The new Linux 6.5 kernel incorporates some significant updates and modifications while building on the work of the Linux 6.4 kernel.
Linus Torvalds mentioned that this was a smooth release overall:
So nothing particularly odd or scary happened this last week, so there is no excuse to delay the 6.5 release.
I still have this nagging feeling that a lot of people are on vacation and that things have been quiet partly due to that. But this release has been going smoothly, so that’s probably just me being paranoid. The biggest patches this last week were literally just to our selftests.
🆕 Linux Kernel 6.5: What’s New?
Users need to be aware that this release is not LTS. This release is for you if you wish to use the newest features. Otherwise, unless it resolves specific problems or enhances performance, updating is not required.
Here are the major highlights of the new kernel release:
- Out-of-the-box Support for AMD FreeSync Video
- Default P-State “Active” Mode for AMD CPUs
- Initial Support for USB4 v2 & WiFi 7
- ASUS ROG Ally Sound Optimizations
Out-of-the-box Support for AMD FreeSync Video
A neat feature re-introduced in this release is the support for AMD FreeSync Video mode enabled by default. It was earlier introduced in the Linux Kernel 5.8 but reverted due to bugs.
Screen tearing and stuttering in games and films are significantly minimized when AMD FreeSync mode is on by synchronizing the refresh rate of the monitor with the graphics card’s framerate.
In technical terms, here’s how it was described when it was being released back in Linux 5.8 kernel:
This patchset enables freesync video mode usecase where the userspace can request a freesync compatible video mode such that switching to this mode does not trigger blanking.
This is quite useful for content creators and gamers alike.
But note that you will need a FreeSync-compatible monitor and graphics card to utilize it.
Default P-State “Active “Mode for AMD CPUs
Modern AMD CPUs will now come pre-installed with amd-pstate as the default CPU performance scaling driver, specifically those made with the Zen 2 and later architecture. Prior to this, CPUFreq handled the CPU scaling technique by default.
The three modes that AMD-Pstate now offers are guided autonomous, passive, and active. In this release, the “active” mode has taken the place of the guided autonomous mode that was included in the Linux Kernel 6.4.
ASUS ROG Ally Sound Optimizations
The AMD Z1 and Z1 Extreme SoCs power the Windows mobile gaming computer ASUS ROG Ally, a direct rival to the immensely popular Steam Deck. It first became available in July of this year.
Initial Support for USB4 v2 & WiFi 7
Since quite some time, WiFi 7, the next-generation wireless standard, has been under development. I should mention that WiFi 7 supports the 6Ghz band and has a maximum data throughput of 23 Gbps!
Also along this line, development work for the next-generation USB4 standard has begun. USB4 supports an 80 Gbps data transfer rate!
🛠️ Other Changes & Improvements
Here are some more things to be mentioned apart from the major highlights:
- CPU scaling fixes for Intel P-State
- Performance improvements for Btrfs and other storage optimizations
- Rumble support for the latest Xbox controllers
- Overclocking support for AMD Radeon RX 7000 series graphics cards
- Various improvements and optimizations for AMD and Intel graphics drivers
- And as always, more Rust code transitions
The official release announcement would give you a short log since its last release candidate. And, if you are curious about technical details, refer to the changelog.
Installing Linux Kernel 6.5
If you use a rolling-release distribution like Fedora or Arch, upgrading to the Linux Kernel 6.5 is simple. These distributions provide the most recent kernel after it has been released.
Nonetheless, users of Ubuntu and its derivatives can anticipate seeing this Linux Kernel update in action through Ubuntu 23.10. If you use distributions like Pop OS and Linux Lite, you can anticipate this kernel version sooner.