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Linux Kernel 5.6 Officially Released

Linus Torvalds has announced the Linux kernel 5.6 with highly anticipated improvements including support for WireGuard VPN.

Torvalds says in the official announcement that the development of the next kernel update is unlikely to be impacted substantially by the new coronavirus outbreak, as most engineers are typically working from home anyway.

However, he does admit that a slowdown is expected due to social distancing and the pandemic.

“And while 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, and my daughter laughed at me and called me a “social distancing champ” the other day - it may be worth just mentioning: I think we’re all reading the news and slightly distracted,” Torvalds said.

“I’m currently going by the assumption that we’ll have a fairly normal 5.7 release, and there doesn’t seem to be any signs saying otherwise, but hey, people may have better-than-usual reasons for missing the merge window. Let me know if you know of some subsystem that ends up being affected.”

What’s new in Linux kernel 5.6
As for what’s new in this fresh release, there’s no doubt the main highlight is the addition of WireGuard VPN support, which is pretty good news for everyone who wants to switch from IPsec. And of course, there are lots of other notable improvements, including an early implementation of USB 4 as well as support for Amazon’s Echo smart speaker.

As for why Linux 5.6 landed so fast at a time when some people expected another release candidate, Torvalds says it’s all because the changes that are included in this version aren’t worth holding back the announcement.

“I looked over the diff, and none of it looks scary. It’s just slightly more than I’d have preferred at this stage - not doesn’t really seem worth delaying a release over,” he says.”

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