Why it matters: Linux is the open-source kernel you can literally find everywhere these days, the heart of both popular consumer operating systems and the most complex hyperscale or cloud setups. Every new change to Linux can be a “scary” thing to manage, but the latest release should be a drama-free affair for most users.
Linus Torvalds announced on Sunday that the work on Linux 6.5 is now complete. The outspoken Finnish software engineer who brought the Free Open Source kernel to the world said that he did not find any valid excuse to delay the new release, which has been going smoothly because programmers were likely on their summer vacations.
Linux 6.5 arrives after seven weeks of testing on seven release candidate (RC) builds, bringing a short yet significant changelog with bugfixes and improved hardware support. The new kernel is better at managing the latest CPU architectures from Intel, with an improved load balancing on processors equipped with both performance and efficiency (low-energy) computing cores.
The latest Linux release also improves core management, performance balancing and power consumption on AMD “Zen” CPUs. Boot times on multi-socket servers with two or more CPUs working in parallel should be improved as well. Linux 6.5 brings support for the ACPI power management standard on the RISC-V architecture.
Speaking of RISC-V, the FOSS kernel has improved support for Alibaba’s Xuantie 910 chip. The Chinese giant wants to adopt its homegrown custom CPU to run and manage AI-based workloads, 5G devices and edge servers, where proper Linux support is an essential requirement. Linux 6.5 also introduces support for MIDI 2.0 in the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) for sound device management, an initial implementation of USB 4.2, Wi-Fi 7, and more.
The list of hardware devices officially (and properly) supported by the Linux kernel now includes Lenovo Yoga Book yb1-x90f/l, Nextbook Ares 8A tablets, Dell Studio 1569, Lenovo ThinkPad X131e (3371 AMD version), and Apple iMac11,3 laptops. And there’s room for temperature and humidity sensors (AHT20) as well.
Now that Linux 6.5 is done and companies can start compiling the kernel for their distros, Torvalds isn’t wasting any time by announcing that a new “merge window” for the new version (6.6) is already open. He already has around 20 new patches pending and “ready to go,” but he is also asking kernel developers to give the latest official release one last round of testing before diving into the next “merge frenzy” with new features and bugfixes.