New Linux kernel releases seem to pop out quicker than they used to, but since they’re always chock full of welcome improvements I’m not complaining!

Linux 5.9 is the latest mainline kernel release to be issued. Linus Torvalds, father of the kernel, announced the new release using his trademark modesty , saying that “…nothing in [this update] gives me any particular reason to delay another week, here we are.”

As for Linux 5.9 features there are plenty but if you’re not much of a tech tinkerer, code connoisseur, or a detailed device denizien they won’t seem that interesting.

There’s better management of anonymous memory and a new slab memory controller that leads to lower overall kernel memory usage; while support for ZSTD-compressed kernel, ramdisk, and initramfs in the kernel boot process provides opportunities for faster boot times.

On the hardware side there’s early-bird support for the upcoming Radeon RX 6000 RDNA 2, Intel Xe and Intel Rocket Lake graphics; overdue inclusion of Intel FSGSBASE support (offering possible performance improvements on Ivy Bridge style chips); and there’s been more effort expended to support USB 4.0.

On the ARM front Schedutil is now the default CPU frequency scaling governor for ARM/ARM64; NVIDIA’s Tegra X1 and X2 SoCs now have working audio; a raft of single-boards (old and new) pick up support, including Lenovo’s IdeaPad Duet (an upcoming Chromebook based on the MT8183 (Helio P60t) SoC) and Allwinner sunxi revision v1.2 used in the recent versions of Pine64’s PinePhone. 

File-system tweaks also feature in Linux 5.9. The BTRFS, XFS, ext4, and F2FS file systems are among those gaining patches, tweaks, and tuning (with the former of these getting a new rescue mount option to group all existing mount options for better recovery).

Gamers with the 8bitdo SN30 Pro+ controller can enjoy rumble support with Linux 5.9 courtesy of Microsoft, no less.

Finally, if you happen to have one of Lenovo’s ThinkPad 10 Ultrabook keyboard (the detachable one) you will be pleased to hear that it finally works with Linux — support that only took six years to achieve!

Head over to Kernel Newbies for a super detailed breakdown of everything mentioned above plus lots more or go direct to the LKML to download the source code for this latest release (or the code for any other release you fancy).

Ubuntu 20.10 is due for release on October 22 but will come with Linux 5.8 as this version arrived after kernel freeze.

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