Linus Torvalds today announced the availability of Linux kernel 5.16-rc5, a release candidate on the road to 5.16. The only roadblock between this release candidate and an official release is Santa Claus. Not literally, of course. Linus blames the delay on the holidays, causing development to slow down. The release window is expected to be pushed back one week, with Torvalds saying that:
"Do give it a good testing - with the holidays coming up, things are probably going to slow down both on the development and testing front, and as a result I expect that I will also extend the rc series by another week not because it's necessarily needed (too early to tell, but doesn't feel that way), but simply because nobody will want to open the next merge window immediately in the new year."
According to the announcement, we can expect the usual peppering of filesystem updates, general kernel additions, and improvements to networking. However, there are lots of driver updates and two of them target Microsoft’s Surface line of devices. One relates to the button array on the Surface Go 3 but isn't explained clearly. Apparently, it properly implements the five-button array on the tablet itself. The other solves a multitouch issue with the non-pro Type Cover of the Surface 3. The problem only affected this variant.
Looking forward at 5.16, Mac users can expect improved support for Apple’s M1 chip, while gamers can expect the already available Nintendo Switch Pro controller driver to be merged into the mainline kernel. This means you’ll finally be able to use the Switch Pro Controller outside of Steam with no extra effort. Stable support for Intel’s Alder Lake graphics is also a notable feature.
Regardless of the delay, you can expect the release sometime in January.