Linus Torvalds released Linux Kernel 6.7, which is the first mainline Kernel of 2024. As usual, you get updated fixes and hardware support in this Kernel 6.7. Overall, this is a massive release in terms of lines of code merged, which was aptly touched by Linus while releasing this version. It’s worth mentioning that this release is mainly focused on the newer generation of hardware updates for the upcoming major lineups.
So we had a little bit more going on last week compared to the holiday week before that, but certainly not enough to make me think we’d want to delay this any further. End result: 6.7 is (in number of commits: over 17k non-merge commits, with 1k+ merges) one of the largest kernel releases we’ve ever had, but the extra rc8 week was purely due to timing with the holidays, not about any difficulties with the larger release. The main changes this last week were a few DRM updates (mainly fixes for new hw enablement in this version – both amd and nouveau), some more bcachefs fixes (and bcachefs is obviously new to 6.7 and one of the reasons for the large number of commits), and then a few random driver updates. And a smattering of minor noise elsewhere.Linus
That said, let’s briefly release some highlights of this version.
Table of Contents
Linux Kernel 6.7: Best new features
Linux 6.7 lays the groundwork for seamless integration with Intel’s upcoming server processors, Granite Rapids and Sierra Forest, through Intel In-Field Scan (IFS) driver advancements. The IFS driver, crucial for conducting built-in hardware tests, receives updates to accommodate the slightly different IFS image format used in these next-generation processors.
Intel’s Turbostat utility, a valuable tool for monitoring CPU performance and power states, receives notable enhancements in Linux 6.7. Turbostat now supports Intel’s upcoming Arrow Lake and Lunar Lake processors, ensuring compatibility with cutting-edge server and desktop platforms. Expect deeper insights into CPU power states, turbo frequency boosting, and other critical metrics with the expanded capabilities of Turbostat in Linux Kernel 6.7.
With Linux 6.7’s new ability to enable or disable 32-bit program support at boot time, strike a balance between legacy compatibility and a hardened attack surface. Users who rely on 32-bit applications can seamlessly enable support without delving into kernel configuration complexities. Distributions can now confidently ship with 32-bit support disabled by default, significantly reducing potential vulnerabilities while still empowering users to enable it on demand using the
ia32_emulation=1 boot flag—no kernel recompilation required.
Linux Kernel 6.7 expands its performance analysis capabilities with support for AMD Zen 4 Unified Memory Controller (UMC) events. This helps to gain granular insights into memory controller behaviour, including command activity, utilization, and bandwidth, enabling meticulous optimization of Zen 4 systems. You can now harness the full power of Zen 4’s advanced memory architecture by leveraging these new performance metrics for fine-tuned adjustments.
This release introduces a significant overhaul of x86 CPU microcode loading, reinforcing system security and adaptability. Microcode loading on 32-bit systems is now strategically delayed until paging is enabled, circumventing potential early-boot issues and promoting a smoother startup experience.
Kernel 6.7 also welcomes the AMD Versal EDAC driver, which marks a significant step forward in bolstering the reliability and stability of AMD’s “adaptive SoC” champion, Versal. The Error Detection and Correction (EDAC) driver equips Versal with robust memory error detection and correction capabilities for its DDR4 and LPDDR4/4X memory controllers.
The open-source Nouveau driver takes a monumental leap forward by integrating NVIDIA’s GSP (GPU System Processor) firmware. This opens doors to significant improvements in performance and power management for RTX 20 “Turing” and newer GPUs.
Ever experienced that annoying flicker during the boot process on your AMD Radeon GPU machines? That’s the result of the graphics driver unnecessarily reconfiguring the display several times. Enter Seamless Boot – a clever optimization that eliminates these redundant adjustments, delivering a slick and flicker-free boot experience. This release brings this support for all DCN 3.0 and later graphics cards. This encompasses the entire RDNA2 and RDNA3 generations, including GPUs like the Radeon RX 6000 series and the latest RX 7000 series.
Intel’s next-generation integrated graphics, Meteor Lake, have officially secured their spot in the Linux 6.7 kernel as stable and ready for action. This ensures smoother graphics performance, wider laptop compatibility and an improved development ecosystem.
After years of development, Bcachefs, a highly anticipated copy-on-write filesystem, has finally found its home in the Linux 6.7 kernel. While still experimental, its inclusion marks a significant milestone and opens possibilities for future storage advancements.
F2FS, the Flash-Friendly File System, continues its improvements with enhancements that bolster performance and compatibility with modern storage technologies. This includes larger page sizes (4k and 16k), zoned block devices progress with benefits to sequential workloads and more.
Btrfs, the next-gen file system in the Linux kernel, is getting a major upgrade in version 6.7. Btrfs is finally getting RAID stripes, a technique that spreads data across multiple disks for redundancy and performance. This means Btrfs can now compete with dedicated RAID solutions, offering better data protection and faster rebuild times for multi-disk setups.
Furthermore, it introduces simple quota accounting, letting you set limits on how much space users or groups can consume. This is perfect for shared servers or home systems where resource allocation can be a nightmare.
Valve, the gaming giants behind Steam Deck, have been big Btrfs proponents. And guess what? Linux Kernel 6.7 delivers a feature they specifically requested: temporary file-system IDs (FSIDs). This allows mounting the same Btrfs image on multiple devices without conflicts, which is ideal for the Deck’s A/B update system.
Btrfs 6.7 doesn’t stop there. It also brings several performance optimizations, including reducing checksum deletion overhead and streamlining extent state merges. These tweaks might sound technical, but they translate faster to file operations and a smoother overall Btrfs experience.
LoongArch, the Chinese-developed CPU architecture inspired by MIPS and RISC-V, is finally getting KVM virtualization support in Linux 6.7, marking a significant step towards wider adoption and real-world usability.
A bunch of KVM upgrades, which include higher vCPU limits (4096 x86), RISC-V with Smstateen/Zicond extensions, ARM updates and performance improvements.
In Kernel 6.7, display port DP Alt Mode 2.1 lets you transform your humble USB-C port into a DisplayPort powerhouse. This means connecting high-resolution monitors, blazing-fast GPUs, and other DisplayPort-hungry beasts through that tiny, versatile connector. Moreover, the change handles Type-C for Google Chromebooks, ensuring seamless DisplayPort connectivity for your Chromebook buddies.
Fixes for Dell Pro Wireless Keyboard and mouse support (KM5221W), Lenovo Thinkpad Compact Keyboards, ASUS screen pad support with WMI driver and more.
In the Linux Kernel 6.7 cycle, Rust continues to grow its roots, offering exciting possibilities for future kernel development. Few updates from this release includes:
- Upgraded Toolchain: Rust 1.73 brings the latest features and bug fixes to the party, enhancing the development experience.
- Android Compatibility: Toybox tool integration paves the way for using Rust in Android kernel builds, potentially expanding its reach.
- Indirect Branch Tracking (IBT) Support: This security feature adds another layer of protection for x86 systems.
- Workqueue Bindings: Rust code can now schedule tasks within kernel workqueues, opening doors for asynchronous operations.
That’s more about the key highlights of this release.
How to Download and Install Linux Kernel 6.7
Remember that using the bleeding-edge mainline Linux Kernel in your production systems/daily-drive laptops/desktops is not wiser unless you have a specific requirement.
For general users, it’s always best to wait for a few weeks until all the major Linux Distributions bring this version via their official stable channel after proper testing.
That being said, if you still want to install this version in Ubuntu and related distributions, visit the below pages:
- Firstly, visit the mainline kernel page
- Browse to the latest version folder (such as 6.7). There are two types of builds available – generic and lowlatency. You can download generic builds that work most of the time for standard systems.
- For audio recordings and other setups that require low latency (like real-time feeds), download the lowlatency one.
- Secondly, download the four deb packages for generic via the terminal and install them.
wget -c https://kernel.ubuntu.com/mainline/v6.7/amd64/linux-headers-6.7.0-060700-generic_6.7.0-060700.202401072033_amd64.deb wget -c https://kernel.ubuntu.com/mainline/v6.7/amd64/linux-headers-6.7.0-060700_6.7.0-060700.202401072033_all.deb wget -c https://kernel.ubuntu.com/mainline/v6.7/amd64/linux-image-unsigned-6.7.0-060700-generic_6.7.0-060700.202401072033_amd64.deb wget -c https://kernel.ubuntu.com/mainline/v6.7/amd64/linux-modules-6.7.0-060700-generic_6.7.0-060700.202401072033_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
- After installation, reboot the system.
- The instruction for lowlatency and other architecture (e.g., ARM) installations are the same. Replace the package name in the above wget commands. You can find them on the mainline Kernel page.
You can also compile sources on your own from the below links.
Arch Linux users should get this version by 1st/2nd week of February 2023 via monthly ISO refresh.
Ubuntu 24.04 & Fedora 40 may feature this Kernel by April 2024.
To sum up, the release of Linux Kernel 6.7 introduces numerous important updates and enhancements, such as updates to CPU and GPU, Bcachefs updates, security, core changes, and improvements to file systems and networking.
This release initiates the merge window for Kernel 6.8.