Linux Kernel 5.12 Released. This is What’s New

4 min

Linux Kernel 5.12 is available for download. We give you a brief of the new features and how to install the latest Kernel.

Linux Kernel 5.12
Linux Kernel 5.12

After an eventful merge window, we finally have the Linux Kernel 5.12 ready for you to download. It is indeed an eventful merge window because we had the nasty storage bug, Linus himself losing power due to snowstorm, then the University of Minnesota fiasco.

On the feature side, usual update across the processor, storage, and ports with performance improvements across file systems.

Thanks to everybody who made last week very calm indeed, which just
makes me feel much happier about the final 5.12 release.

Anyway, this obviously means that I’ll start the merge window for 5.13
tomorrow. But I’d ask that even developers champing at the bit to get
their shiny new code merged please spend a bit of time running and
checking out 5.12.

Despite the extra week, this was actually a fairly small release
overall. Judging by linux-next, 5.13 will be making up for it.

Linus on the announcement

Linux Kernel 5.12 – New Features


  • The Intel eASIC N5X Device (custom logic-based chip to power all types of devices) support lands in this Kernel.
  • Also, the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G Mobile platform support is included.
  • The NetGear R8000P Nighthawk X6S WiFi router
  • Allwinner H616 support as a video decoding SoC for OTT
  • Lenovo Laptop Platform Profile Support lands in this Kernel which gives the ability to the users to change the hardware profiles of the Laptop to the desired use case. For example, different profiles such as quiet mode, cool mode, balanced more, or low-power mode – these all handled by the Lenovo hardware with options to modify using scripts.
  • Microsoft Surface devices should run well and optimized thanks to the reverse-engineered Microsoft Surface System Aggregator Module handling.
  • Dynamic Thermal Power Management (DTPM) supports lands in this Kernel for mostly ARM devices. The code is supposed to restrict power to a set of devices when the surface temperature crosses a certain threshold.
  • A bunch of old ARM CPU support ends with this Kernel. A quick list is here.


  • Like every Kernel released, the several file systems see more fixes and performance improvements.
  • XFS and Btrfs see additional performance improvements. Btrfs have not better flushing operations during write and delete, zoned mode support.


  • More updates and fixes lands for Intel Rocker Lake and Tigerlake GPUs.
  • Qualcomm mobile phone graphics units Adreno 508, 509, and 512 support added in this cycle which are part of Snapdragon units in mobile devices.
  • Half precision FP16 pixel format support for more Radeon GPUs lands,
  • Radeon RX 6800/6900 series overclocking support is added.
  • Variable Refresh Rate or Adaptive Sync support via display port for Intel Xe (Gen12)
  • Tiger Lake devices are now supported by mainline Kernel. Remember this is not yet available via HDMI port due to HDMI specification restriction for the public.

Other devices, ports

  • USB4 port supports seeing continuous improvements.
  • Each Kernel release brings much new hardware support for various vendors. Here’s a quick catch up of the supports that are arriving in Kernel 5.12
  • Sony PlayStation 5 DualSense controller driver is merged in this Kernel.
    Broadcom VK accelerator driver is added.
  • The laptop’s hinge, keyboard angle can now is supported by code in this Kernel. This improves user interactions and opens up various application features.
  • Pioneer DJM-750 digital audio mixer support is added.
  • The old game console Nintendo 64 support is now added. (I don’t see a point of this, though. Because you can play the games using emulators easily).
  • If you work with sounds, it’s now easy to debug Sound features in your application with the inclusion of software-based audio jack injection flags.

Overall, many changes are seen on small form factor devices and the addition of drivers for many new devices across vendors in Linux Kernel 5.12. Usual changes across the storage and graphics phase. This means it is a quiet Kernel release.

Linux Kernel 5.12 release – Download and Install

You can install the mainline kernel packages from the below link right now in your latest Ubuntu or Ubuntu-based derivatives. But it is not recommended to install this as it might break the current Ubuntu Linux system whichever you are running (e.g Ubuntu 20.04 LTS). If you are running Debian, Ubuntu, and other stable releases – do not upgrade using the below steps. Instead, wait for an official update in respective distributions.

For general users, unless you are keen to experiment with the latest hardware whose support is added in this release, you should not update at the moment.

If you still want to install the latest Linux Kernel 5.12, follow the below instructions to install in Ubuntu-based systems.

  • Visit the mainline kernel page.
  • There are two types of builds available – generic and lowlatency. For common systems, you can download generic builds that work most of the time. For audio recordings and other setups that require low latency, download the lowlatency one.
  • Download below four packages for generic via terminal and install.
cd /tmp
wget -c
wget -c
wget -c
wget -c
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
  • After installation, reboot the system.

The instruction for lowlatency and other architecture (ARM) installations are the same. Replace the package name in above wget command. Below are the links to .deb files for other architectures.

If you are using Arch Linux, or Arch-based distribution, it is expected that Linux Kernel 5.12 release packages arrive within the May 2021 first week during monthly refresh.

Linux Kernel 5.12 would be available in the next installment of Ubuntu and Fedora Linux by end of this year.

Linux Kernel 5.13 development window kicks off with this stable release.


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