linux kernel 6.1 is the lesser use of multigeneration (aka MG-LRU; Although this is not yet enabled by default). To quote from the in-kernel documentation, this feature that takes care of memory: “…improved page recovery and improved performance under memory pressure” Hey: better performance is always welcome.
btrfs user? Linux 6.1 includes a “bundle of performance improvements” for the performance of the Btrfs file system, including a new block array tree to speed up loading on large file systems, additional io_uring integration, and modified sysfs exports; and “FIEMAP Premium Speed Improvement”.
Elsewhere, the erofs file system is now capable of sharing redundant data across file systems; And the EXT4 file system benefits from a series of fixes, cleanups, and tweaks, including no longer trying to prefetch block-allocation bitmaps for read-only file systems.
Also, the PinePhone Pro is now capable of running the main Linux 6.1 kernel, as well as a range of older Android smartphones including the Sony Xperia 1 IV, Samsung Galaxy E5, E7, and Grand Max. In addition, there is now an input driver for the PinePhone keyboard case.
Nintendo HID’s driver has become so polished that even “cheap cloned” consoles will work with it; And the Logitech driver now enables HID++ for all Bluetooth devices, and as Phoronix reports, it can automatically detect HD scrolling capability if supported.
a pile of Support for new audio devices It ships with Linux 6.1, including initial work on audio support on Apple Silico, AMD Rembrandt support with Sound Open Firmware (SOF), and audio support on the Mediatek MT8186 SoC expected to appear in the new Chromebooks.
Many new devices get support from the XPad kernel input driver, including the Xbox One Elite paddles on the original Elite and Elite Series 2.
Other supported devices include the Hori Fighting Commander ONE gamepad (including Xbox mode), the 8BitDo Pro 2 wired controller, and a range of Wooting keyboards, including the Wooting One, Two, Two HE, and 60HE.
Kernel 6.1 also includes the usual kind of laying the foundation for the next generation of CPUs and GPUs. Work in version 6.1 includes new driver code for the AMD platform management framework on future Ryzen chips; plumbing for 5nm Intel “Meteor Lake” chips; and continued efforts on Intel Arc Graphics DG2/Alchemist.
- Kernel Memory Sanitizer (KMSAN) is integrated
- More LoongArch CPU support
- Kernel can decompress +release in an architecture agnostic manner on EFI systems
- Faster decoding of Intel memory errors via the EDAC driver
- Maple tree data structure support
- New security controls over the ability to create user namespaces
- Kernel will print to the CPU kernel where a segmentation error occurs
Overall, Linux kernel 6.1 introduces a host of new features and improvements that enhance the performance and security of Linux-based systems. These improvements make Linux a more powerful and flexible operating system, capable of meeting the demands of a wide variety of applications and users.
Want more information about the latest release? Take a look at the Phoronix Features Overview for top-level information, or dive into the details with the LWN 1 Consolidation Report and the LWN 2 Consolidation Report.
Get Linux 6.1
Linux 6.1 is available for download as source code right now, which you can compile manually into your distro of choice? not up for it? Wait for the distribution supervisor to package half of the graft instead.
While some distributions (such as Arch) package new Linux kernel releases and push them to users as updates, Ubuntu does not. Since new kernel releases are a fixed-release distro they only ship in new releases, although LTS releases get periodic new kernel updates carried over backwards from later releases.
You can try Canonical’s main repo to install Linux 6.1 on Ubuntu-based distributions. This is not recommended. Mainline versions do not come with any warranty, support, or problem-free testing. Use at your own risk.
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