Linux Kernel 5.8 Reaches End of Life, Users Urged to Upgrade to Linux 5.9 Series

Linux Kernel 5.8 End

Believe it or not, the Linux 5.8 kernel series has reached end of life today with the 5.8.18 point release announced earlier by renowned kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman.

Released on August 2nd, 2020, the Linux 5.8 kernel series was dubbed as “one of the biggest releases of all time by Linus Torvalds. It brought numerous new features and enhancements, such as support for LZO-RLE compression in the F2FS file system, inline encryption support for the block layer, a new faccessat2() system call, a new initrdmem= boot option for specifying an initial RAM disk image, and a new CAP_PERFMON functionality.

“This is the LAST 5.8.y release to be made, this branch is now end-of-life. Please move to the 5.9.y kernel branch at this point in time,” Greg Kroah-Hartman.

It also introduced Branch Target Identification (BTI) support for ARMv8.5 and Shadow Call Stack support for the AArch64 (ARM64) architecture, mitigations for the Special Register Buffer Data Sampling (SRBDS) a.k.a. CrossTalk hardware vulnerability affecting certain Intel CPUs, as well as a new mechanism for revoking mappings in /dev/mem when a device driver takes over an overlapping memory range.

But, as all good things most come to an end, and since Linux kernel 5.8 was not a long-term supported branch, it will no longer receive further updates that address important bugs and security issues. Linux kernel 5.8.18 is the last update in the series, and if you’re using it you should consider upgrading to the latest Linux kernel 5.9 series as soon as possible after reading this.

Linux 5.9 was released on October 11th and it’s currently the latest stable kernel series. It brings support for the Unicore architecture, Zstandard (Zsdt) compression support for building x86 kernels, support for the x86 FSGSBASE instructions, inline encryption support for the EXT4 and F2FS filesystems, and support for Chrome OS embedded-controller regulators.

Furthermore, Linux kernel 5.9 introduces a new rescue= mount option and various performance improvements for the Btrfs file system, improved management of anonymous memory, full support for asynchronous buffered read operations in the io_uring subsystem, capacity awareness for the deadline scheduler, support for NVIDIA Tegra210 external memory controllers, and support for Intel “Keem Bay” Movidius VPUs.

It’s already considered a stable kernel branch and most rolling-release distribution have started adopting it. If you’re not using one of the many LTS (Long-Term Support) kernels, I highly recommend that you upgrade to Linux kernel 5.9 or switch to a distro that’s using it as soon as possible. Happy hacking!

Last updated 3 years ago

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