The 5.14 kernel update, which was released by Linus Torvalds on August 29th, includes notable security and performance improvements, reports Sean Michael Kerner in TechCrunch.
Specifically, Kerner says, this release “includes a feature known as core scheduling, which is intended to help mitigate processor-level vulnerabilities like Spectre and Meltdown, which first surfaced in 2018. One of the ways that Linux users have had to mitigate those vulnerabilities is by disabling hyper-threading on CPUs and therefore taking a performance hit.”
Another new security feature is aimed at protecting memory. “Attacks against Linux and other operating systems often target memory,” Kerner writes. “With the new kernel, there is a capability known as memfd_secret () that will enable an application running on a Linux system to create a memory range that is inaccessible to anyone else, including the kernel.”
The latest kernel release comes at a time when the 30th anniversary of Linux is being celebrated within the industry, as Torvalds notes in his release statement. “So I realize you must all still be busy with all the galas and fancy balls and all the other 30th anniversary events,” he says.
But, when you tire of the festivities, he writes, “take a breather, build a kernel, test it out, and then you can go back to the seemingly endless party.”