Linux founder Linus Torvalds has now released a stable Linux 6.2 kernel update, bringing some new drivers, new features and more, as well as some hardware support and security improvements.
This is the first major kernel release update for Linux 2023. The Linux 6.3 merge window has officially opened today, and Linus says it has “over 30 pull requests already in the queue”.
After more than two months of work, Linux kernel 6.2 finally introduces Protected Load Balancing (PLB) for the IPv6 stack, support for Intel’s “asynchronous exit notification” mechanism, a new x86 FineIBT control flows integrity mechanism, and further improvements to the new Rust infrastructure.
On the hardware side, Linux 6.2 improves the stability of Intel’s Razzle graphics cards (DG2 / Alchemist) to be truly bootable. Intel’s On Demand drivers are now available for 4th generation Xeon Scalable “Sapphire Rapids” CPUs, and initial support for NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series “Ampere ” graphics cards, graphics acceleration using the Nouveau open source code, and upstream support for the Apple M1 series.
Developer Asahi Linux noted that the Linux-based operating system now has support for a wide range of Apple chips, including the M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips.
The new release also incorporates deep call tracking to help improve performance on older Intel Skylake-era PCs and brings various file system driver enhancements, security improvements, and other optimizations.
Linux 6.2 also comes with a new tool called RV (runtime verification) that controls the operation of the runtime verification subsystem, a new framework for handling compute-accelerated devices, support for user-defined BPF objects, and a new sysctl knob to control how the split-lock detector works when in “warning” mode on x86. “mode on x86.
In addition, the LongArch architecture supports ftrace, hibernation, hang and stack protection, zram devices now offer better compression, the fscrypt mechanism now supports the SM4 encryption algorithm, and memory naming has been extended to allow naming of shared anonymous memory regions.
Other changes include new mount options for the NTFS3 file system, the ability to build kernels that do not support NFSv2, support for the F2FS file system to write data to files and truncate it to a single atomic operation, the ability to enable trace triggers at boot time, and a new user space API to control the I/O memory management unit.
Notably, the new release also adds a new TDX guest driver that exposes the IOCTL interface to service Intel TDX guest requests, improved support for NVMe devices, DCN support on ARM, a new GC 11.x firmware release, GFX preemption support for GFX9, Ampere acceleration support, NVA3 backlight support, and Qualcomm SM6115 support.
Linux 6.2 also adds support for keys such as the command key on Apple’s keyboard, basic support for the Sony DualShock4 USB controller, and open source support for the MediaTek MT6370 I2C Sub power management chip in the OrangePi 4G-IoT.
Linux 6.2 is expected to be the default kernel for Ubuntu 23.04 and is expected to appear in Fedora 38 before the launch of the successor v6.3 kernel in late April. The new kernel can be downloaded from kernel.org.