Linux Kernel 5.16 Officially Released, This Is What’s New

Linux Kernel 5.16

Linus Torvalds announced today the release and general availability of the Linux 5.16 kernel series as the next major kernel branch bringing new features and improved hardware support.

After two months of development, Linux kernel 5.16 is here to introduce the futex_waitv() kernel system call from Collabora, which promises to make your gaming experience faster when playing both native Linux games and Windows games via Wine.

Linux kernel 5.16 also adds support for Intel’s Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX) 64-bit programming paradigm for servers, cluster scheduler support to the task scheduler, a new fanotify event type for file system health reporting, a new page folios mechanism for faster memory management, and improved write congestion.

In addition, it brings KFENCE support for PA-RISC machines, support for ARM 8.6 timer extensions, Automatic Multicast Tunneling (AMT) support, updated Zstd (Zstandard) compression, the ability for the device-mapper subsystem to generate audit events, as well as audit support for the io_uring subsystem.

Other noteworthy changes include KVM support, BPF exception tables, and support for time namespaces to the RISC-V architecture, support for Snapdragon 690 processors, zoned namespace support for the Btrfs file system, multiple device support and LZMA compression support for the EROFS file system, and a new fragment allocation mode mount option for the F2FS file system.

On the mobile side of things, Linux 5.16 adds support for the Fairphone 4, Sony Xperia 10 III, Sony Xperia XZ1, Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact, Sony Xperia XZ Premium, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini Value Edition, Xiaomi Mi 5, Xiaomi Mi 5s, Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus, Xiaomi Mi Note 2, Xiaomi Mi Mix, and F(x)tec Pro1 QX1000 mobile phones, as well as the LG G Watch R smartwatch.

On the ARM device side of things, Linux 5.16 adds support for Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (CM4) board, ASUS Chromebook Tablet CT100 tablet, ROCK Pi 4A+ and ROCK Pi 4B+ boards, Netgear GS110EMX switch, Globalscale MOCHAbin 7040 board, as well as Kobo Libra H2O and tolino Vision 5 e-readers.

Last but not least, Linux kernel 5.16 also adds new features to the DAMON (Data Access MONitor) tool for monitoring memory access patterns specific to user-space processes introduced in Linux kernel 5.15 LTS, such as operation schemes, physical memory monitoring, and proactive memory reclamation.

Numerous drivers have been updated and new ones added to offer you the best possible hardware support for your GNU/Linux distribution. Noteworthy additions include support for Nintendo Joy-Con and Pro controllers, support for the Apple Magic Keyboard (2021), a new Realtek 802.11ax driver, support for the Sharp LS060T1SX01 panel, support for Surface Pro 8 and Surface Laptop Studio, Intel PXP support and support for Intel 13th-gen “Raptor Lake” processors, as well as initial DisplayPort 2.0 and USB4 DP tunnelling support for AMD GPUs.

You can download Linux kernel 5.16 right now from the website if you are an experienced Linux user or a GNU/Linux distribution maintainer who fancies compiling their own kernels. Everyone else will have to wait for the new Linux kernel series to land in the stable repositories of their favorite distributions, which should happen by the end of January 2022.

Last updated 2 years ago

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