Linux Kernel 5.5 Officially Released, This Is What’s New

Linux kernel 5.5


The Linux 5.5 kernel series has been officially released today by Linus Torvalds, another major milestone that adds multiple new features and many hardware improvements.

Linux 5.5 has been in development for the past two months, since early December 2019, and it’s now available in a final state, but not yet ready to be used by the masses, which will happen as soon as the first point release hits the streets.

Highlights of the Linux 5.5 kernel series include a new Airtime Queue Limits (AQL) feature that allows the CoDel scheduling algorithm for the network scheduler to work effectively with wireless drivers using firmware/hardware offloading, which translates to better Wi-Fi connectivity.

There’s also the ability to use CIFS as root file system and SMB multichannel support, various improvements to the Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF), a new unit testing framework for the Linux kernel called KUnit, cross device offloaded copy for NFS clients, and the ability to add alternative names to network interfaces.

Another new feature of the Linux 5.5 kernel series is support for several checksum types for the Btrfs file system, including blake2b, SHA-256, xxhash, and non-cryptographical checksum. Also Btrfs gets RAID1 with 3- and 4- copies.

Of course, Linux kernel 5.5 is packed full of many other goodies, including new and updated drivers for improved hardware support, such as full support for the Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer. With the final release, the merge window for the Linux 5.6 kernel series is now officially open.

“That means that the merge window for 5.6 will open tomorrow, and I already have a couple of pull requests pending. The timing for this next merge window isn’t optimal for me – I have some travel and other things going on during the same two weeks, but hopefully it won’t be all that noticeable,” said Linus Torvalds.

As usual, you can download the source tarball from kernel.org if you want to compile it yourself or if you’re a Linux OS maintainer. Regular users will have to wait until Linux kernel 5.5.1 is out before upgrading from the stable software repositories of their favorite GNU/Linux distributions.

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