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Linux 6.0 is Here! Linus Wants to Pet Your Backends

Linux 6Linux 6.0 is out!  And it’s…well…

So, as is hopefully clear to everybody, the major version number
change is more about me running out of fingers and toes than it is
about any big fundamental changes.

But of course there’s a lot of various changes in 6.0 – we’ve got over
15k non-merge commits in there in total, after all, and as such 6.0 is
one of the bigger releases at least in numbers of commits in a while.

So what’s really new?  As usual, new kernels contain new drivers and new hardware support.  9to5 Linux has a good summary of what’s new, and there’s one part worth noting:

There are also good news for virtualization as Linux kernel 6.0 introduces a new pseudo-device called ‘guest vCPU stall detector’ that can act as a watchdog to tell the host if the VM has stalled.

In many years of using VMs, I would say the VM-related problems are usually:

  • Problems/hangs at boots
  • Non-responsive VM requiring a panel reset, or sometimes the provider has to step in to fix it

For some reason, these issues pop up on everything from big providers to small providers.  They’re more frequent with lower-quality hosts but over the years, I’ve had  everyone from Azure to providers that are now out of business have occasional hung VMs.  Perhaps this fix will help?  The description sounds rather salacious:

This adds a mechanism to detect stalls on the guest vCPUS by creating a
per CPU hrtimer which periodically ‘pets’ the host backend driver.
On a conventional watchdog-core driver, the userspace is responsible for
delivering the ‘pet’ events by writing to the particular /dev/watchdogN node.




  1. Host quality is a factor, and I’ve seen hanging VMs more often on lower-quality servers, but I’ve seen them on Azure and even on providers who have gone out of business.

    November 1, 2022 @ 11:29 pm | Reply
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    November 28, 2022 @ 4:01 am | Reply
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