As of today, Canonical’s upcoming Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) operating system is now powered by the Linux 5.8 kernel series, which will also be the kernel used in the final release.
It finally happened! The Linux 5.8 kernel packages have landed today in the main archives of Ubuntu 20.10, due for release next month on October 22nd. Until today, they were kept in the proposed repositories for a few weeks now, most probably to ensure proper testing.
I have already foreseen that Ubuntu 20.10 will be shipping with Linux kernel 5.8 by default as there’s no other kernel Canonical’s Ubuntu development team could have used for the final release.
Development kicked off, as usual, based on the previous Ubuntu release. In this case, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) and Linux kernel 5.4 LTS, which is supported until year 2025. But, Ubuntu 20.10 being a testbed for Canonical to experiment with new features for the next LTS release, it will be using a newer kernel.
Linux kernel 5.8 was released at the end of May 2020 with new features like a new initrdmem= boot option for specifying an initial RAM disk image, mitigations for the SRBDS (Special Register Buffer Data Sampling) a.k.a. CrossTalk hardware vulnerability affecting certain Intel processors, and support for Nvidia Tegra video input controllers.
It also brings Branch Target Identification (BTI) and Shadow Call Stack support for the AArch64 (ARM64) architecture, inline encryption support for the block layer, support for AMD SPI controllers, support for Rockchip video decoders, a new event-notification mechanism, support for LZO-RLE compression in the F2FS file system, and much more.
Ubuntu 20.10 has recently entered Feature Freeze stage in its six-month-long development cycle, which means that only important bug fixes will land from now on, no new features. According to the release schedule, the Kernel Freeze stage takes place October 8th.
Until then, we’re waiting for Ubuntu 20.10 Beta to hit the streets, which will happen on October 1st, so we can get an early taste of the new features and improvements for the Groovy Gorilla.
Besides Linux kernel 5.8, the final release will also ship with the upcoming GNOME 3.38 desktop environment by default, due for release on September 16th.
Last updated 3 months ago