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On Sunday 3rd March, Linus Torvalds has announced the release of Linux Kernel 5.0, a new branch of the foundation of the GNU/Linux operating system.

Does this new branch mean something special, or it’s just a different way to give a name to the Linux kernel (instead of using 4.22).

Historically, the Linux kernel naming was used to define different braches with a different scope: “feature and develop” branch or “stable” branch.

But in the last decade, this differentiation was no more used and Torvalds himself is going to provide a clarification:

I’d like to point out (yet again) that we don’t do feature-based releases, and that “5.0” doesn’t mean anything more than that the 4.x numbers started getting big enough that I ran out of fingers and toes.

What are the main improvements of version 5.0? Mainly a lot of new hardware support and filesystem fixes:

  • AMD Radeon FreeSync support
  • Support for a new VegaM
  • NVIDIA Xavier display support
  • Continued work on Intel Icelake Gen11 graphics
  • Initial support for the NXP i.MX8 SoCs
  • Support for the Allwinner T3, Qualcomm QCS404, and NXP Layerscape LX2160A
  • Intel VT-d Scalable Mode support for Scalable I/O Virtualization
  • New Intel Stratix 10 FPGA drivers
  • Fixes for F2FS, EXT4 and XFS
  • Btrfs file-system restores support for swap files
  • Fscrypt Adiantum support for helping with fast data encryption on low-end hardware. This replaces the infamous Speck algorithm by NSA.
  • Realtek R8169 driver improvements
  • Logitech High Resolution Scrolling support
  • Raspberry Pi Touchscreen driver
  • x86 laptop drivers improvement
  • Thunderbolt security enhancement
  • Support for the Chameleon96 Intel FPGA board

For more information see also:

How upgrade your kernel?

This is a great question… usually the different Linux distribution include quite old version of the Linux kernel with some of the bug fixed back-ported on their kernel… that are no more vanilla kernel.

But there are several different solutions.

For example, on CentOS (or RedHat) distribution you can simply add the ELRepo Project source in your package manager.

For a CentOS 7:

rpm --import
yum install -y

Now you can upgrade you kernel with yum (the new kernel is a package named “kernel-ml”).