Renowned kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the release and general availability for download of the Linux 4.19 kernel, a major update that adds new features and performance improvements.
After almost two months of development and no less than eight RCs (Release Candidates), the Linux 4.19 kernel series is now available as the most advanced kernel on the market for Linux-based operating systems. It was released by Greg Kroah-Hartman as Linus Torvalds two a few weeks off from doing any kernel maintenance.
"It's been a long strange journey for this kernel release... While it was not the largest kernel release every by number of commits, it was larger than the last 3 releases, which is a non-trivial thing to do," said Greg Kroah-Hartman. "Linus, I'm handing the kernel tree back to you. You can have the joy of dealing with the merge window."
Here's what's new in Linux kernel 4.19
Highlights of the Linux 4.19 kernel series include initial support for the recently announced Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) wireless protocol, which will be coming to routers sometime next year, a brand-new asynchronous I/O polling interface, better protection in standard directories like /tmp, and CAKE network queue management support.
It also introduces a new controller that promises to guarantee the minimum I/O latency for cgroups, adds more memory improvements to OverlayFS, a union mount filesystem implementation for Linux, support for Intel's cache pseudo-locking CPU feature, and a new, experimental file system, EROFS (Enhanced Read-Only File System).
Security-wise, Linux kernel 4.19 brings mitigations for the L1 Terminal Fault (L1FT) and SpectreRSB vulnerabilities on x86 hardware, KPTI (kernel page-table isolation) protection for x86-32 systems, and a new default Spectre Variant 2 mitigation technique called Enhanced IBRS, for Intel CPUs.
Spectre V2 mitigations are also available for IBM PowerPC processors in Linux 4.19, which improves KVM Shadow Paging performance and updates numerous drivers for better hardware support. Linux kernel 4.19 is now available for download from kernel.org if you want to compile it, but it's coming soon to a GNU/Linux distro near you, too.
This would probably happen in about two weeks time after the first point release, Linux kernel 4.19.1, will be out. According to Greg Kroah-Hartman, the Linux 4.19 kernel series will also be supported for the next couple of years or more as an LTS (Long Term Support) kernel branch, so you might want to upgrade to it.