Five emperor penguin chicks
Robert McGillivray/Shutterstock

Linus Torvalds just released version 5.0 of the Linux kernel, codenamed “Shy Crocodile”. Linux 5.0 includes Google’s new encryption tech as well as support for AMD FreeSync, Raspberry Pi touch screens, and more goodies.

Linux 5.0 arrived on March 3, 2019. As Linus explained back in January on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML,) this isn’t really a huge release:

The numbering change is not indicative of anything special. If you want to have an official reason, it’s that I ran out of fingers and toes to count on, so 4.21 became 5.0…. There isn’t any major particular feature that made for the release numbering either. Of course, depending on your particular interests, some people might well find a feature _they_ like so much that they think it can do as a reason for incrementing the major number.

So go wild. Make up your own reason for why it’s 5.0.

You do have quite a few reasons to choose from. OMG Ubuntu has a good summary of the most interesting ones:

  • Linux’s file-system level encryption (fscrypt) now offers built-in support for Adiantum, Google’s new speedy encryption technology for low-end phones and lightweight Internet of Things (IoT) devices. You can use this technology on your Linux desktop with file systems like EXT4 and F2FS (Flash-Friendly File System.)
  • For gamers, Linux 5.0 now has built-in support for AMD FreeSync, which provides adaptive refresh rates—in other words, it lets the computer control the display’s refresh rate on the fly. This requires both AMD Radeon hardware and a display that supports FreeSync.
  • The Raspberry Pi Foundation offers an official 7-inch touchscreen monitor. This latest Linux kernel provides built-in support for this hardware, which will make things easier for Raspberry Pi enthusiasts.

Linux 5.0 also offers support for other new hardware devices, from NVIDIA Turing GPUs to the shortcut keys on Lenovo ThinkPad and Asus laptops.

RELATED: Google Created Faster Encryption for Low-End Android Phones and IoT Devices

If you’re a Linux user, you probably don’t manually download and compile your own kernel. Instead, you’ll get Linux 5.0 when it’s offered by your Linux distribution. For example, Linux 5.0 will likely appear in the next release of Ubuntu, Ubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo,” which is scheduled for release on April 18, 2019.

Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
Read Full Bio »