In essence this new release is a rebranding of the 4.21 kernel, however it does come with some interesting features. The jump to 5.0 from 4.21 was quite a shock to some users, but as Linus Torvalds put it, “I ran out of fingers and toes to count on.” Still, regardless of the numbering, 5.0 does bring some much-needed support and additional extras to the Linux table.
Raspberry Pi users get touchscreen support, for one, and there are numerous GPU drivers and features available, too. AMD now has native FreeSync support, and there’s support for the new VegaM Radeon cards, alongside support for NVIDIA’s Turing GPUs – but only kernel mode-setting so far and sadly no hardware acceleration on Nouveau.
There’s ongoing work Spectre V2 and its kind, as well as work relating to the Year 2038 issue – whereby the 32-bit UNIX time format will, essentially, run out of seconds. There’s also initial support for the NXP i.MX8 SoCs along with the MX8 reference board. 5.0 now includes out-of-the-box support for the Cortex-A5 RDA Micro RDA8810PL processor, and there’s ground work included to pave the way for the next generation of AMD CPUs.
The Linux filesystem sees a few tweaks added. EXT4 and XFS fixes are available, plus there’s faster data encryption with support for Fscrypt Adiantum. Improved networking drivers, peripheral drivers, and a host of other goodies are also included. It’s also nice to see some of the older, inherent drivers being laid to rest; such as ISDN.
In short, 5.0 is set to be an extremely worthwhile release. Although currently still in RC1, you can expect the official release to the public probably around mid to late February.