Linux in The News 1-8-24

Last Updated on January 8, 2024 by KC7NYR

Linux Mint 21.3 EDGE ISO to Ship with Linux 6.5, Addressing Hardware Issues

Some hardware issues were encountered with recent AMD GPUs, as well as wireless chips and SSD controllers used in some Acer laptops.
Linux Mint 21.3 Beta

While we were hoping to see the Linux Mint 21.3 “Virginia” release under our Christmas trees, the Linux Mint project has published a new monthly update to inform us about the status of the upcoming release and EDGE ISO.

First of all, it looks like not all the bugs that have been reported by users during the beta phase of Linux Mint 21.3 were addressed, which means that we will have to wait a little longer for the final release to hit the streets. Unfortunately, the Linux Mint team didn’t provide a release date at the moment of writing.

Another interesting update for the upcoming Linux Mint 21.3 release is the fact that the EDGE ISO, which usually ships with a newer kernel version than the regular ISO, will be upgraded to Linux kernel 6.5, which recently reached end of life, to address some hardware issues with recent AMD GPUs, as well as wireless chips and SSD controllers used in some Acer laptops.

“During BETA testing we identified compatibility issues between Linux Mint and new hardware devices (recent AMD graphics but also wireless chipsets and SSD controllers used in Acer laptops). These are solved by upgrading the kernel series from 5.15 to 6.5,” said Clement Lefebvre in the monthly newsletter for December 2023.

The EDGE ISO of the current Linux Mint 21.2 “Victoria” release shipped with Linux kernel 6.2 (HWE) from Ubuntu 22.04.3 LTS (Jammy Jellyfish). The upcoming Linux Mint 21.3 “Virginia” release will feature Linux kernel 6.5 for the EDGE ISO, which will probably be released at a later date than the regular ISOs.

Linux Mint 21.3 “Virginia” is expected to ship with the latest Cinnamon 6.0 desktop environment on the flagship editions, as well as with the Xfce 4.18 and MATE 1.26 desktop environments on the Xfce and MATE editions. Worth noting is the fact that the Cinnamon edition will offer an experimental Wayland session.

Linux Mint 21.3 will also offer full support for SecureBoot, EFI mode for the GRUB bootloader, updated Hypnotix and Warpinator apps, as well as artwork improvements. Under the hood, Linux Mint 21.3 will be based on Ubuntu 22.04.3 LTS and powered by Linux kernel 5.15 LTS.

GNU Linux-Libre 6.7 Kernel Released for Those Seeking 100% Freedom for Their PCs

This kernel is targeted at those who want to build a 100% free computer that doesn’t include any proprietary code.
GNU Linux-Libre 6.4

The GNU Linux-libre project announced today the release and general availability of the GNU Linux-libre 6.7 kernel for those who seek 100% freedom for their GNU/Linux computers and software freedom lovers.

Based on the just-released Linux 6.7 kernel series, the GNU Linux-libre 6.7 kernel is here to update the cleaning up of the AMDGPU, Nouveau, Adreno, mwifiex, mt7988, ath11k, avs, and btqca drivers, clean up mentions of blobs in AArch64 DTS files, and clean up new mt7925, tps6598x, aw87390, and aw88399 drivers.

GNU Linux-libre 6.7 also drops cleaning up of COPS Localtalk and RTL8192U Wi-Fi drivers as they’ve been removed from the upstream kernel and fixes unintended cleanups on the xhci-pci, RTL8xxxu, and rtw8822b drivers, which may have affected hardware that wasn’t compatible with your freedom.

“The cleanups would have only affected hardware that is not compatible with your freedom anyway, for demanding actual blobs, but we took the opportunity to restore other bits that, despite also looking suspicious, were ultimately fine to keep,” explained the devs.

Other than that, this release comes with all the new features and improvements, as well as the updated and new drivers that have been included in the upstream Linux 6.7 kernel series. However, the GNU Linux-libre kernel does NOT ship with non-free components, as the upstream kernel does.

The GNU Linux-libre kernel is targeted at software freedom lovers and Linux purists who want to build a 100% free GNU/Linux computer without any proprietary drivers or code. You can download the latest release’s compressed tarballs right now from the official website.

Ready-to-use binary packages for Debian-based (DEB) and Red Hat-based (RPM) distributions can be found at the Freesh project and RPM Freedom. The GNU Linux-libre kernel can be installed on virtually any GNU/Linux distribution alongside or as a replacement for the standard kernel.