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Linux Kernel 5.14 Officially Released, This is What’s New

Linux Kernel 5.14 Officially Released, This is What’s New
Linux Kernel 5.14 Officially Released, This is What’s New

Linux Kernel 5.14 Released

Linux is set for a big release this Sunday August 29, setting the stage for enterprise and cloud applications for months to come. The Linux Kernel 5.14 update will include security and performance improvements.

Less than two months in development, the Linux Kernel 5.14 kernel brings cool new features to the table, such as the merge of the core scheduling functionality to better protect our Linux computers against some Spectre vulnerabilities, the burstable CFS bandwidth controller, or the new mechanism for better controlling resource limits within user namespaces.

Boost Enterprise Application Security

Linux Kernel 5.14 introducing some major ARM updates and new hardware support across Network, Storage, Processor, Graphics, and Ports. Major updates include Core Scheduling, complete support for Raspberry Pi 400, Rockchip RK3568, Qualcomm SA8155p supports along with other SOC devices. Other than this, updates includes usual driver updates across the board.

The Linux 5.14 kernel release has gone through seven release candidates over the last two months and benefits from the contributions of 1,650 different developers. Those that contribute to Linux kernel development include individual contributors, as well as large vendors like Intel, AMD, IBM, Oracle and Samsung. One of the largest contributors to any given Linux kernel release is IBM’s Red Hat business unit. IBM acquired Red Hat for $34 billion in a deal that closed in 2019.

 

“As with pretty much every kernel release, we see some very innovative capabilities in 5.14,” McGrath said.

While Linux 5.14 will be out soon, it often takes time until it is adopted inside of enterprise releases. McGrath said that Linux 5.14 will first appear in Red Hat’s Fedora community Linux distribution and will be a part of the future Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 release. Gerald Pfeifer, CTO for enterprise Linux vendor SUSE, told TechCrunch that his company’s openSUSE Tumbleweed community release will likely include the Linux 5.14 kernel within “days” of the official release. On the enterprise side, he noted that SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP4, due next spring, is scheduled to come with the 5.14 kernel.

The new Linux update follows a major milestone for the open source operating system, as it was 30 years ago this past Wednesday that creator Linus Torvalds (pictured above) first publicly announced the effort. Over that time Linux has gone from being a hobbyist effort to powering the infrastructure of the internet.

McGrath commented that Linux is already the backbone for the modern cloud and Red Hat is also excited about how Linux will be the backbone for edge computing — not just within telecommunications, but broadly across all industries, from manufacturing and healthcare to entertainment and service providers, in the years to come.

The longevity and continued importance of Linux for the next 30 years is assured in Pfeifer’s view. He noted that over the decades Linux and open source have opened up unprecedented potential for innovation, coupled with openness and independence.

“Will Linux, the kernel, still be the leader in 30 years? I don’t know. Will it be relevant? Absolutely,” he said. “Many of the approaches we have created and developed will still be pillars of technological progress 30 years from now. Of that I am certain.”

Linux Kernel 5.14 – What’s New

Processor and Architecture Updates

Among the plethora of Arm hardware support changes to find with Linux 5.14 include:

  • Raspberry Pi 400 can now work completely with this Kernel, thanks to the work done for the past couple of months.
  • Rockchip RK3568 SoC support lands as well. Rockchip RK3568 chip is a high-range general-purpose SoC, made in 22nm process technology, integrated 4-core ARM architecture A55 processor and Mali G52 2EE graphics processor, supporting 4K decoding and 1080P encoding.
  • Qualcomm SA8155p automotive platform support lands. Qualcomm SA8155p SOC provides high-performance automotive infotainment, advanced driver assist platform for developing, testing, optimizing and showcasing next-generation in-vehicle infotainment solutions.
  • Initial support for the Sony Xperia 1/1II and 5/5II. These two models released a while back.
  • The World’s Smallest AI Supercomputer for Embedded and Edge Systems – NVIDIA Tegra Jetson Xavier NX audio support is added.
  • Various updates added for Qualcomm-powered Microsoft Surface Duo with SM8150 SoC.
  • Updates to DIY BananaPi M5 board is added.
  • The VirtIO-IOMMU driver now supported on x86/x86_64 architecture.
  • The RISC-V architecture also gets some important updates in this release. That includes, KFENCE (Kernel Electric Fence for memory safety error detection/validation), generic resource mapping, and more.

Graphics

  • More support for Intel Alder Lake P and Alder Lake M graphics cards.
  • AMD Beige Goby GPU Support is also added. Beige Goby is the new RDNA2 graphics card from AMD.
  • You can now hot-unplug AMD Raedon graphics cards with this Kernel release.

Storage

  • Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) sees improvements which brings read-only feature.
  • EXT4 file system received an important update. With the new code, a checkpoint can be triggered by a user, which calls ioctl to flush the journal. This can be accessible via user and can be beneficial for handling periodical journal cleanup.

Misc Updates

  • A new system call ‘memfd_secret’ is introduced which provides a ‘secret’ memory area which is only visible to owning processes.
  • Linux 5.14 has re-introduced support for improvements to lower the latency of its USB audio drivers. Managing audio via USB port would have lower latency – thanks to the support added. This has been tested with PipeWire, Jack and Pulse audio as well.
  • More supports being added for USB4. We are seeing continuous code addition over a couple of releases for this new specification.

 

Download and Install

How to Install in Ubuntu

You can install the mainline kernel packages from the below link right now in your latest Ubuntu or Ubuntu-based Linux distributions. But it is not recommended installing this as it might break the current Ubuntu Linux system whichever you are running (e.g Ubuntu 20.04 LTS). If you are running Debian, Ubuntu, and other stable releases – do not upgrade using the below steps. Instead, wait for an official update via your Linux distribution.

For general users, unless you are keen to experiment with the latest hardware whose support is added in this release, you should not update at the moment.

If you still want to install the latest Linux Kernel 5.14, follow the below instructions to install in Ubuntu-based systems.

Visit the mainline kernel page.

There are two types of builds available – generic and lowlatency. For common systems, you can download generic builds that work most of the time. For audio recordings and other setups that require low latency, download the lowlatency one.

Download below four packages for generic via terminal and install.

cd /tmp
wget -c https://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v5.14/amd64/linux-headers-5.14.0-051400-generic_5.14.0-051400.202108292331_amd64.deb
wget -c https://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v5.14/amd64/linux-headers-5.14.0-051400_5.14.0-051400.202108292331_all.deb
wget -c https://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v5.14/amd64/linux-image-unsigned-5.14.0-051400-generic_5.14.0-051400.202108292331_amd64.deb
wget -c https://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v5.14/amd64/linux-modules-5.14.0-051400-generic_5.14.0-051400.202108292331_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i *.deb

After installation, reboot the system.

The instruction for lowlatency and other architecture (ARM) installations are the same. Replace the package name in the above wget commands. You can find them on the mainline Kernel page.

If you are using Arch Linux, or Arch-based distribution, it is expected that Linux Kernel 5.14 release packages arrive within the September 2021 first week during monthly Arch .iso refresh.

Fedora 35 and Ubuntu 21.10 would feature Linux Kernel 5.14 once releases in Q4 2021.
Linux Kernel 5.15 development and merge window kicks off with this stable release.