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March 25, 2024

Linus Torvalds Unveils First Release Candidate of Linux Kernel 6.9

Linux 6.9 is the next major kernel series in development and Linus Torvalds has announced the availability of the first Release Candidate (RC) for public testing.

We are only two weeks past the release of Linux 6.8, and the merge window for Linux kernel 6.9 has closed. It’s now time for the community to test the Release Candidate (RC) development versions, typically aimed at early adopters, distro maintainers, and bleeding-edge users.

Linus Torvalds states that Linux kernel 6.9 appears to be a fairly standard release promising further improvements to the AMDGPU graphics driver, enhanced timer performance, updates to the workqueue subsystem, architecture updates, removal of the old NTFS code, core networking updates, VM and kernel enhancements, as well as improvements to tooling and documentation and a slew of new drivers for superior hardware support.

The timer subsystem has undergone a significant rewrite, resulting in per-cpu timer wheels to boost timer performance, which can be crucial, particularly for networking,” said Linus Torvalds. “Another notable core update is to the workqueue subsystem, where a major addition is BH workqueue support. This is mainly important as it signals we finally have a path away from tasklets. The tasklet interface has frankly been deprecated for some time, but we’ve never really had any good alternatives.

Linux kernel 6.9 also promises more improvements for the bcachefs file system introduced in Linux kernel 6.7, AMD P-State “preferred core” support, support for larger Linux console fonts for 4K displays, improvements to the new Intel Xe driver introduced in Linux kernel 6.8, passthrough mode for the FUSE file system, and much more.

The final release of Linux kernel 6.9 is expected to hit the streets in mid-May 2024, either on May 12th or May 19th, which depends on how many Release Candidate (RC) milestones Linus Torvalds will release until then.

If Linus Torvalds announces seven RC versions, we should expect Linux 6.9 to arrive on May 12th. But if he’ll announce eight Release Candidates, we’re looking at May 19th for the final release of Linux kernel 6.9.

However, just like Linux kernel 6.7 and Linux kernel 6.8, the Linux 6.9 kernel will be a short-lived series supported for only a few months with security and bugfix updates, so if you’re counting on long-term support, you should use one of the available LTS kernel branches available on kernel.org.

Until then, you can take the first Linux kernel 6.9 Release Candidate for a test drive on your GNU/Linux box by downloading the tarball from Linus Torvalds’ Git tree or the kernel.org website, but please keep in mind that this is a pre-release version, so don’t install or use it on a production machine!

Last updated 1 hour ago

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