WireGuard VPN bundled into latest Linux release

Linux sign on a brick wall

The latest version of the open-source Linux operating system has been packaged with WireGuard virtual private network (VPN) as well as a host of improvements ranging from USB 4 support to MultiPath TCP.

Among the biggest changes in Linux 5.6 is support for Intel, AMD and Arm hardware and a fix for 32-bit systems that were expected to start counting time with negative numbers from 19 January 2038.

The kernel also has mainline support for Amazon Echo, a fix for overheating in ASUS laptops with AMD Ryzen processors, and a mainlined VirtualBox hypervisor Shared Folder driver for improved out-of-the-box VirtualBox guest support.

The addition of USB 4 support, meanwhile, is based on Intel Thunderbolt driver code.

A summary of the key changes has been provided courtesy of Phoronix.

The inclusion of WireGuard 1.0.0 serves as the main new feature, with the firm’s privacy tool recently going through stabilisation work, performance health-checks and security proofing.

WireGuard’s code has also been contributed to building Mozilla’s paid-for Firefox VPN, which began beta testing in February.

“So I'll admit to vacillating between doing this 5.6 release and doing another -rc,” Linux creator Linus Torvalds said.

“This has a bit more changes than I'd like, but they are mostly from davem's networking fixes pulls, and David feels comfy with them. And I looked over the diff, and none of it looks scary. It's just slightly more than I'd have preferred at this stage - not doesn't really seem worth delaying a release over."

Speculating over the effect of coronavirus on kernel development, Torvalds doesn’t presume that the pandemic will have a “fairly normal” 5.7 release, which is scheduled for June currently. There doesn’t seem to be any signs suggesting otherwise, but added that things could change at any moment.

Some of the features expected with the stable release of Linux version 5.7 include USB fast charge support for Apple iOS devices, improvements to the kernel’s floppy disk driver code, and better out-of-the-box touchscreen support, among others.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet
Features Editor

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.