Linux in The News 10-3-22

Last Updated on October 3, 2022 by KC7NYR

Linux Mint 21.1 “Vera” to Arrive on Christmas with Improved Driver Manager, New ISO Verifier

Mint 21.1

Linux Mint project leader Clement Lefebvre revealed today the codename and some of the changes to expect in the next Linux Mint release, 21.1, which is planned for Christmas.

Linux Mint 21.1 has been codenamed “Vera” and it’s the first point release to Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa”, which means that it will be based on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS (Jammy Jellyfish) and powered by Linux kernel 5.15 LTS, and the same internal components as upstream.

While the internals will be pretty much unchanged, Linux Mint 21.1 “Vera” will come with improvements to the Driver Manager and Software Source in-house built tools. Software Sources has been updated to make it easier to handle PPA keys.

On the other hand, Driver Manager received more changes, such as the ability to run in user mode so it won’t ask you for your password when launched, proper support for Debconf, which comes as good news for NVIDIA users when SecureBoot enabled, as well as the ability to purge the configuration of removed drivers.

On top of that, Driver Manager will have an improved user interface with redesigned offline support, a new screen when a live USB stick is detected, and easier installation of Broadcom wireless drivers.

Also coming to Linux Mint 21.1 “Vera” is a new ISO verification tool, implemented in the right-click context menu, to make it easier to verify the integrity and authenticity of ISO images. The ISO Image Writer utility has been updated as well to include a “Verify” button for launching the new ISO verification tool.

“It is important to verify the integrity and authenticity of your ISO image before writing it to a stick. It’s also quite tedious and confusing. So we made it easier,” said Clement Lefebvre in the latest newsletter. “If your ISO is from Linux Mint or Ubuntu, the URLs to the SHA256sum and GPG files are automatically filled in. Just click the verify button.”

Last but not least, Linux Mint 21.1 won’t feature the Home, Computer, Trash, and Network icons on the desktop. Clement Lefebvre explains the decision behind this move due to the fact that the Computer, Trash, and Network icons aren’t used as often and they can be accessed from the file manager, and the Home icon is already available as a launcher on the panel and a favorite item in the applications menu.

As mentioned before, the Linux Mint team plans to release Linux Mint 21.1 “Vera” near the Christmas holidays. Of course, this means that the beta version should arrive in early December or late November for public testing.

Linux Kernel 6.0 Officially Released, This Is What’s New

Linux 6.0

Linus Torvalds announced today the release and general availability of Linux 6.0 as a major kernel series that brings new features, improved hardware support, as well as bug and security fixes.

After being in development for two months, Linux kernel 6.0 is finally here and introduces support for the AArch64 (ARM64) hardware architecture to swap transparent huge pages without splitting them, support for NVMe in-band authentication, support for PCI buses in the OpenRISC and LoongArch architectures, async buffered writes when using both XFS and io_uring, as well as io_uring zero-copy network transmission support.

Linux kernel 6.0 also brings support for the “Zicbom” extension to the RISC-V hardware architecture for managing devices with non-cache-coherent DMA, a new runtime verification subsystem that allows kernel state monitoring, support for generating new CXL memory regions, support for properly implementing POSIX access control lists on OverlayFS filesystems, and the implementation of the second generation of the Btrfs “send” protocol that supports sending large data and raw compressed extents.

Other noteworthy changes include new user-space memory management features in the DAMON mechanism, support for limiting the NFSv4 server to 1024 active clients at 1GB RAM, support for the EXT4 file system to fetch and set UUIDs stored in a file system superblock, support for the fsnotify subsystem to better control ignored events, support for sleepable BPF programs attached to uprobes, as well as new reports to the perf tool for lock contention tracepoints and BPF for in-kernel aggregation.

There are also good news for virtualization as Linux kernel 6.0 introduces a new pseudo-device called ‘guest vCPU stall detector’ that can act as a watchdog to tell the host if the VM has stalled. There’s also a new debugfs interface, a new BPF iterator, a new set of BPF kfuncs, new BPF helpers for generating and checking SYN cookies, and a new io_uring based user-space block driver in Linux 6.0.

“As is hopefully clear to everybody, the major version number change is more about me running out of fingers and toes than it is about any big fundamental changes. But of course there’s a lot of various changes in 6.0 – we’ve got over 15k non-merge commits in there in total, after all, and as such 6.0 is one of the bigger releases at least in numbers of commits in a while,” said Linus Torvalds.

Of course, Linux 6.0 also includes numerous updated and new drivers for better hardware support. On top of that, it adds many bug fixes and tweaks to provide better performance than previous kernels, most notably here being the tweaks to task placement on large systems, performance improvements to the in-kernel TLS implementation, and a new IORING_RECV_MULTISHOT flag to enable multi-shot operation with recv() calls.

Security-wise, Linux kernel 6.0 implements fetching of random-number seeds from bootloader’s setup data to the x86 and m68k kernels, support for the SafeSetID security module to control setgroups() changes, support for the ARIA encryption algorithm, as well as support for hooks attached to a control group or a single target process to the BPF security module.

Linux kernel 6.0 is available for download from Linus Torvald’s git repo for those who like to compile their own kernels. For everyone else, you’ll need to wait until your distro’s maintainer upgrades the kernel to version 6.0 before attempting to install it.