Linux 5.1 Adds Security, Memory Improvements


Latest kernel adds SafeSetID security module, support for using persistent memory as RAM and other essential features

Linus Torvalds has released the Linux 5.1 kernel, adding performance, security and stability improvements.

Torvalds said over the weekend that improvements had been carried out across all aspects of the release.

“On the whole, 5.1 looks very normal with just over 13,000 commits (plus another 1,000+ if you count merges, which is pretty much our normal size these days),” Torvalds wrote in the release announcement.

“No way to boil that down to a sane shortlog, with work all over.”

Linux creator Linus Torvalds

SafeSetID security

The release is Linux’s second this year, following that of the 5.0 kernel on 3 March.

The new kernel adds to security with a SafeSetID Linux Security Module (LSM), which adds a layer of protection when running scripts with administrator privileges.

The kernel also adds support for persistent memory as RAM.

On newer systems this gives users the option of giving the system an expanded RAM memory footprint, albeit by using the slower nonvolatile memory (NVM) hardware that provides persistent storage.

Persistent memory as RAM

“This is intended for use with NVDIMMs that are physically persistent (physically like flash) so that they can be used as a cost-effective RAM replacement,” wrote developer Dave Hansen.

“Intel Optane DC persistent memory is one implementation of this kind of NVDIMM.”

Another new feature is Atomic Replace, which is designed to help manage major system updates without rebooting.

It allows an administrator to create “cumulative patches”, which install a number of changes from older live patches in one transition.

The kernel also includes support for a number of new hardware drivers.

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