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As usual, there are a number of improvements to the drivers and infrastructure for DVB hardware, including support for the KWorld PC150-U ATSC hybrid tuner card as well as for the AzureWave 6007 and related USB 2.0 DVB-T/C hardware; a new Realtek RTL2831U driver for DVB-T hardware has also been added.

Some drivers – such as those for audio hardware, AHCI and SATA adapters – also gained support to work with Intel's Lynx Point chipsets, which Intel intends to release in 2013 along with the Haswell processors, as 8 Series chipsets; their predecessors were just recently released.

The "Coming in 3.4" series

The Kernel Log can already share an overview of the most important new features of Linux 3.4, expected in the second half of May, since the kernel hackers have integrated all the major changes in the first two development weeks. Hence the 3.4 kernel is currently in its stabilisation phase, in which the kernel developers avoid big changes and focus on fixing bugs.

The articles on the changes and additions will discuss the kernel's various functional areas one by one:

A further article will cover changes to graphics drivers as the "Coming in 3.4" series concludes.

A driver has been added to the Linux 3.4 kernel for Synaptics touchpads connected via USB. In his main git pull request, audio subsystem maintainer Takashi Iwai writes that the automatic handling of hardware-specific quirks for Realtek's audio codecs has been further improved; Linux 3.2 and 3.3 already included a number of improvements in this area that allow the kernel to automatically configure Realtek's audio codecs correctly on many systems.

Samsung notebooks saw several big changes in their drivers, including one that allows them to turn on keyboard backlighting for some devices. The USB code now automatically activates USB 3.0 hubs' sleep function. Sysfs can now be used to query whether the hardware connected to a USB port can be removed based on runtime information from the firmware/BIOS. An Audio Class 2.0 Driver has been added to the USB gadget code so that a Linux system can appear to be USB audio hardware to another system.


The Hyper V Storage driver has moved from the staging tree to the SCSI subsystem; it was the last driver for Microsoft's virtualisation interface to leave the area designated for drivers that don't meet the kernel developers' demands for quality, which means that the Microsoft drivers may soon also start showing up in distributions with few or no staging drivers. Microsoft presented these drivers, developed in-house, in July 2009 but didn't pay much attention to improving the code at first.

Zram and Zcache no longer use xvmalloc to allocate memory; instead, they use the newly added zsmalloc allocator (1, 2). In addition, Zcache can now use the Crypto API. Meanwhile, staging maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced that he will not accept any more changes to Zcache and the code it uses that adds functions, telling the developers to first fix the quality-related problems so the code can go from the staging area to the appropriate subsystems. Two drivers that have moved to the staging area are a driver for a "USB over Wi-Fi Host Controller" from Ozwpan (1 and others) and the android-alarm Android driver.

Another newcomer to the staging area is RAMster, which a system that is running low on RAM can use to outsource some data and store it in the memory of another system in a cluster to avoid using swap space. However, there was quite a lot of back-and-forth in this process, which is another example of how some work patterns can have an effect on statistics that try to analyse which developers and companies submit the most code: RAMster was initially integrated (1, 2 and others), then completely removed, only to be integrated again shortly thereafter (1, 2 and others); then, some problems were detected, at which point the developers marked RAMster as broken. That change was reverted a few weeks later, once the problems had been fixed.

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