Linus Torvalds debuts ‘boring old plain’ Linux kernel 5.18 • The Register

Linus Torvalds debuts ‘boring old plain’ Linux kernel 5.18 • The Register


Linus Torvalds has released version 5.18 of the Linux kernel.

The publication of the maintenance manager announcing the launch was typical of the one he did for each of the eight candidates for the launch: this time he found no unpleasant surprises, the additions were neither important nor complex, and no failure affected the development process.

Torvalds asked developers to “run the boring old 5.18 plan” before getting excited about the upcoming 5.19 release.

This description is a bit harsh with the new core cut, which offers notable additions, such as software-defined silicon code that verifies cryptographically signed licenses to enable latent features on Intel silicon.

We asked Intel about this again, and the company won’t share details yet. We were told that Intel is “committed to developing flexible solutions that meet the unique demands of our customers and partners and lead the industry” and “We do not currently have product-specific details to share about feature activation.”

The mention of “feature activation” is at least new and Intel’s admission of intent. The Register will keep watching this one.

Other new features found in kernel version 5.18 include:

  • A host management port driver for AMD EPYC CPUs, which should improve the performance of the server in functions, including nested virtualization;
  • More virtual memory support for RISC-V;
  • Support for Tesla’s fully autonomous driving chip;
  • A solution to a long-standing problem with the Ceph file system that caused unnecessarily high CPU usage;
  • Fundamental work for Intel’s discrete graphics hardware;
  • Support for the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.

As always, Phoronix it carries a very detailed account of many more functions of the new core cut.

The kernel version 5.19 combo window is now open, which means that in nine or ten weeks Torvalds will be releasing another version of the project. There seems to be a lot of support for upcoming GPUs, additional enhancements for Apple’s M1 silicon, work in progress to make Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs and their multiple kernel types sing under Linux, and an interesting addition to enable code written for 32-bit RISC-V. silicon works with 64-bit hardware.

One thing that doesn’t seem to be on Torvalds’ agenda is future version naming conventions. The 3.x kernel series ended with version 3.19, before the 4.x series ended with 4.20. Perhaps the practice of the project of offering an annual version with long-term support (LTS) could come into play, as five kernel versions have been featured more often among these releases. A hypothetical Linux 5.20 would be a likely candidate for LTS, but choosing a Linux 6.0 name could also set a good precedent. ®



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