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Linux kernel 5.13 arrives: support for M1 chips and more security

Although many of us expected a new Release Candidate (the eighth, specifically), Linus Torvalds has decided that it was not necessary to extend the development of this new version any longer as the RC7 is a version that has hardly received any changes. The new Linux kernel 5.13 is one of the largest versions seen in recent years, with a total of more than 16,000 changes within the code that have come from the hand of more than 2000 developers. It is not a version that revolutionizes the kernel, but it is very important for the future.

What’s New in Linux Kernel 5.13

This new version of the kernel comes with a number of noteworthy internal changes. One of the most important and long-awaited is that, finally, it is compatible with Apple M1 processors released in the year 2020. In addition, the Intel driver has also been improved to reduce the temperature, the AMD Energy driver has been removed due to lack of support, and more changes related to the processors have been implemented, such as:

  • Fixed bugs in AMD Zen.
  • Perf compatible with Intel Alder and AMD Zen 3.
  • Improvements in RISC-V.
  • Support on Loongson 2K1000.
  • 32-bit PowerPC now supports eBPF and KFENCE.
  • Hyper-V support on 64-bit ARM processors.
  • Support for the AMD Crypto co-processor.
  • Support for Intel bus lock.
  • New KCPUID utility.

This new kernel has also updated everything related to graphics drivers. For example, initial support is added for the Intel Alder Lake S iGPU, as well as support for discrete Intel graphics has continued. In the case of AMD, support for FreeSync via HDMI and initial support for AMD Aldebaran has finally been added.

Other novelties that we can find are:

  • Possibility of using a Raspberry Pi Zero as an adapter for a USB monitor.
  • Support for Intel DG1 Platform Monitoring Technology telemetry.
  • Removed the POWER9 NVLink 2.0 driver.
  • Other improvements related to the rendering drivers.

In relation to storage we can also find quite a few changes. The most important are the improvements in the support of BTRFS, IO_uring performance improvements, new F2FS mount options, UBIFS compression on Zstd, and a large performance improvement on OrangeFS.

The network has also received a significant number of changes and corrections. For example, support for the WWAN subsystem has been added, VLAN performance has been improved, and support for Realtek RTL8156 and RTL8153D chips.

Other hardware-related news that we can find are:

  • Support for the Amazon Luna remote.
  • Support for new Realtek sound hardware
  • JPEG encoder / decoder.
  • Support for Apple Magic Mouse 2.
  • Now the keyboard and touchpad of the new Microsoft Surface work.
  • Updates on USB and Thunderbolt.
  • Energy improvements.
  • New WMI temperature controller for Gigabyte boards.

And, finally, in security we can also find several novelties. For example, the Landlock Linux module, which has been in development for years, is finally ready. We can also see how the Retpoline code has been simplified. And they have also included improvements to the integrity of the Clang CFI code and scrambling of kernel system calls.

How to download

If we have advanced knowledge within this system, and we want to compile it ourselves, on the Kernel website we can already find and download this new version of the kernel. However, most people usually opt for alternative methods to launch this new distribution.

If we have a Rolling Release system, in the next few hours we will automatically receive the new version as one more update, one of the advantages of this type of system. If not, we will have to wait for the next version of the distro that we use (such as Ubuntu) to be able to enjoy the news of this version of the kernel.

Finally, we can use a program called “mainline” that allows us to download and install the latest version of the kernel in any Ubuntu distro quickly, easily and safely.

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