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Kernel version status

Since the latest regular Kernel Log, Greg Kroah-Hartman has released long-term kernel versions 3.0.23, 3.0.24 and 3.0.25, as well as stable kernels 3.2.9, 3.2.10, 3.2.11 and 3.2.12. In his release emails, the kernel developer offers his usual emphatic advice for the users of self-compiled kernels to switch to the latest versions that offer a range of minor improvements and bug fixes – and may potentially also fix some security issues.

Having discontinued the maintenance of kernel version 2.6.32 in early March Kroah-Hartman has collected, in a blog post, some further thoughts and some background information on the maintenance of this kernel version that is used by several major Linux distributions.

As announced, Willy Tarreau, who has maintained the series 2.4 kernels and version 2.6.27, has taken over the maintenance of kernel version 2.6.32 and has already released Linux 2.6.32.59; at the same time, he also made Linux 2.6.27.62 available.

Almost 40 hours after releasing Linux 3.3, Linus Torvalds worked on the first commits for Linux 3.4; at the time of this Kernel Log's publication, he had already merged about 3,900 changes. With these changes, the SCSI driver for Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualisation interface has left the staging area. The brcmfmac Brcm80211 driver now supports Broadcom's bcm43235, bcm43236 and bcm43238 USB Wi-Fi chips; extensions to the Netfilter infrastructure allow administrators to define separate time-out rules for every data stream ("cttimeout infrastructure").

In brief

Kernel

  • In a blog post entitled "Transactional Memory Everywhere: 2012 Update for HTM", kernel developer and RCU code maintainer Paul McKenney has described various areas where he thinks that the use of Transactional Memory (TM) could make sense under Linux; Intel's Haswell processors, expected to be released next year, will offer this functionality that improves and, most importantly, accelerates thread synchronisation.
  • In his "XFS status update for February 2012", Christoph Hellwig mentions some patches that modify the code for caching quota information and which have been discussed on the XFS mailing list. These changes will dramatically improve performance in systems with many quotas, noted Hellwig.
  • Kernel developer Roland Dreier describes his attempts to create a filesystem on a 100 petabyte (100,000 terabyte) volume in a blog post. He said that he encountered problems even with the latest Ext4 userspace programs that are capable of creating filesystems of more than 16 TB. The Btrfs formatting program failed because it tried to notify the volume of unused memory areas via discard – which, Dreier says, would take several weeks. The developer managed to set up the volume with XFS because the formatting application offers a switch that prevents it from issuing discard notifications.

Graphics hardware support

  • In a blog post, Tom Stellard explains how to use OpenCL and some partially experimental code to perform computations on recent Radeon graphics cores.
  • AMD developer Christian König has casually mentioned in an email that he is currently reviewing extensions to the open source drivers that will apparently allow the video components (Unified Video Decoders, UVDs) of some Radeon chips to be used.
  • Intel developer Eric Anholt is working on changes that will allow the Intel driver and future versions of Mesa 3D to support the OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL) 1.40.
  • In an email, Adam Jackson has summarised some major new features of X Server 1.12 that only become apparent when taking a closer look at the change log; X Server 1.12 was introduced in early March. In addition to multi-touch support, this version also offers various features for implementing multi-seat systems via Udev and Systemd; other improvements include smooth scrolling capabilities and changes to DRI2 that are designed to optimise triple buffering and reduce memory consumption.
  • Dave Airlie continues to work on the restructuring measures for X.org's X Server that will allow the server to activate added graphics hardware without requiring a restart; the developer mentions this in an email in which he presents for discussion various technical considerations related to the addition or removal of graphics chips.

Next: More in brief - Plumbing Layer, LKML

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