Tired of so much celebration around the 30th anniversary of Linux with Linux 5.14 ? Linus Torvals has the solution to cut his losses with the lag: a new version of the kernel , Linux 5.14 , which, as usual, arrives full of news.
Of course, Mr. Torvals is joking and in case anyone doubts it, he reminds the kernel maintainers that there is no party for them, because immediately after the launch of a new version of Linux, we must start working on the next one. .
In the meantime, what’s new in Linux 5.14? As always, a lot of everything, distributed among the usual suspects: hardware support (specific processors, graphics, devices or components, etc.), support for core technologies integrated into the kernel (file systems, security, process management, etc. ) and some other thing on the sidelines. In the absence of a list of what’s new for Linux 5.14 in Kernel Newbies , the Phoronix summary is a good place to start gathering information about this release.
Perhaps the most commented novelty of Linux 5.14 is the incorporation of core scheduling , a functionality that was already used by cloud service providers and that allows maintaining system security without the need to disable Hyper-Threading in Intel processors, a recommendation that It came at the height of the Specter vulnerability scandal and has persisted until now. That is, if you have disabled Hyper-Threading for security reasons, you can re-enable it once you are using Linux 5.14 or higher.
Hyper-Threading is the implementation of Intel’s SMT technology for multithreaded processing, allowing processes to run in parallel within a single processor. As they explain, core scheduling makes it easy to manage the “resources that a CPU core can share and ensure that potentially unsafe tasks are not executed in a sibling thread of a trusted task. By ensuring that trusted / untrusted tasks do not share a core over HT / SMT, Hyper-Threading can be kept enabled.
There is no lack of other improvements in the most diverse sections, including of course in the support of processors and graphics, with AMD and Intel as obvious protagonists: support for Intel Alder Lake, for the AMD Yellow Carp and Beige Goby GPUs, different improvements related to the AMDGPU driver… With respect to AMD, the arrival of support for AMD SmartShift is especially noteworthy , a technology that allows improving performance in notebooks with compatible AMD CPUs and GPUs, dynamically balancing the energy use between both components according to the workload.
In summary, Linux 5.14 is one more version of the kernel full of new features that we will not go into, because not even scratching the surface is feasible. However, there are some other novelties that are worth noting, such as the introduction of Dell’s mechanism to improve privacy in their notebooks, the support for the BIOS configuration of Lenovo ThinkPads; Raspberry Pi 400 support, improved USB4 support, Xbox One controller, better latency in USB audio controller…
Have we already mentioned that Linux 5.14 brings support enhancements here, there, and beyond? Well, you multiply it by a thousand, you add hundreds of other changes all over the place and you get an idea of the whole. As Torvals says, we continue… (we with other things).