fresh Linux kernel is now available and during this post, we do our absolute best to recap the core changes and new features you’ll find tucked up inside.
New Linux Kernel 5.11 Released
Linus Torvalds announced the Linux 5.11 release on the Linux Kernel list, as tradition dictates. While this follows up to December’s Linux 5.10 LTS kernel is heavy on features Linus couldn’t resist introducing a touch of levity too.
“I know it’s Valentine’s Day here within the US – maybe give this release honest testing before you return and play with development kernels. All right? Because I’m sure your SO will understand,” he writes.
A credible crop of changes both big and little are (naturally) packed up during this update. For more detail on what’s harder, better, faster, stronger — read on!
Linux 5.11 Features & Changes
If you expect anything from a replacement Linux kernel release it’ll be new hardware support and a sled-load of filesystem improvements. Linux 5.11 is not any exception. This kernel uplift intros new mount options for the btrfs file system; the Ceph filesystem gains support for the “msgr2.1” protocol (i.e. encryption); the F2FS filesystem picks up userspace control over compressed files.
Intel’s software guard extensions (SGX) finally makes it into the kernel – 41 revisions later
XFS now supports flagging filesystems as in need of repair, and a choice to not mount flagged file systems until a repair has been performed in user-space. Proof that hard work pays off: Intel’s software guard extensions (SGX) has finally made it into the kernel — albeit 41 revisions and lots of list posts later! LWN’s Jonathan Corbet explains this feature “allows the creation of encrypted “enclaves” that can’t be accessed from the remainder of the system”. SGX can protect data albeit the system (i.e. kernel) goes rogue.
On the graphics front there’s a bunch of “initial support” for AMD van Gogh and AMD Dimgrey Cavefish APUs; continued work on Intel DG1 graphics; early Intel Keem Bay display support and performance gains for Radeon RX 6800 series graphics cards.
Linux 5.11 supports the Tegra 3-based Ouya games console – 8 years after launch
ARM hardware support includes a stimulating one: the Ouya. This crowd-funded, Android-based game console never quite “took off” as planned, now owners looking to repurpose their Ouya’s into Linux-powered things, can!
A selection of a replacement and existing ARM-based boards gain support in mainline Linux 5.11 including the MediaTek MT8192 (an octa-core Chromebook chip), MediaTek MT6779 (Helio P90), and therefore the MediaTek MT8167 (which is best referred to as MediaTek’s Pumpkin development board).
Plenty more OpenRISC and RISC-V improvements on offer, the latter bound to please anyone getting a BeagleV RISC-V board to tinker with. USB 4 and Thunderbolt work includes support for Intel Maple Ridge, plus a replacement testing driver. a couple of BIOS settings in Dell’s Linux laptops are now configurable via sysfs.
Some notable driver additions during this kernel:
* Pioneer DDJ-R DJ controller
* Guitar Hero Live PS3 & Wii U
* Lenovo ThinkPad palm sensor
* ASUS “N-Key” keyboard backlight + function keys
* eKTF2132 touchscreen
* Dragonrise USB Gamecube adapter
* Acer S1002 keyboard-dock
Some virtualisation improvements include user-mode support for suspend-to-idle (this allows a suspended instance to be resumed employing a SIGUSR1 signal) and a replacement memory mechanism that, to quote LWN, “allows memory to be added or removed in units larger than the host kernel’s memory-block size”.
For more details keep an eye fixed on Kernel Newbies. it’ll provide a deep dive on all of this update’s changes within the coming days.
Install Linux 5.11 on Ubuntu
Want to put in Linux 5.11 on Ubuntu, Linux Mint, or another Ubuntu-based Linux distribution? you’ll — Canonical devs maintain mainline kernel builds — but you shouldn’t as these builds aren’t intended for ‘end users’.
Ubuntu ships and supports a replacement Ubuntu Linux kernel (the upstream one with some Ubuntu-specific patches and tweaks) in each new release of Ubuntu. The Linux 5.11 kernel (or later) will feature in Ubuntu 21.04 in April and can be backported to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS within the summer.
If you actually can’t wait until them you’ll install Linux 5.11 manually, but please do so knowing that when/if your system breaks it’s up to YOU to repair it!