Linux 5.14 set to boost security for future enterprise applications – TechCrunch
Linux is slated for a big release this Sunday, August 29, paving the way for enterprise and cloud applications for the months to come. The 5.14 kernel update will include security and performance improvements.
One area of particular interest to businesses and cloud users is still security and to that end Linux 5.14 will bring several new features. Mike McGrath, vice president of Linux engineering at Red Hat, told TechCrunch that the kernel update includes a feature known as baseline planning, which is intended to help mitigate vulnerabilities at the core level. processor such as Specter and Meltdown, which first surfaced in 2018. One of the ways that Linux users have had to mitigate these vulnerabilities is by disabling hyper-threading on the processors and therefore taking a hit performance.
“Specifically, the feature helps divide approved and unapproved tasks so that they don’t share a kernel, limiting the overall threat area while keeping cloud-scale performance relatively unchanged,” McGrath explained. .
Another area of security innovation in Linux 5.14 is a feature in development for over a year and a half that will help protect system memory in a better way than before. Attacks against Linux and other operating systems often target memory as the primary attack surface to be exploited. With the new kernel, there is a capability known as memfd_secret () that will allow an application running on a Linux system to create a range of memory inaccessible to anyone, including the kernel.
“This means that cryptographic keys, sensitive data and other secrets can be stored there to limit exposure to other users or to system activity,” McGrath said.
At the heart of the open source Linux operating system that powers much of the cloud and enterprise application delivery is what is known as the Linux kernel. The kernel is the component that provides basic functionality for system operations.
Linux kernel version 5.14 has seen seven candidate versions in the past two months and benefits from contributions from 1,650 different developers. Those contributing to the development of the Linux kernel include individual contributors, as well as major vendors like Intel, AMD, IBM, Oracle, and Samsung. IBM’s Red Hat business unit is a major contributor to a given version of the Linux kernel. IBM acquired Red Hat for $ 34 billion as part of a deal reached in 2019.
“As with pretty much all kernel versions, we are seeing some very innovative capabilities in 5.14,” McGrath said.
Although Linux 5.14 is coming soon, it often takes a while before it is adopted in enterprise releases. McGrath said that Linux 5.14 will first appear in Red Hat’s Fedora Community Linux distribution and will be part of the future release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9. Gerald Pfeifer, CTO of enterprise Linux vendor SUSE, told TechCrunch that its company’s openSUSE Tumbleweed community release will likely include the Linux 5.14 kernel within “days” of the official release. On the business side, he noted that SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP4, due next spring, is expected to ship with the 5.14 kernel.
The new Linux update follows a major milestone for the open source operating system, as 30 years ago last Wednesday creator Linus Torvalds (pictured above) publicly announced the effort for the first times. During this time, Linux went from being an amateurish effort to powering the Internet’s infrastructure.
McGrath commented that Linux is already the backbone of the modern cloud and Red Hat is also excited about how Linux will be the backbone of advanced computing – not only in telecommunications, but across industries, from manufacturing and health to entertainment and service providers, for years to come.
The longevity and continued importance of Linux for the next 30 years is assured, according to Pfeifer. He noted that over the decades, Linux and open source have opened up unprecedented potential for innovation, coupled with openness and independence.
“Will Linux, the kernel, still be the leader in 30 years? I do not know. Will it be relevant? Absolutely, “he said.” Many of the approaches that we have created and developed will still be pillars of technological progress 30 years from now. Of that, I’m sure.