Linus Torvalds announced today the general availability of the Linux 5.11 kernel series, the next major kernel branch bringing better hardware support and new features.
After being in development for the past seven weeks, Linux kernel 5.11 is finally here as the latest and greatest kernel series for GNU/Linux distributions and anyone else out there who wants to have the best possible hardware support on their machines.
Highlights of Linux kernel 5.11 include support for AMD “Van Gogh” and “Dimgrey Cavefish” GPUs in the AMDGPU driver, Intel SGX (Software Guard Extensions) support, a new system-call interception mechanism, support for task-local storage in the BPF subsystem, suspend-to-idle support in user-mode, big block mode support in the virtio-mem mechanism, and support for contiguous memory allocator in the RISC-V architecture.
Moreover, this kernel series introduces a new virtual bus for multi-function devices, new mount options in the Btrfs file system to assist you in recovering data from a corrupted disk or partition formatted with Btrfs, as well as KASAN support on 32-bit ARM systems, along with the ability to use 64-bit ARM memory tagging extension.
It’s now possible to mount Overlayfs filesystems within a user namespace by an unprivileged process and re-export filesystems mounted over NFS. Also, new ioctl() calls landed in the F2FS file system to give you control over compressed files, a new “needs repair” parameter in the XFS file system blocks mount operations until the file system is repaired, and the Ceph file system now supports the msgr2.1 protocol.
Security-wise, the new kernel series brings a new configuration option called DM_VERITY_VERIFY_ROOTHASH_SIG_SECONDARY_KEYRING that lets the dm-verity subsystem to verify hash signatures against certificates loaded during run time, and support for constant-action bitmaps in the seccomp() system call.
Networking-wise, Linux 5.11 adds support for the 802.1Q connectivity fault management mechanism, support for UDP encapsulation of the SCTP protocol, support for bridging PPP channels, as well as performance improvements to the zero-copy TCP receive API.
Of course, there are also numerous new and updated drivers included in the new kernel series, which add better support for new or existing hardware components, and there’s also numerous under-the-hood improvements and bug fixes to make the Linux kernel more stable and reliable.
You can download Linux kernel 5.11 as a source tarball right now from kernel.org, but keep in mind that you’ll have to compile it yourself in your GNU/Linux distribution. If you don’t know how to do that, I highly recommend that you wait for Linux kernel 5.11 to arrive in the stable software repositories before upgrading.
However, unless you need support for some specific hardware that’s only present in Linux kernel 5.11 and not yet backported to previous kernels, I suggest you stick with a long-term supported kernel series for now, such as Linux kernel 5.10 LTS, because Linux 5.11 is not an LTS (Long Term Support) branch.
Last updated 9 months ago