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Linux 6.5 kernel arrives with exciting new features

This major Linux kernel update brings numerous new features, improvements, and hardware support.

Back in July, Linus Torvalds was worried the next update of the Linux kernel might be “one of those releases that may drag out” because most of Europe goes on vacation during August.

It turns out that his worries were for nothing — and the new release has arrived: “Nothing particularly odd or scary happened this last week, so there is no excuse to delay the 6.5 release,” announced Torvalds on 27 August.

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Yet despite the release of Linux 6.5, Torvalds remains slightly concerned: “I still have this nagging feeling that a lot of people are on vacation and that things have been quiet partly due to that. But this release has been going smoothly, so that’s probably just me being paranoid.”

To that end, he encourages developers to give “this final release one last round of testing.” So, before you get too wrapped up in building new releases on top of Linux 6.5, developers would be wise to check out the new kernel carefully before deploying it.

Some of the developers who are likely to be eager to build on the new release include those working on Linux distros, such as Arch, who often leap at the latest releases, and those working on the upcoming Ubuntu 23.10, whose developers plan on using Linux 6.5.

Also: 8 things you can do with Linux that you can’t do with MacOS or Windows

For developers who want to get testing, what do we get with this new version of Linux? Tha simple answer is: lots of things.

The biggest news for servers — and cloud Linux users — is AMD Ryzen processors’ P-State support. This support should mean better performance and power use across CPU cores. Intel Alder Lake CPUs have also received improved load balancing in a related development.

RISC-V architecture fans will be pleased to find Linux now has Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) support. ACPI is used in Linux and other operating systems for power management. It’s vital for laptops and other battery-powered systems.

For better security, people using virtual machines or sandboxes based on Usermode Linux for testing, or running multiple versions of Linux at once, now have Landlock support. Landock is a Linux Security Module that enables applications to sandbox themselves by selecting access rights to directories. It’s designed to be used by unprivileged processes while following the system security policy.

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To make talking with the rest of the world easier, Linux 6.5 now supports USB 4v2. This new USB-C standard will support up to an eye-watering 120Gbps.

And while we’re still getting used to Wi-Fi 6E, the Wi-Fi Alliance is already working on bringing us Wi-Fi 7. When Wi-Fi 7 arrives, with its theoretical maximum speed of 46Gbps, Linux will be ready.

As usual, the new Linux has many more built-in audio and graphics drivers.

Also: The best Linux distros for beginners

There is, however, one feature that didn’t make it into Linux 6.5. That’s the Bcachefs filesystem. This copy-on-write filesystem is intended to be more reliable and robust than its rivals. The filesystem supports multiple devices, replication, erasure coding, compression, encryption, snapshots, and caching.

While the Bcachefs filesystem looks good, there’s been a lot of developers fighting about the development process. These personal arguments have led Torvalds to decide not to incorporate Bcachefs into Linux 6.5. Hopefully, all these issues will be calmly resolved — and Bcachefs will finally make it into Linux 6.6.”

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