Previous Page
PCLinuxOS Magazine
Article List
Next Page

Linux 5.8 Kernel: Biggest Release In Years

by Paul Arnote (parnote)

"So I didn't really expect this, but 5.8 looks to be one of our biggest releases of all time," said Linux headmaster Linus Torvalds on the Linux Kernel Mailing List when he made the announcement of the Linux Kernel 5.8 rc1 on June 14, 2020.

Later in his announcement, Torvalds went on to describe just how big of a release the 5.8 kernel was, by the numbers: over 14,000 non-merge commits (over 15,000 if you count merges), 800,000 new lines of code, and over 14,000 files changed.

Fast Forward to August 2, 2020, when Torvalds made this post to the Linux Kernel Mailing List:

So I considered making an rc8 all the way to the last minute, but decided it's not just worth waiting another week when there aren't any big looming worries around.

Thus, the Linux Kernel 5.8 was released. And the release is huge. Below are some of the changes and enhancements, as gleaned from multiple Linux news reports on the new kernel, and the Linux Kernel Mailing List.


  • The AMD Energy Driver was merged, and exposes the Zen/Zen2 energy sensors on Linux.

  • AMD Ryzen 4000 Renoir temperature and EDAC support.

  • Nested AMD live migration with KVM now supported.

  • PCIe NTB support for Ice Lake Xeon servers.

  • New Arm SoC and platform support.

  • Tightened Arm 64-bit security with now supporting Branch Target Identification (BTI) and the Shadow Call Stack.

  • XSAVES supervisor states support, Memory Bandwidth Monitoring Counters, and other x86 (x86_64) updates.


  • Qualcomm Adreno 405 / 640 / 650 open-source support.

  • AMDGPU TMZ support with Trusted Memory Zones for encrypted video memory.

  • Intel Tiger Lake SAGV support and other Gen12 graphics updates.

  • Radeon Navi/GFX10 soft recovery support.

  • The Radeon driver also now better handles critical thermal faults.

  • Nouveau support for NVIDIA format modifiers.

Miscellaneous Hardware Support

  • Intel Tiger Lake Thunderbolt support as well as ComboPHY support for Intel's Gateway SoCs.

  • Support for Thunderbolt on non-x86 systems.

  • The possibility of significant power-savings for motherboards with PCIe to PCI/PCI-X bridges.

  • Peer-to-peer DMA for AMD Raven and Renoir.

  • Restoring the Intel Atom (AtomISP) camera driver.

  • Numerous power management updates.

Storage & File Systems

  • A block device back-end for Pstore in saving oops/panic messages to disk.

  • ERASE/Discard/TRIM support for all MMC hosts rather than being opt-in previously.

  • F2FS LZO-RLE compression support is added for this flash optimized file-system.

  • Microsoft exFAT driver improvements, courtesy of Samsung.

  • SMB3 performance work for large I/O.

  • Assorted fixes for EXT4.

  • Improved DAX support for direct access on persistent memory storage.

  • Various Btrfs improvements.

General Improvements/Enhancements

  • Jitter RNG improvements and landing of the Arm CryptoCell CCTRNG driver. AMD PSP SEV-ES support is also part of the crypto updates.

  • The Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer has been merged with KCSAN helping to detect race conditions in the kernel and has already been used for uncovering dozens of real bugs.

  • Scheduler optimizations.

  • A general notification queue initially wired up for notifying on key/keyring changes.

  • SELinux optimizations.

  • Modernization improvements for Procfs, with it now supporting private procfs instances.

If you want to read more about what's in the new Linux 5.8 Kernel, you can look on Phoronix, ZDNet, TechRepublic, ItsFOSS, and other computing and Linux news outlets. News about the new kernel was/is everywhere.

More To Come

Closer to home, Texstar has already started working on making the new Linux kernel available to PCLinuxOS users. As of the time of the writing of this article, the new kernel is in the testing section of the PCLinuxOS repository. Most likely, it will be moved from testing to the regular repository by the time you read this.

Meanwhile, Linus Torvalds has already released Linux Kernel 5.9 (rc1) on August 16, 2020, just two weeks after releasing the 5.8 kernel to the masses. Not resting on his laurels or accomplishments, work is continuing where work on 5.8 left off.

Previous Page              Top              Next Page