A new version of the Linux kernel is available with a collection of important hardware, performance, and security improvements.
Announcing the Linux kernel 6.2 release on the Linux kernel developer mailing list (LKML), creator Linus Torvalds urges people to try it out, noting: “Maybe it’s not a sexy LTS release like 6.1 ended up being, but all those regular pedestrian kernels want some test love too.”
As you know, the Linux kernel is developed and maintained by a worldwide community of engineers and enthusiasts. While a great number of those who contribute to the Linux kernel do so as part of their day job, many others do it in their free time of their own accord, and on their own terms — and to them we are grateful!
With that gratitude in mind, let’s take a closer look at what’s new in Linux 6.2…
Linux 6.2: New Features
Fittingly for the first kernel release this year, Linux 6.2 serves up a substantial set of new hardware enablement, mostly notably out-of-the-box support for Intel Arc graphics and, staying with Intel, support for Intel’s On-Demand driver (their ‘in-app purchases for extra CPU features’ feature) in 4th-Gen Xeon CPUs.
Older Intel Skylake CPUs gain a performance boost with Call Depth Tracking, a feature Phoronix describes as a “less costly mitigation” than the Indirect Branch Restricted Speculation (IBRS) also designed to address the Retbleed CPU speculative execution vulnerability on these chips.
Linux 6.2 is the first version of the Linux kernel to offer mainline support for the Apple M1 Pro, Max, and Ultra chips as work done by Asahi Linux’s developers was upstreamed. This inclusion is formative so those looking for the best possible Linux experience on Apple Silicon should continue to use Asahi Linux kernel builds.
An update to the NTFS3 kernel driver includes a new
hidedotfiles mount option (to make files hidden when viewed on Windows); a new
nocase case-insensitive mount option to enable case-insensitive folders/files; and a new
windows_names mount option that prevents files/folders from being given names not allowed in Windows.
On the “new drivers” front there’s support for the Sony DualShock 4 gamepads in the Playstation HID driver; support for sensors and fans in the OneXPlayer gaming handheld; support for Habana Labs’ Gaudi2 AI accelerator; and a slew of hardware monitoring sensors in ASUS motherboards, including the Rog Crosshair VIII Exteme.
Other notable features in Linux 6.2:
- Early NVIDIA RTX 30/Ampere GPU support in Nouveau
- Updated Zstd compression code
- Miscellaneous Btrfs performance enhancements
- New mount options for Squashfs filesystems
- Foundational work to support Wi-Fi 7 and 800Gbps networking
- Faster file/folder creation in exFAT driver
- RISC-V support for persistent memory devices
- Intel IFS driver now stable
- Modest power savings for Intel Alder Lake N/Raptor Lake P
- USB 4 Wake-on-Connect/Disconnect support
- Support for ChromeOS Human Presence Sensor (HPS)
- Raspberry Pi 4K @ 60Hz display support
Want even more info on the latest release? Glance at Phoronix’s feature overview for top-level info, or dive in to the details with the LWN merge report 1 and LWN merge report 2.
Getting This Update
Linux 6.2 is available to download as source code right now, so you’re free to download and compile by hand.
As a fixed-release distro, Ubuntu does not make new kernel releases available to existing releases as a software update (though LTS releases do get periodic new kernel updates that are back-ported from later releases).
However, you can use Canonical’s mainline repo to install Linux 6.2 on Ubuntu based distros. This is not recommended as mainline builds undergo no testing or quality checks, do not come with support, and may not be issue-free — i.e. use at your own risk.