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The latest Linux version features new and updated high-performance drivers, among other enhancements.

This week Linus Torvalds announced the release and general availability of Linux 6.3. The inventor of Linux noted that it had been a “calm release”. Torvalds seemed very pleased with how the new version has made its “controlled release cycle”.

The new kernel boasts drivers and updates to existing ones aimed at supporting high-end hardware. There are also several new features and enhancements.

New drivers and other features

Linux kernel 6.3 offers a new DRM accelerated driver for Intel VPU (Versatile Processing Unit) that supports VPU IP 2.7 integrated into 14th Generation Intel “Meteor Lake” client CPUs. Rust code support has also been added for x86_64 user-mode Linux, as well as AES-SHA2-based encryption for the NFS file system, and AMD’s “automatic IBRS” feature.

Additionally, the new kernel supports the “ZBB” bit-manipulation extension for RISC-V kernels and the kernel address-space layout randomization and relocation for the LoongArch architecture. In addition, Linux 6.3 offers full support for BPF trampolines on RISC-V and IMB Z (s390x) systems, support for Hyper-V extended hypercalls for KVM (x86), and support for ARM SME (Scalable Matrix Extension) 2 instructions.

Networking, Tablet and Device Support

Linux 6.3 now offers improved support for the PLCA (Physical Layer Collision Avoidance) Reconciliation Sublayer, according to a review in 9to5linux. Additionally, the new kernel offers a new socket option “to make it easier for multiple hosts to make outgoing connections through a NAT gateway, and support for multi-path TCP mixed flows for both IPv4 and IPv6”, 9to5linux says.

Furthermore, the Linux 6.3 kernel shows a string in device drivers. For example, there are new and updated drivers to support devices like Banana Pi R3 and Banana Pi BPI-M2 Pro SBCs, Samsung Galaxy tab A (2015) tablets, Rockchip RV1126 SoC, Orange Pi R1 Plus and Radxa Compute Module 3 IO single-board computers, Logitech G923 Xbox Edition steering wheel, EVision keyboards, and a new ath12k (mac80211) wireless driver for Qualcomm Wi-Fi 7 devices.

In his announcement, Torvalds advises that “the merge window for Linux 6.4 will open tomorrow” (April 24). “But in the meantime”, he adds, “let’s all enjoy (and test) the 6.3 release”.