Linus Torvalds, principal developer of the open-source Linux kernel, recently announced Linux 4.6, which he believes is a major release.
Linux 4.6 arrives two months after the previous kernel update, but this one has a few comprehensive changes that end-users will be able to spot in specific devices.
This release, which was developed under the code name “Charred Weasel,” addresses an important issue for owners of select Lenovo laptops that used to operate at high temperatures; this has been resolved. Other portable platforms getting new driver support include Dell, Asus and the esteemed Alienware gaming laptops.
There is an interesting story about the reason this project was named “Charred Weasel.” It so happened in late April that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a powerful particle accelerator housed in Switzerland, was shut down by a short circuit caused by a weasel that gnawed a power cable. The poor weasel was charred by the incident, which took the LHC offline. As the LHC runs on Linux, the “Charred Weasel” code name was chosen for the 4.6 release candidate.
Owners of Raspberry Pi computers and other platforms powered by ARM processors are the most likely to see improvements once the 4.6 kernel is implemented. It is important to remember that the Android mobile operating system is based on Linux, and thus billions of mobile devices around the world will benefit from this latest release.
Each Linux kernel release becomes major news for owners of devices such as smartphones, tablets, embedded systems, smart routers, auto infotainment centers, and television set-top boxes. However, consumer electronics are hardly the only devices that rely on the Linux architecture. Linux 4.6 offers support for the 64-bit ARM architecture, which is undergoing high rates of adoption around the world.
Another interesting aspect of this latest Linux kernel release is the number of improvements made to accommodate high-performance computing options. For example, IBM chose Linux as the default operating system for its Power line of computers, which are powered by the new Power9 processors. The IBM Power computers are not your typical desktop PCs; they are used for research and for high-end server applications.