In this post, we’re covering all the latest Linux news. And we have a LOT of news to talk about, including Linux Mint’s new look, Linux Lite 5.6, Predator-OS features, Debian 11, and the release dates for Ubuntu 21.04 and 22.10! But first, let’s talk about one of the biggest developments: the Linux 5.14 kernel. Let’s jump right in!
Linux 5.14 kernel is now GA
In last month’s episode of Linux This Month, I mentioned the first release candidate milestone for the 5.14 kernel indicating the first development release was available for public testing, but this wasn’t a production-ready release. Now, I’m happy to announce that the 5.14 kernel has been publicly released as GA, which means that it’s generally available to the public and is now production-ready.
Linus Torvalds made this announcement just a few days after the 30th anniversary of Linux! I’m really excited about this release because it’s full of security and performance improvements that are valuable for both Linux users and cloud users alike.
The Linux kernel is at the head of the Linux operating system which runs roughly 90% of the public cloud workload. Also, this release has been through seven release candidates, so it’s a fully tested, stable release.
My favorite features to note in this release include:
- Mainline support for the Raspberry Pi 400, which, if you’re a gamer, you’ve probably already seen this computer and keyboard in one that you can connect to your TV. I’m very happy to see this device being added to mainline support.
- This release also has better hardware support for a multitude of other hardware types, including core processing and improvements to Intel and AMD graphics drivers. And again, who doesn’t love more graphics and hardware support?
- Core scheduling has been added to help mitigate Spectre and Meltdown attacks as well as other modern CPU vulnerabilities where unprivileged users can access the kernels memory. This new feature supports performance and security, which are both especially important components in cloud computing. Previous mitigations required disabling CPU hyper threading which caused a performance impact. Core scheduling enables the separation between trusted and untrusted tasks so that they don’t share a CPU core. This limits the risk of attack while maintaining cloud-level performance.
- Lastly, a new system call, called memfd_secret() was added, that can create secret memory spaces for applications, that even the kernel can’t access. And I really love this feature because we’re finally starting to resolve some of the CPU vulnerabilities we’ve seen in the past with unprivileged attackers being able to access privileged memory space.
For a full list of new features and improvements, check out the release notes at kernel.org, where you can also compile the kernel by hand on your choice of Linux distributions.
Debian 11, also known as Bullseye, has been released
As of August 14, 2021, Debian Bullseye is now generally available. This stable, long-term support version will be supported until August 2026.
This release was under development for 2 years, 1 month, and 9 days, and it contains over 11,294 new packages for a grand total of 59,551 packages in this release. Also, over 72% of the packages from the last release have been updated. Those are a lot of updates, but what I can say is that Bullseye is the first Debian release to provide a kernel that supports the exFAT filesystem. And nine different architectures are supported, including .intel, little-endian, and ARM architectures.
This release also activates its persistent journal by default so you’ll get that extra logging by default and won’ t be wasting any time setting it up. You can test this version featuring multiple desktop environments without installing it by accessing it at https://debian.org/CD/live which allows you to run the full read-only OS in your computer’s memory.
Linux Mint gets a new look
Linux Mint is redesigning the look and feel of their website — as well as their operating system.
Linux Mint announced that their new website design is 75% completed, and will be deployed this month. They also said that they’re reviewing the look and feel of Linux Mint itself. Mint-X is reworking in-app notifications as well as improving the Nemo toolbar. Mint-Y is being streamlined to simplify light and dark themes as well as new artwork for icons. The full list of features is available at Linuxmint.com.
Linux Lite 5.6 is available (and a solid Windows 11 alternative)
Linux Lite 5.6 FINAL was released on August 31. This OS is a stable release based on Ubuntu 20.04.3 and ships with the Linux 5.4.0-81 kernel.
It uses the XFCE desktop, which is a somewhat familiar desktop environment for people switching from Windows. And with major changes coming with Windows 11, this could be a great option for people who would like to try a Linux distribution instead of upgrading their existing system to support the new Windows 11 system requirements.
This release includes the introduction of the “’pay what you can” digital download model . . . but the team emphasizes that Linux Lite will always be free. The latest release includes an easier installation directly from the Lite Welcome interface, updated icon themes, 7 new wallpapers, Python 3, Firefox 91.0.1, and LibreOffice 18.104.22.168
Ubuntu 22.04 LTS coming April 2022
Canonical is now finishing up Ubuntu 21.10, which is projected to be released on October 14, 2021. They’ve also projected that the next major release, Ubuntu 22.04 Long Term Support, will be released on April 21, 2022. So you can upgrade your systems now, and also have plenty of time to plan for your next upgrade to a long-term support release.
Get to the choppa! Predator-OS brings big security features
Lastly, I want to mention the latest release of Predator-OS. If you haven’t heard of Predator-OS, you should! This new open-source community project, established in 2021 for penetration testing and ethical hacking, is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Mini and Linux kernel 5.10 LTS and it includes a lightweight XFCE4 Desktop environment.
This OS is security-hardened to provide anonymity, privacy, and security. It includes over 100 features, such as exploitation tools, penetration tests, security auditing, forensic tools, security risk analysis, and vulnerability assessments. These features and more are listed here.
Level up your Linux learnings
That’s it for this month’s Linux news. And before I forget, I just want to let you know about a couple of Linux courses we have available: Linux Operating System Fundamentals andLinux Network Client Management.
- Linux Operating System Fundamentals is one of ACG’s free courses this month. This course is great for those of you who are just getting started with Linux
- Linux Network Client Management is a brand-new course I’ve just published. It’s ideal for experienced Linux users who would like to learn more about network applications and clients.
That’s all for this month. May your source remain open and your code compile. See you next time, and keep being awesome, cloud gurus!
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