Released the Linux kernel 5.6, here’s what’s new

Linux 5.6 is the latest stable version of the Linux kernel. In this post we will look at some of the new features and changes included in the update.

Linus Torvalds, Creator of Linux, has announced the latest update of the kernel in an email to the mailing list of the Linux kernel (LKML) on the weekends.

In short, this is a pretty significant upgrade of the kernel (even if not to take into account the inclusion Wireguard) with lots of improvements of network, file system and hardware drivers, included in the kit.

For those interested in what kernel will appear in the next release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS next month, the answer is the Linux kernel 5.4 and not the issue or the January issue of Linux 5.5.

All it related news, let’s move on to the new!

Top 6: Features Linux 5.6

1. WireGuard

5.6 Linux has built-in support WireGuard – a big deal for those who know what it is, and this is probably the main change in this update of the kernel.

What WireGuard?

Wikipedia defines WireGuard as a tool for tunneling secure VPN (virtual private network). He “works as a module inside the Linux kernel”, providing the best performance (and enhanced privacy), compared to other tunneling protocols.

Personally I do not use VPN, but I’m glad to know that the support of the next generation is, if – when – I change my mind.

2. Early support USB4

Series Linux kernel 5.6 first, which includes support USB4 (aka USB 4, although for some reason the style without spaces).

USB4 based on Thunderbolt 3 and (among other benefits) allow for high throughput and backward compatibility with USB 3.2 and USB 2.0.

At the end of this year is expected to launch a number of devices USB4 consumer-oriented, so although it is impractical, it is nice to know the Linux kernel well prepared.

3. Amazon Echo (purely neighing)

The inclusion of underlying support in the Linux kernel for Amazon Echo, the only smart loudspeaker with active voice of the giant in the retail trade, should amuse hardware hackers.

There is no practical use from loading Linux on Amazon Echo at the moment, but early support for new devices is important. It provides a Foundation on which to develop, create and run other software with open source alternatives to Alexa and custom software space.

For those who are interested, Amazon Echo is powered by a Texas Instruments OMAP3 SoC, 256 MB RAM memory and has an MMC-storage – not the most high-end components, right?

4. CPU driver cooling

At first glance, the sound of the new thermal driver “cpuidle_cooling” Linux 5.6 can give you an idea of the future without the radiator, but, alas, that is not happening.

This new generic thermal driver is a home-grown competitor for these the Intel drivers, but is not limited to specific processor architectures or vendors and does not require extra effort to get started.

As Phoronix concluded, “… the driver will enter the idle loop at run time when needed to cool the CPU, and to reduce any static power leakage”.

As far as I can tell, while this feature is enabled in Linux 5.6, it must be explicitly activated to get started – in General, take the time to make the trash your expensive cooling system.

5. The best hardware support

Every kernel update offers improved hardware support, ranging from SoC based on ARM developer boards, and pointing devices, as well as, sound cards, mice, keyboards and other things.

Linux 5.6 introduces support for several new SoC and Board for developers, including Pine HardRock64, workstation SolidRun HoneyComb LX2K and Qualcomm sc7180.

There are also updates temperature sensors for variety of platforms from Rockchip and Allwinner, as well as for Broadcom BCM2711 used in the Raspberry Pi 4 (among others).

Devices from Logitech, uses the HID ++ Protocol, can now report the battery voltage in Linux and the mouse Logitech MX Master 3 now works out of the box.

Finally, anyone who is running Linux 5.6 on a laptop ASUS AMD Ryzen must detect that the CPU no longer overheats quickly that previously reduced the performance – wow!

6. Sharing folders with VirtualBox

You may remember the plan to add driver support for shared folders Virtualbox (allowing users to instantly share folders between guest and host without using the guest additions package) in the Linux kernel.

The debut of implementation seems to have happened in Linux 5.4, but the function did not work as planned, and was postponed.

Well, this time the function returned, it works and, more importantly, remains in place to ensure unhindered access to the files.

To Install Linux 5.6

This is an overview of the big changes in Linux 5.6, but it is likely that you are wondering when they will try on their own, and it is difficult to answer.

Although you can install Linux 5.6, Ubuntu, Linux Mint and other distributions based on Ubuntu, using the master build, but this solution is not recommended.

And why is it not recommended? Because, class, repeat after me: the main kernel not so well tested, verified or perfected, as a regular kernel updates for Ubuntu!

Moreover, the new kernel releases for Ubuntu Linux not happen often and are usually associated with new releases of Ubuntu.

If you really can’t wait until Ubuntu will support this port (or later updates) in the future, at least wait for the first Linux release 5.6, which is due out in a week or two. At least there will be bugfixes, bugs discovered after release.

However, if you want to ignore all the recommendations to wait, the main kernel is running on the server kernel of Ubuntu.


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