More than two months in the works, Linux kernel 5.12 is here with dynamic thermal power management mechanism, support for LTO in Clang, initial support for zoned block devices for the Btrfs file system, netfilter improvements, high compression LZ4 mode support for the F2FS file system, and support for non-uniform memory access (NUMA) systems for the RISC-V 64-bit architecture.
KFENCE (Kernel Electric-Fence), a new memory-debugging tool, has been added as well in Linux 5.12, which now supports the open source ACRN reference hypervisor designed for embedded IoT development, kernel thread-based NAPI polling, ID mapping in mounts, Playstation 5 DualSense wireless game controllers, Nintendo 64 game controllers, and the the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2.
Among other interesting new features, Linux 5.12 brings eMMC inline encryption support, Linux root partition support for Microsoft Hypervisor, better support for Microsoft Surface devices, and last but not least, my favorite changes, support for the Lenovo IdeaPad platform profile, along with keyboard backlight control support, always-on USB charging control support, and reenable touchpad control.
AMD users will be thriller to learn that the open source AMDGPU graphics driver now supports Freesync HDMI and overdrive of AMD “Sienna Cichlid” GPUs. On the Intel side of things, Linux kernel 5.12 adds support for Intel’s eDP backlight control, Gen12 HDCP 2.2 and HDCP 1.4 on DP MST support, as well as DP-HDMI2.1 protocol converter support.
Linux kernel 5.12 also adds performance improvements to the NFS client implementation, allows for selecting preempting model at boot and runtime, supports the Raspberry Pi camera module, supports the PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S, supports the PineTab “Early Adopter” tablet, and adds support for the ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser, Alcatel Idol 3, OnePlus 6 and 6T, Purism Librem 5 Evergreen, Samsung I9070 Galaxy S, as well as Sony Xperia Z3+, Z4, and Z5 phones.
Of course, there are also numerous other new and updated drivers for better hardware (audio, networking, keyboard, mouse, touch screen, TV tuner, webcam, graphics, storage, etc.) support, along with bug fixes and various other core improvements to make your GNU/Linux distribution faster and more reliable. More details about Linux kernel 5.12 are available in Linus Torvalds’ mailing list announcement.
Linux kernel 5.12 is available for download right now from the kernel.org website as a source tarball that needs to be compiled on your GNU/Linux distribution. If compiling kernels from sources is not your thing, which is very understandable, I suggest you ask your distro’s vendor to add it to the repositories or wait until they upgrade the kernel packages.