Linux Kernel 6.6 Officially Released, This Is What’s New

This release includes the long-awaited Intel shadow-stack security feature that protects Intel processors against stack-overwrite attacks.
Linux Kernel 6.6

Linus Torvalds announced today the final release of the Linux 6.6 kernel series as a major update that introduces several new features, updated and new drivers for better hardware support, and other changes.

Highlights of Linux kernel 6.6 include the long-awaited Shadow Stack hardware security feature to protect your Intel CPUs against stack-overwrite attacks, a new firmware-attributes driver for changing BIOS settings from within Linux on HP devices, a new eventfs subsystem for better memory efficiency of the tracing subsystem, and new IIO and Intel IVSC MEI drivers.

Linux kernel 6.6 also comes with support for changing charger mode, middle fan, and eGPU settings for ASUS devices, support for keyboard backlight control on more Lenovo IdeaPad devices, support for new Mellanox-powered devices, as well as support for new device tree interfaces, support for kernel address-space layout randomization, KASLR support, and support for the BPF prog pack allocator on the RISC-V architecture.

On top of that, Linux kernel 6.6 comes with zoned block device and compression support improvements for the F2FS file system, support for shared mmaps in no-cache mode for the FUSE file system, fixes for netfilter and BPF, numerous fixes for the AMDGPU driver, regression fixes for MIDI 2.0 support, and better Intel RAPL power management.

A just-in-time BPF compiler has been added to the PA-RISC architecture, hotplug SMT support is now available for the PowerPC architecture, the mount API gained a new flag to prevent a mount from sharing in-kernel superblocks with other mounts, support for SEV-SNP and TDX guests are now supported on Hyper-V, and the io_uring subsystem received initial support for network operations.

KASAN, KCOV, KDB, KFENCE, KGDB, and other kernel tools are now supported on the LoongArch architecture, support for zoned-storage devices landed for the ublk user-space block driver, the tmpfs filesystem now supports quota, direct I/O, and extended attributes, support for NFSv4 write delegations arrive for the in-kernel NFS server, and the in-kernel SMB3 file system introduced in Linux kernel 5.15 is now finally considered stable.

There’s also improved hardware support on Linux kernel 6.6 thanks to USB MIDI 2 gadget support, support for the Cirrus Logic CS42L43 audio codec, support for Group Multi-Color (GMC) LEDs, support for the GameSir T4 Kaleid controller, KFENCE, KASAN, KGDB, and KDB support for the LoongArch architecture, and support for NVIDIA T4 GPUs to use Secondary Bus Reset.

Linux kernel 6.6 is available for download right now directly from Linus Torvalds’ Git tree or from the website. However, you’ll have to compile it on your GNU/Linux distribution. If that’s not your cup of tea, you’ll have to wait for Linux 6.6 to arrive in your distro’s stable software repositories.

Last updated 6 months ago

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