Linux 5.6 is out with USB4 and GeForce RTX GPU support, plus much more

(Image credit: Future)

A new Linux Kernel version 5.6 has been officially released with some important changes including the addition of support for USB4, and GeForce RTX 2000 series graphics cards with the Nouveau driver.

Yes, Turing GPU support has arrived with the open source Nouveau driver, along with the proprietary firmware images, as reports. However, don’t get too excited, as re-clocking doesn’t work yet (getting the GPU to operate at stock clocks), and other important pieces of the puzzle are missing (like no Vulkan support with Nouveau).

For the unfamiliar, Nouveau is an alternative to Nvidia’s proprietary drivers on Linux, and although it remains in a relatively rough state in comparison, it’s still good to see things progressing for Linux gamers with one of Nvidia’s latest cards in their PC.

Linux 5.6 also introduces fresh elements on the AMD front, with better reset support for Navi and Renoir graphics cards (which helps the GPU recover if it hits a problem).

Next-gen connectivity

USB4 support has been ushered in by Intel, which is also good to see. That’s the incoming next-gen connectivity standard offering 40Gbps data transfer speeds (it’s built on Thunderbolt 3 tech), with the first devices expected to pitch up later in 2020.

Another notable move is the introduction of WireGuard support, a newcomer VPN protocol which makes a potentially nifty alternative to OpenVPN (check our best VPN solution by the way)

Linux 5.6 also supports the Amazon Echo speaker, and naturally comes with a raft of other minor improvements, not to mention some important fixes. In the latter category, there is a solution for Asus laptops running with AMD Ryzen CPUs which prevents the processor from overheating and down-clocking.

Phoronix further observes that the Linux 5.7 merge window is now open, and work progressing on the next kernel version is not expected to be impacted by any coronavirus disruption – at least not in any major way.

When announcing the release of the Linux 5.6 kernel, Linus Torvalds observed: “I’m currently going by the assumption that we’ll have a fairly normal 5.7 release, and there doesn’t seem to be any signs saying otherwise, but hey, people may have better-than-usual reasons for missing the merge window.”

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).