Helping round off August with aplomb is the official release of Linux kernel 6.5 — which arrives days after the kernel celebrated its 32nd birthday.

Linus Torvalds announced Linux 6.5’s arrival on the official Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) as he always does, where he says that “nothing particularly odd or scary happened this last week [of development], so there is no excuse to delay the 6.5 release”.

Read on for a drop more detail about the many improvements, enhancements, and merriments the latest stable kernel release brings with it.

Linux Kernel 6.5 New Features

Those running Linux 6.5 on devices equipped with AMD Ryzen Zen 2 or newer should expect performance gains and improved power efficiency. This is because the kernel now defaults to using AMD P-State EPP driver. Phoronix benchmarks on this show promising results.

Linux 6.5 can “parallelize” CPU bringup on large x86 systems. This, LWN say, will “reduce the time to get all processors online by as much as a factor of ten” — which is impressive. Alas, as mentioned, this is aimed more at servers et al – so don’t expect faster initialisation on regular laptops and PCs.

The EXT4 file-system (Ubuntu’s default) gains faster parallel direct I/O overwrites; Btrfs gets various misc performance bumps; and there is an assortment of fixes and buffs to the Paragon NTFS3 driver.

Using a Microsoft Xbox controller for Linux gaming? You’ll be pleased to hear there’s a tactile enhancement here as more controllers support rumble in Linux kernel 6.5. Still with gaming, those using an ASUS ROG Ally will be pleased to hear (heh) sound issues are resolved in 6.5.

Other assorted changes:

  • Intel TPMI supported for managing power management features
  • AMD FreeSync now enabled by default
  • Support for unaccepted memory
  • Formative support for MIDI 2.0 and USB4 v2
  • Kernel’s Rust support upgraded to Rust 1.68.2
  • RISC-V supports ACPI and Vector extension
  • Support for NVIDIA SHIELD devices
  • Further Wi-Fi 7 enablement

For more details go scour Phoronix’s feature recap, or sift through LWN’s exhaustive merge report.

Getting Linux 6.5

You can download Linux kernel 6.5 from the kernel.org website (assuming you’re a dab hand at compiling things from source).

Users of rolling-release distros are likely to receive this kernel as an update in the near future, while some fixed-release distros, like Pop!_OS, will also issue this update to their users via standard software update channels. 

Ubuntu users desperate for the update can consider Canonical’s mainline builds but as these mainline builds come with no support, testing, or performance assurances they’re not recommended.

Ubuntu LTS users will be able to install mainline Linux 6.5 via Stéphane Graber’s new repo once the first bug-fix update is issued (expected in a few weeks time).


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