Linux In The News – Sept 12, 2021
Linux In The News – Sept 12, 2021

Linux In The News – Sept 12, 2021

Linus Torvalds Announces First Linux 5.15 Kernel Release Candidate

Sept 13, 2021

As the two-week merge window closes today, the upcoming Linux 5.15 kernel series is now ready for public testing as Linus Torvalds just announced the availability of the first Release Candidate (RC) milestone.

It’s been two weeks since the release of Linux kernel 5.14, which slowly makes its way into the stable software repositories of various popular GNU/Linux distributions, and now it’s time to go out and test another new kernel series, Linux 5.15, which will be released later this fall.

Linux 5.15 looks to be yet another release that focuses on further improving the support for AMD CPUs and GPUs, but it will also bring new features like NTFS3 and KSMBD (CIFS/SMB3) support, and the usual new and updated drivers for better hardware support. But all in all, it looks like a small release.

“At only just over 10k non-merge commits, this is in fact the smallest rc1 we have had in the 5.x series,” said Linus Torvalds. “And while this is not up there with some larger releases, it’s actually been one of the messier merge windows.”

What only a few know is that Linux 5.15 will be the last major kernel release of the year, which means that it could be the next LTS (Long-Term Support) series, supported for at least a couple of years. Of course, this information needs to be confirmed by Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman.

As mentioned before, the final release of Linux kernel 5.15 is expected on Halloween if Linus Torvalds decided to stick to seven Release Candidates, or on November 7th, if a total of eight RC milestones will be published during the entire development cycle.

Until then, if you want to help the kernel developers find and fix bugs in Linux kernel 5.15, go ahead and download the first Release Candidate from the website. When testing it, please keep in mind that this is an early development version, NOT suitable for use on production machines.

OpenWrt 21.02 Arrives With Linux Kernel 5.4 & WPA3 Support

OpenWrt 21.02 is the latest stable release after one and half a year of development.

Sept 7, 2021

The OpenWrt community announced the first stable update of their series, OpenWrt 21.02.

In case you did not know, OpenWrt is a project that helps create custom operating systems for embedded devices.

It enables users to openly customize their devices according to their networking needs, something that the stock router firmware doesn’t. Other than routers, OpenWrt can run on a variety of devices such as smartphones, residential gateways, and even 32 bit PCs!

With this release, they have over 5800 commits since the older OpenWrt 19.07.

Let us take a look at what is new with OpenWrt 21.02.

OpenWrt 21.02: What’s New?

While there are several technical changes and improvements, let me highlight the key additions.

WPA3 Support

Although present in the 19.07 release, the latest security standard for Wi-Fi networks is now included by default in the images.

WPA3 stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 and is a major improvement in terms of security over the popular WPA2. Backward compatibility is also supported.

TLS and HTTPS Support

Just like WPA3, TLS and HTTPS support is also included by default. This comes with the trusted CA certificates from Mozilla as well.

With this addition, wget and opkg should now support fetching resources over HTTPS out-of-the-box. Moreover, LuCl is available over HTTPS in addition to HTTP.

Initial DSA Support

“DSA stands for Distributed Switch Architecture and is the Linux standard to deal with configurable Ethernet switches”

This has replaced the swconfig system which was being used until now. This is a notable change to how VLANs and switch ports are managed.

New Minimum Hardware Requirements

With numerous new features and updates to OpenWrt, including the increase in the general size of the Linux kernel, the minimum requirements have been increased.

Devices now require at least 8 MB of flash and 64 MB memory to run the default build ensuring proper stability.

Package Updates

The release also comes packed in with several package upgrades, some of them are:

  • Linux kernel 5.4.143
  • gcc 8.4.0
  • glibc 2.33
  • binutils 2.34
  • busybox 1.33.1

Along with the above-listed packages, there are many others that have also received upgrades. You can get the full technical details in the official release announcement.

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