Linux Kernel 6.2 is now available for general use, more than a month after the release of Linux Kernel 6.1.
This release promises a bunch of things, such as a significant Nouveau driver update, native support for Intel Arc Graphics, support for Sony PlayStation Controllers, and more.
In the release announcement, Linus Torvalds mentions:
Nothing unexpected happened last week, with just a random selection of
small fixes spread all over, with nothing really standing out.
Unless you want to stay with Linux Kernel 6.1 LTS for your system, Linux Kernel 6.2 could be a good stable version to upgrade. Linus emphasized the testing part for Linux 6.2 as well:
But in the meantime, please do give 6.2 a testing. Maybe it's not a
sexy LTS release like 6.1 ended up being, but all those regular
pedestrian kernels want some test love too.
🆕 Linux Kernel 6.2: What’s New?
There are many important updates with Linux Kernel 6.2; some notable ones include:
- Implementation of a Compute Accelerator Subsystem.
- Native Intel Arc Graphics Support.
- Major Nouveau Driver Update.
- Support for Sony PlayStation Controllers.
Implementation of a Compute Accelerator Subsystem
Linux Kernel 6.2 now features the 'accel' compute accelerator subsystem that is intended for use by AI accelerators.
This is a framework of device drivers for compute acceleration devices to be used for Machine-Learning, Deep-Learning, and other similar use cases.
It has been integrated with the DRM subsystem, as GPUs and AI accelerators share a lot in common and can use the majority of the existing code infrastructure.
Native Intel Arc Graphics Support
This was expected, but it is finally here!
The Linux Kernel now features native support for Intel's Arc GPUs.
Support for Arc GPUs had been stuck behind the experimental flag since launch, which was not great for the end user.
Previously, users would have to enable the 'force_probe' option to enable the Intel i915 kernel driver to support the discrete GPU; not doing so resulted in poor performance.
But with this, now users won't have to jump through hoops to take full advantage of their Intel Arc GPUs.
Major Nouveau Driver Update
The previous Nouveau drivers in the upstream had not changed much in recent years. It was especially bad when GPUs of GeForce GTX 900 series and newer would refuse to run at full clock frequencies and limit to a low boot clock frequency.
But now, with Linux Kernel 6.2 things are looking better for GeForce RTX 2000 series and newer.
When Nvidia open-sourced their Linux GPU kernel modules, the developers of Nouveau found that the NVIDIA GPU System Processor (GSP) on Turing and newer GPUs can do much of the heavy lifting required to run these GPUs properly.
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They have pushed a bunch of fixes and prep work with Linux Kernel 6.2 that can ensure better support for these GPUs now and in the foreseeable future.
Support for Sony PlayStation Controllers
And now, with the release of Linux Kernel 6.2, we can see support for both of these controllers baked right in.
🛠️ Other Changes
The above-mentioned are not the only improvements being offered with Linux Kernel 6.2; here are some that are also worth mentioning:
- Various updates for AMD RDNA3 GPUs.
- Continued enablement work for Intel's upcoming Meteor Lake chips.
- Support for persistent memory devices for RISC-V processor architecture.
- Power savings tweak for Intel Alder Lake N and Raptor Lake P.
- Expanded support for Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs.
- Raspberry Pis can now handle 4K@60Hz displays better.
You can go through the release announcement for a deeper dive into the details of Linux Kernel 6.2. The full changelog should be available shortly.
How to Install Linux Kernel 6.2?
It is easy to upgrade using Arch, Fedora, or a rolling-release distribution.
But, if you are using other Linux distributions (Pop!_OS and Linux Lite are exceptions to some extent), you may not receive an upgrade.
That being said, all distributions explicitly allow you to install the latest kernel. Here's a guide for Ubuntu 👇
So, if you feel the need for an adventure (provided you know what you are doing), you can find the newer kernel listed on Linux Kernel Archives. You can download the tarball to test it out.