Linus Torvalds announces the release of Linux 6.0

As has been known for a long time, the time has come for a version jump for Linux kernel development and Linux 6.0 is the new versiona release that Linus Torvalds has announced as always, without giving too much hype to the most striking, because as its creator himself acknowledges, nothing relevant changes.

“As I hope you’re all clear, this version number change has more to do with me running out of fingers and toes than it is about any big fundamental changes,” explains Torvalds, adding immediately afterward that “of course, there are many different changes in Linux 6.0: we have exceeded 15k commits […] and as such it is one of the largest releases at least in number of commits in a time”.

Thus, Torvalds follows the tradition, and is that the official reason why each version of Linux increases its higher numbering is the one he comments on, since the Linux sausage 2.6.40. Something that did not happen again, since with Linux 3.19 the jump was made to version 4, whose journey was extended to Linux 4.21… And with Linux 5.19 we have said goodbye to the most recent version: it arrived in March 2019 and said goodbye in August 2022 with its latest release.

But, as Torvalds himself also says, Linux 6.0 is a version that arrives full of changesas on the other hand is normal in each kernel release: tons of news that are divided between the improvement of hardware support, including graphic drivers, improvements in file system support, optimizations, security and a long etcetera, although when a kernel is dedicated to what it is dedicated to.

In the absence of Kernel Newies publishing the Linux 6.0 release notes, some of the main novelties of this version are collected as is also usual in Phoronix, such as the initial support for the new Intel Arc graphics, improved RDNA3 support for the next Radeon RX 7000, initial support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8xc Gen3 and the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s based on ARM… The usual trend.

Other new features in Linux 6.0 include a new audio driver for AMD Ryzen 7000, various improvements to Intel Raptor Lake, such as for USB4 and Thunderbolt connections, temperature monitoring for upcoming AMD CPUs, a new mitigation for Meltdown on ARM64 architectures, Scalability improvements with the XFS file system and performance improvements for SMB3 connections, improved swap performance on ARM systems thanks to the THP SWAP function, stabilization of the H.265/HEVC API…

As you can see, there are many changes that Linux 6 brings and these are only the ones that Phoronix has collected. Under the hood there are usually a lot of things. However, there is one that is worth commenting on separately: a new feature coming to the Linux kernel is the «runtime verification«, a measure that its author, the developer Daniel Bristot de Oliveira, explains as follows:

“Runtime Verification (RV) is a lightweight (yet rigorous) method that complements classical exhaustive verification techniques (such as model checking and theorem proving) with a more practical approach for complex systems.

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Instead of relying on a detailed model of a system (for example, a reimplementation of an instruction level), VR works by analyzing the actual execution trace of the system, comparing it to a formal specification of the system’s behavior.”

In short, this runtime verification is a new feature designed to keep the kernel secure in critical environments; a new security measure focused on the professional segment that Red Hat has been working on for years and that is finally introduced in the Linux kernel.

So far this brief review of what is new in Linux 6.0, although as we have already said, the flow of news is more or less the usual, while the highlight is, now, the numbering that opens the open source kernel. Thus, we inaugurate a new stage… just like the previous one. For more on this release, it’s worth waiting for Kernel Newies to do its thing, which is to offer a full, if not digestible, release note.

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