Version 5.18 of the Linux kernel has officially been released. The final release followed after eight release candidates. In the meantime, preparations for version 5.19 have started.

According to Linux chief Linus Torvalds, the final release of version 5.18 hasn’t undergone significant changes or updates since the latest release candidate. The development process concluded without a hitch. Torvalds notes that there are few reasons not to start running the newest version.

Functionality in v5.18

Version 5.18 includes functionality such as software-defined code for processors. The technology allows processor manufacturers to gate capacity behind licenses that can be unlocked at a moment of choice.

Other functionality includes a Host System Management Port driver for AMD EPYC processors. This feature should improve the performance of servers based on AMD EPYC processors. The 5.18 kernel also provides virtual memory support for RISC-V based chipsets and support for Tesla’s autonomous driving chip.

In addition, 5.18 fixes unnecessarily high CPU usage for the Ceph file system. There is also support for GPUs from Intel and the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.

Development of v5.19

Now that version 5.18 of the Linux kernel is final, the development of its successor has begun. The development process from a new release of the Linux kernel to a final version takes on average between nine and ten weeks.

5.19 is expected to support new processors, improve the Apple M1 chips and Intel Alder Lake processors, and allow various Intel multicore CPUs to run on Linux. Furthermore, the release is expected to include support for 32-bit RISC-V based processors on 64-bit hardware

Tip: Linux 5.17 is live: more support for RISC-V, AMD and Intel