Linus Torvalds Kicks Off the Development of Linux Kernel 5.6, First RC Is Out Now

Linux kernel 5.6 RC1

Linus Torvalds has released today the first RC (Release Candidate) milestone of the upcoming Linux kernel 5.6 series, kicking off the one and a half months long development cycle.

The two-week merge window for Linux 5.6, which opened with the release of the Linux 5.5 kernel series on January 27th is now officially closed as Linus Torvalds announced the availability of the first Release Candidate (RC).

“This was actually a slightly smaller merge window than usual, but I think that what happened is simply that the holiday season impacted new development. It impacted the 5.5 rc series less than I had expected, but seems to instead have caused 5.6 to have slightly less development than normal,” said Linus Torvalds.

You can download the first Release Candidate right now from if you want to take it for a test drive and report issues. But please keep in mind that this is a pre-release version, so don’t use it on a production machine.

Linux 5.6 is expected in late March or early April 2020

The development cycle of a Linux kernel series usually takes about seven or eight weeks, depending on how many RC milestones Linus Torvalds decides are necessary or appropriate for a new release to be reliable.

Therefore, simple math tells us that we should expect the Linux 5.6 kernel series to hit the streets sometime at the end of March, on the 29th, if there’s only seven RCs, or in early April, on the 5th, if there’s eighth RCs.

Linux 5.6 promises to be a great release that you may want to upgrade to, and that’s mostly because of the integrated support for the WireGuard VPN (Virtual Private Network) protocol.

Among other interesting changes included in the upcoming Linux 5.6 kernel series, we can mention USB4 support, a new Zonefs file system developed by Western Digital and designed to run on zoned block devices, as well as numerous hardware improvements, especially for AMD users.

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