Linux in The News 7-10-23

Last Updated on July 10, 2023 by KC7NYR

Solus 4.4 “Harmony” Released with Secure Boot Support, Linux 6.3, and More

This release ships with Budgie 10.7, KDE Plasma 5.27 LTS, GNOME 43.5, and MATE 1.27 desktop editions.
Solus 4.4

Joshua Strobl announced today the release and general availability of the long-awaited Solus 4.4 ISO release of this independent, rolling-release Linux distribution featuring the Budgie, KDE Plasma, GNOME, and MATE desktops.

Dubbed “Harmony” and powered by Linux kernel 6.3, the Solus 4.4 release is here with Secure Boot support, Intel Arc support, better support for various light sensors and accelerometers, support for AMD Radeon RX 7600, 7900 XT, and 7900 XTX GPUs, support for NVIDIA 40 Series GPUs, and support for laptops with ATH11K Wi-Fi cards.

The kernel was tweaked in this release to enable zram by default, providing users with a better experience for computers with 3GB or less RAM. Moreover, the Solus kernel ships with the CONFIG_NFT_FIB_INET option enabled by default to allow the Firewalld/nftables firewall to work.

The flagship edition of Solus 4.4 is using the latest Budgie 10.7 desktop environment, which uses Cinnamon’s Nemo file manager by default instead of GNOME’s Nautilus, dual-GPU support in the Budgie Menu, notification sounds, new Budgie Screenshot app, and new power dialog for session management.

On the other hand, the GNOME edition ships with the GNOME 43.5 desktop environment with Dark Mode (and my wallpaper) enabled by default, and the Plasma edition ships with the KDE Plasma 5.27.5 LTS desktop environment, which is accompanied by the KDE Frameworks 5.106 and KDE Gear 23.04.2 software suites.

Noteworthy here is the fact that the Solus 4.4 Plasma edition now uses the Wayland session by default, the Plasma System Monitor app instead of KSysGuard, Kickoff as the default application launcher, and improved SolusDark and SolusLight themes.

Last but not least, the MATE edition ships with the latest MATE 1.27 desktop environment. However, the devs announced that Solus 4.4 will be the last release to ship with the MATE desktop as it’s not actively maintained as of late and it doesn’t have an active Wayland strategy.

The MATE edition will be replaced with an Xfce edition for the upcoming Solus 4.5 release.

“After evaluating MATE, we have concluded that it does not have a credible and active Wayland strategy, with the project itself effectively being on life support. As such, we have decided to sunset the MATE Edition,” said Joshua Strobl. “Going forward, to serve users looking for a simple, lightweight GTK-based desktop experience, we will instead ship an edition with Xfce in the near future.”

Solus 4.4 is available for download right now from the official website as Budgie, KDE Plasma, GNOME, and MATE editions supporting 64-bit systems. Since Solus follows a rolling-release model, existing Solus users need only to keep their installations up to date at all times to get the latest features.


Linus Torvalds Announces First Linux Kernel 6.5 Release Candidate

The final Linux 6.5 kernel is expected at the end of August or early September 2023.
Linux 6.5

Linus Torvalds announced today the general availability for public testing of the first Release Candidate (RC) development milestone of the upcoming Linux 6.5 kernel series.

The two-week merge window, which opened with the release of Linux kernel 6.4 on June 25th, 2023, is now officially closed and the first Release Candidate is available for download for those of you who want to get an early taste of the next major release, Linux kernel 6.5.

As expected, there will be many new features and improvements in Linux kernel 6.5. Some highlights include MIDI 2.0 support in ALSA, ACPI support for RISC-V, Landlock support for UML, better support for AMD “Zen” systems, Intel TPMI ((Topology Aware Register and PM Capsule Interface) support to the power capping subsystem and a TPMI interface driver for Intel RAPL, as well as user-space support for the ARMv8.8 memcpy/memset instructions.

Linux kernel 6.5 also promises to improve support for Lenovo Yoga Book yb1-x90f/l and Nextbook Ares 8A tablets, add ACPI backlight quirks for Dell Studio 1569, Lenovo ThinkPad X131e (3371 AMD version), and Apple iMac11,3 laptops, improve performance for the Btrfs file system, and introduce SGX/HPE Ultraviolet support for Sub-NUMA clustering (SNC).

Of course, there will also be numerous new drivers for various devices to provide users with top-notch hardware support. These include the AHT20 temperature and humidity sensor, HP WMI sensors, and ROG Crosshair X670E Hero motherboard.

On top of that, Linux kernel 6.5 improves SMP scheduling’s load balancer to recognize SMT cores with more than one busy sibling and allows lower-priority CPUs to pull tasks to avoid superfluous migrations, implements the “runnable boosting” feature in the EAS balancer to improve CPU utilization for certain workloads, and improves journalling, block allocator subsystems, and performance for parallel DIO overwrites on the EXT4 file system.

“Let’s calm this party down. I have this slight suspicion that this may be one of those releases that may drag out, not because there are any particular issues I expect problems with, but simply due to a lot of Europe going on vacation for the month of August. But who knows… We’ll see how things develop,” said Linus Torvalds.

The final release of Linux kernel 6.5 is expected at the end of August or early September 2023, which depends on how many Release Candidate (RC) milestones Linus Torvalds will announce until then. It will be out on August 27th if there will be only seven RCs or on September 3rd if eight RCs are announced.

Until then, if you want to take Linux kernel 6.5 for a test drive, you can download the first Release Candidate (RC1) milestone right now from either Linus Torvalds’s git tree or from the website. However, I have to warn you not to install or use this development version on a production machine!