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Usually, the release of a new version of the Linux kernel is an everyday routine that inspires enthusiasm only for users who expect a specific feature to appear. But now, in anticipation of the release of Linux 5.8, the situation is somewhat different. Over the past few weeks, a lot of publications on the new kernel version with a description of its capabilities have appeared on the network.
The new version, despite the fact that it has not yet been released, is considered a release with the maximum number of changes in the entire history of Linux. Over 1 million new lines have appeared in the release code. Most likely, it will be possible to evaluate the new product in the next couple of weeks - Linus Torvalds will release RC1 if nothing extraordinary happens.

In the meantime, we’ll discuss the list of changes .

So, the new core is optimized for working with the latest processors from Intel and AMD, a number of other chips and modules, and the ARM architecture. Network components were added, new open source AMD Radeon graphics drivers appeared. By the way, a stable version of this branch is expected around the end of summer - early fall. That is when Ubuntu 20.10 and Fedora 33 with support for the new kernel should appear.

The new core has the ability to configure flash arrays based on MLC as SLC. Microsoft exFAT driver was developed, SMB3, EXT4 and Btrfs are optimized. Also added DAX support for direct access to non-volatile memory.

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In addition, the Linux team has added the following innovations:

  • Support for encryption using Trusted Memory Zones on AMD GPUs;
  • Support for P2P/DMA clipboards between graphics accelerators (in particular, for fresh AMD);
  • AMD, NVIDIA, and Intel driver updates (including initial Gen12 support) as well as Habana Gaudi;
  • AMD Energy driver will finally open Zen/Zen 2 sensors for access;
  • Support for "live migration" with KVM for AMD processors will appear;
  • CPUFreq driver will get boost support;
  • PCIe NTB support for Intel Ice Lake Xeon;
  • Implemented initial support for the POWER10 architecture;
  • Patches have already become traditional against side-channel vulnerabilities for the main architectures and their optimization.

Good news for network administrators, engineers, and anyone involved in deploying hardware infrastructure! The new branch implements support for testing Ethernet cables at the program level . But for this feature to work, you also need hardware support, so that nothing purely new will “grow”.

It is known that approximately 40% of changes in the new kernel are related to drivers, 16% - to update the code for various processor architectures, 10% of changes are related to the network stack, 3% - to file systems.

The total number of innovations exceeded 14,000, and they affected about 20% of the files in the repository. Patch Size 5.8-rc1 - 61 MB.

Are you waiting for a new Linux release? Write what you think about the changes in the comments! .