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Kernel 6.8 marked for end of life by Linux, with new upgrade ready to go

A new Linux kernel upgrade is recommended
Last Updated on May 31, 2024
Kernel 6.8 marked for end of life by Linux, with new upgrade ready to go
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The Linux kernel, the core that essentially powers your operating system distribution, is constantly changing with new versions and upgrades seemingly always on the go. Older versions eventually reach end-of-life (EOL), meaning they no longer receive security updates. Why is this a problem? Well, it could leave your system vulnerable to potential attacks, this is true for any software beyond end of life. Upgrading to the latest supported kernel, version 6.9 in this case, is important to maintain a secure and healthy system.

Goodbye to 6.8, hello to 6.9

Kernel 6.8, a software that only launched in March 2024, has already been marked down by Linux for end-of-life. 6.8 introduced new features like LAM (Linear Address Masking) virtualization and guest-first memory support for KVM, a basic online filesystem check and repair mechanism.

In an announcement from Greg Kroah-Hartman, he notes: “I’m announcing the release of the 6.8.12 kernel. All users of the 6.8 kernel series must upgrade. Note, this the LAST 6.8.y release, this branch is now end-of-life“. With this kernel now needing an upgrade, let’s take a look at what users can expect to move on next.

Released in May 2024, Linux kernel 6.9 offers a range of improvements for developers and users. Developers working on ARM64 systems will appreciate the addition of Rust language support, which helps with speed and memory safety, as well as the addition of other modern features. The kernel 6.9 also enhances event delivery with the Intel FRED mechanism, streamlining how low-level system events are handled. Security receives support through AMD Secure Nested Paging, a technology that isolates virtual machines for better protection.

How to upgrade

Upgrading to kernel 6.9 is straightforward for users of Arch Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, and Linux Lite. These distributions typically include the latest kernel in their official repositories. Ubuntu users can follow a specific upgrade guide, while other distributions will likely receive the update soon through their usual update channels.

However, it’s important to note that kernel 6.9 itself has a shorter support lifespan. This means it won’t receive security updates for as long as some other options. If long-term stability is your primary concern, consider upgrading to an LTS (Long Term Support) kernel series like 6.6 LTS or 6.1 LTS. These LTS kernels are supported for much longer periods, typically around two years, which ensures a more stable and secure experience.

Tom is a tech writer with a detailed view on ensuring the best buying advice, most useful information, and latest news makes its way into PC Guide's articles.

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