Linux Kernel 5.4 released with kernel lockdown and exFAT support

It’s official! Linux founder Linus Torvalds announced the official release of the long-expected Linux 5.4 “Kleptomaniac Octopus” kernel on Sunday evening.  FOSS Linux alerted readers to the impending release late in September.

In his announcement Sunday, Torvalds wrote, “Not a lot happened this last week, which is just how I like it. And as expected, most of the pull requests I got were for the 5.5 merge window, which I’ll start working through tomorrow. What little there is here is mostly some networking updates (mix of network drivers and core networking), and some minor GPU driver updates.”

The coolest, most-anticipated features of the Linux 5.4 kernel include:

  • exFAT Support
  • Kernel LOCKDOWN mode
  • AMD/Intel graphics support improvements
  • EROFS file system (moved out of staging)
  • Kernel symbol namespacing
  • dm-clone
  • Support for Navi 12 and Navi 14.GPUs
  • Intel Tiger Lake “Gen 12” graphics support
  • Intel Ice Lake Thunderbolt support
  • Better FSCRYPT support
  • FS-VERITY file authentication support
  • Support for (some) older Intel XScale chips dropped
  • Various power management updates

There are a plethora of other changes and additional features in kernel 5.5 too, from improved/faster IO_uring to virtio-fs, and even two new madvise() flags.

However, the most anticipated updates are, without a doubt, the exFAT support and kernel LOCKDOWN mode.

Late last summer, Microsoft published the exFAT specification and made the popular file-system open-source.  Linux kernel developers wasted no time in integrating exFAT file-system support into the kernel.  Ensuring that support was included in the stable kernel 5.4 is a direct result of those efforts by kernel developers.

The Linux LOCKDOWN functionality is, in most cases, to provide Linux functionality for pairing with UEFI SecureBoot, as well as other security-sensitive environments.

If you want more detailed information on the 5.4 kernels, please check out our more in-depth article featuring the release from September.

The 5.4 kernels will be the last stable release of the year, with Linux kernel 5.5 slated for release in late January or early February 2020.  Rest assured that FOSS Linux will keep you posted.

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