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Linux 4.8 kernel will support newer hardware, including your Microsoft Surface 3

After going through eight different release candidates, Linux engineer Linus Torvalds officially announced the release of the Linux 4.8 kernel branch on Monday, marking the end of a long and arduous testing cycle and the beginning of a new one.

The release of the 4.8 kernel branch comes just in time for Ubuntu 16.10, which is slated to release later in October and will be one of the first major Linux distros to use the brand new mainline kernel. Other distributions which use rolling releases, should see the 4.8 kernel incorporated soon, which is good news for anyone running Linux on newer hardware.

The latest 4.8 kernel boasts wide support for newer hardware, including improvements to existing drivers — most notably for GPUs, networking and a handful of CPU architectures, reports Softpedia.

Related: Popular farming sim ‘Stardew Valley’ rolls out support for Linux and Mac OS.

Of particular note for this most recent Linux kernel, is the inclusion of support for the Microsoft Surface 3 touchscreen which opens up a branch of hardware previously closed to Linux users. Now you will have an easier time running your favorite distro on a Surface Book or Surface Pro.

Among the usual bug fixes and improvements are a few other items of note, namely support for Nvidia’s impressive new Pascal architecture, which will mean eventual support for the GTX 1000-series. That is right, you cannot plug your GTX 1080 into your Linux machine just yet, but you should be able to soon, once Nvidia starts rolling out support for open source drivers on their GTX 1000-series cards.

On that note, the latest Linux kernel includes support for AMD’s OverDrive for the first time. Now you will finally be able to overclock the AMD graphics card in your Linux machine, but you will want to double check for compatibility issues as support is currently limited to GPUs using the AMDGPU kernel driver.

As the merge window closes on the Linux 4.8 kernel, the official merge window for 4.9 should be opening soon, for all of you who cannot wait to start working on the next update to the Linux kernel.