2 min read

Yesterday, Linus Torvalds, the principal developer of the Linux kernel announced the release of Linux 5.1 in a mailing list announcement. This release provides users with an open source operating system with lots of great additions, as well as improvements to existing features. The previous version, Linux 5.0 was released two months ago.

On the whole, 5.1 looks very normal with just over 13k commits (plus another 1k+ if you count merges). Which is pretty much our normal size these days. No way to boil that down to a sane shortlog, with work all over.”, said Linus Torvalds in the official announcement.

What’s new in Linux 5.1?

Io_uring: New Linux IO interface

Linux 5.1 introduces a new high-performance interface called io_uring. It’s easy to use and hard to misuse user/application interface. Io_uring has an efficient buffered asynchronous I/O support, the ability to do I/O without even performing a system call via polled I/O, and other efficiency enhancements. This will help deliver fast and efficient I/O for Linux.

Io_uring permits safe signal delivery in the presence of PID reuse which will improve power management without affecting power consumption. Liburing is used as the user-space library which will make the usage simpler. Axboe’s FIO benchmark has also been adapted already to support io_uring.


Security

In Linux 5.1, the SafeSetID LSM module has been added which will provide administrators with security and policy controls. It will restrict UID/GID transitions from a given UID/GID to only those approved by system-wide acceptable lists. This will also help in stopping to receive the auxiliary privileges associated with CAP_SET{U/G}ID, which will allow the user to set up user namespace UID mappings.

Storage

Along with physical RAM, users can now use persistent memory as RAM (system memory), allowing them to boot the system to a device-mapper device without using initramfs, as well as support for cumulative patches for the live kernel patching feature. This persistent memory can also be used as a cost-effective RAM replacement.

Live patching improvements

With Linux 5.1 a new capability is being added to live patching, it’s called Atomic Replace. It includes all wanted changes from all older live patches and can completely replace them in one transition. Live patching enables a running system to be patched without the need for a full system reboot. This will allow new drivers compatible with new hardware.

Users are quite happy with this update. A user on Reddit commented, “Finally! I think this one fixes problems with Elantech’s touchpads spamming the dmesg log. Can’t wait to install it!”

Another user added, “Thank you and congratulations for the developers!”

To download the Linux kernel 5.1 sources, head over to kernel.org.

To know more about the release, check out the official mailing announcement.

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