Linux in The News 5-8-23

Latest Raspberry Pi OS Release Brings Linux Kernel 6.1 LTS, Chromium 113, and More

Latest Raspberry Pi OS

The Raspberry Pi Foundation released today a new version of their official Raspberry Pi OS distribution for Raspberry Pi computers that brings updated components, bug fixes, and various performance improvements.

The biggest change in the Raspberry Pi OS 2023-05-03 release is the kernel bump from the long-term supported Linux 5.15 LTS to the long-term supported Linux 6.1 LTS. Of course, this should translate to better performance for your Raspberry Pi computer.

In fact, existing Raspberry Pi OS users like me were already running Linux kernel 6.1 LTS if they would execute the rpi-update command in a terminal emulator. But now, Linux 6.1 LTS is the default kernel on new Raspberry Pi OS images that you can download from the official website if plan on installing on your Raspberry Pi computer.

Various apps have been updated in the new Raspberry Pi OS release. The most important one is Chromium 113, which is Raspberry Pi OS’ default browser. Not only it includes all the latest security updates, but the Chromium 113 release brings WebGPU support by default, which may improve the performance of Web Apps and your overall browsing experience.

Also included are Raspberry Pi Imager 1.7.4, RealVNC Viewer, RealVNC Server, Mathematica 13.2.1, and Matlab 23.1.0. Another interesting update included in this release is the updated VLC hardware acceleration patch, which should offer you better performance when playing video files.

The libcamera and libcamera-apps components have been updated as well to improve IMX296 sensor tuning, improve the handling of audio resampling and encoding using the libav library, improve the performance of Qt preview window rendering, improved thumbnail rendering, add support for 16-bit Bayer in the DNG writer, add handling of generalized statistics, and address an overflow issue that would cause incorrect calculations in the AGC algorithm.

Also updated is the picamera2 library, which received an MJPEG server example that uses the hardware MJPEG encoder, an example showing a preview from two cameras in a single Qt app, the ability for the H.264 encoder to accept frame time interval for SPS headers, advertise the correct profile/level, and support constant quality parameter, as well as to add new Exif DateTime and DateTimeOriginal tags.

A handful of bugs were addressed as well, including an occasional segfault in the CPU temperature plugin, an X11 server crash that occurred when changing the screen orientation, as well as X11 server DPMS not working, and some new language translations have been added.


Linux 6.4

Two weeks have passed since the release of Linux kernel 6.3 and the opening of the merge window for the next kernel series, Linux 6.4, and now, Linus Torvalds released the first RC (Release Candidate) milestone for public testing.

The two-week merge window for Linux kernel 6.4 is now closed and the first Release Candidate is available to download from Linus Torvalds’ git tree or the website for early adopters, system integrators, and bleeding-edge users who want to get a glimpse of what’s about to be included in the final release.

Apart from various new features like Intel LAM (Liniar Address Masking) support, user events for tracing, or the ability for the machine keyring used for Machine Owner Keys (MOK) to store only CA-enforced keys, Linux 6.4 will come with greater hardware support through new and updated drivers. Unfortunately, the long-awaited Shadow Stack hardware security feature didn’t make it in this release.

Linus Torvalds writes in his announcement post that “the one feature that didn’t make it was the x86 shadow stack code. That side was probably a bit unlucky, in that it came in as I was looking at x86 issues anyway, and so I looked at it quite a bit, and had enough reservations that I asked for a couple of fairly big re-organizations.”

Highlights include rumble support for the latest Xbox controllers, Apple M2 CPU PMU support, Wi-Fi 7 (EHT) mesh support, improved support for Qualcomm Snapdragon platforms, a new driver for Novatek touch controllers, support for the Lenovo Yoga Book X90F 2-in-1 tablet, Hyper-V VTL mode support, and Wi-Fi support for Apple M1 Pro/Max devices.

Linux kernel 6.4 also looks to bring various thermal improvements in the Mediatek driver, enhancements of very old PCI sound cards, sound support for NVIDIA systems with MAX9809x and RT5631 codecs, generic support for all Kye tablets, support for the Logitech G935 wireless 7.1 surround sound gaming headphones, and PPIN support for Intel’s 5th Gen Xeon “Emerald Rapids” server processors.

New drivers are also present in Linux 6.4 for the StarFive JH71x0 temperature sensor and the StarFive JH7110 RISC-V SoC, Acbel FSB032 power supply, Aquacomputer Aquastream XT pump, and the ROG STRIX Z390-F GAMING motherboard.

Other than that, there is a new Qualcomm QAIC DRM accelerated driver for their Cloud AI, KVM support for virtual NMIs on x86 AMD, fbdev emulation for GEM DMA drivers, Qualcomm Inline Crypto Engine support, support for new MMIO based models (T2 Macs), Intel Sierra Forest EDAC support, SCTP (Stream Control Transmission Protocol) support for Fair/Capacity and Weighted Fair Queueing (WFQ) network schedulers, better BIG TCP performance, and a new BPF netfilter program type.

The AMDGPU graphics driver got initial NBIO7.9, GC 9.4.3, GFXHUB 1.2, MMHUB 1.8 support, initial DC FAM infrastructure, sysfs nodes for secondary VCN clocks, as well as capped/uncapped workload handling for supported APUs. Moreover, the Mediatek DRM driver received 10-bit overlay support, the Rockchip DRM driver got 4K support, and Collabora’s Panfrost driver now supports Mali MT81xx devices.

The final release of Linux kernel 6.4 is expected to hit the streets in late June or early July 2023. Depending on how many Release Candidate versions will be published, it could arrive on June 25th or on July 2nd.