Shiny New Linux Kernel 5.8 Comes With Highest Number Of Commits


After seven release candidates, Linus Torvalds recently announced the new mainline Linux Kernel 5.8. The new release succeeds the latest stable Linux Kernel 5.7 including all the changes pulled out during the kernel 5.8 merge window.

Since Linux 5.8 received one of the highest numbers of merge requests during its merge window, Linus Torvalds dubbed it “the biggest release of all time.” Surpassing the previous record-holder Linux Kernel 4.9, 5.8 now consists of the highest number of over 17595 commits.

However, 5.8 is not the biggest release ever in terms of file changes and new lines. For more git status on any Linux kernel, check out the data aggregated by Thorsteen Leemhuis, who is also known as “The Linux Kernel Logger.”

Linux Kernel 5.8 Git Status
Linux Kernel 5.8 Git Status — Pic credit: Thorsteen Leemhuis

Linux Kernel 5.8: What’s New?

Speaking of new changes and features, Kernel 5.8 includes several updates that range from memory management, file system, hardware support, graphics, security, to new drivers, and more.

Here I’m listing down some key updates that Linux kernel 5.8 includes:

  • Support for swapping Fn and Ctrl keys on Apple keyboard
  • Intel Tiger Lake Thunderbolt support
  • Habana Labs Gaudi accelerator support
  • Initial support for booting POWER10 processors
  • Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer
  • Qualcomm Adreno 405, 640, and 650 GPUs driver support
  • Kernel Event Notification Mechanism
  • Support for Inline Encryption hardware
  • Support for Shadow Call Stack and Branch Target Identification in ARM64
  • Extended IPv6 Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) support
  • New ARM SoC and platform support
  • Initial support for booting POWER10 processors
  • Thunderbolt support for Intel Tiger Lake and non-x86 systems

Among other things, like previous releases, 5.8 has also continued to add improvements to open-source AMD Radeon graphics drivers, Microsoft exFAT drivers, EXT4, and Btrfs file systems.

The list does not end here. Hence, if you want to read a comprehensive list of updates, I would suggest you should visit Michael Larabel’s blog Phoronix. It tracks all new changes and pull requests sent to Linux Kernel 5.8.

How To Download Linux 5.8?

Now if you want to try the new kernel version, it is available to download from the official page here. However, if you’re using a rolling distribution like Arch Linux, you should most probably be able to get it by normally updating your system.

For other Linux distros that focus on stability like Debian or Ubuntu, it doesn’t make it available too early and also discourages to try it. But if you’re eager to get your hands on it, download it from the mainline kernel page for Ubuntu and install it manually.

Sarvottam Kumar

Sarvottam Kumar

Sarvottam Kumar is a software engineer by profession with interest and experience in Blockchain, Angular, React and Flutter. He loves to explore the nuts and bolts of Linux and share his experience and insights of Linux and open source on the web/various prestigious portals.
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