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In brief

The kernel

  • At the end of March, the git-commits-head mailing list – hosted at vger.kernel.org like the LKML – resumed sending emails for all changes made by Linus Torvalds to the main Linux development tree. The list had not been working properly since August 2011, because the scripts for generating commit emails were no longer running following the security breach at kernel.org.
  • In a blog posting, SUSE's Olaf Kirch details some of the reasons behind SUSE's decision to upgrade from Linux 2.6.32 to 3.0 in Service Pack 2 for SUSE Enterprise Linux 11, which the company released in late February. He says that SUSE will likely undertake similar upgrades in future. LWN.net recently examined some of the factors involved in upgrading kernel versions in enterprise distributions in its article "Kernel competition in the enterprise space". The article includes a look at Oracle, which recently undertook a version jump from 2.6.32 to 3.0 for its Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK).
  • Luis R. Rodriguez has released new versions of compat-wireless which enable the Linux 3.3 wireless drivers to be used with older kernel versions.

Graphics hardware support

  • After some preliminary planning, Egbert Eich has now officially announced that the X.Org Developer Conference 2012 (XDC2012) will be held in Nuremberg, Germany. Background information can be found on the X.Org wiki and in a blog posting by Eich.
  • There have been a number of minor advances relating to the use of GPGPU (General-Purpose computing on Graphics Processing Units) with open source software. Nouveau developer Francisco Jerez has published two patch series, and invited feedback on them both. They add infrastructure for compute support, which can be used via OpenCL, to Mesa 3D's Gallium3D framework (1, 2). He also talks about extensions to Mesa 3D's Radeon and Nouveau drivers to enable them to interact with the compute infrastructure. Additionally, he mentions an LLVM backend for 2XXX and 6XXX series Radeon HD graphics cards which is required for the Radeon driver – this was sent to the LLVM developers for review a few days subsequent to this by developer Tom Stellard. Jerez has also merged OpenCL state tracker "Clover", which has previously been developed separately from Mesa 3D, into a Mesa 3D tree going by the name gallium-compute in order to prepare for its integration into Mesa 3D. Meanwhile, Shinpei Kato of the University of California unveiled Gdev, which contains a range of open source components for utilising the computational capabilities of NVIDIA graphics chips via APIs such as NVIDIA's CUDA. Gdev currently supports the Fermi graphics chips found on most GeForce 400 and 500 series graphics cards.

Kernel plumbing layer, userland drivers, developer tools, etc.

  • Canonical's Martin Pitt is working on systemd packages for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, scheduled to arrive later this month.
  • Lennart Poettering has posted a blog entry discussing the directories used by recent Linux distributions to store temporary files. He also discusses the benefits of tmpfs for /tmp/. Arch Linux and Debian use a tmpfs setup, in which temporary files are saved in memory rather than to disk, with the result that they are purged on rebooting. Fedora is planning to make this change in version 18 and openSUSE is also mulling it over.
  • Pablo Neira Ayuso has released nfacct 1.0.0, libnetfilter_acct 1.0.0 and iptables 1.4.13. The latter adds support for rpfilterPDF and for Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) with IPv6.
  • Jim Meyering has released coreutils 8.16, in which ln now supports the --relative option for always creating a relative link, regardless of how it is created. Harald Hoyer gives a practical example of this in a posting on Google+. A new conv=sparse mode has also been added in dd, enabling it to create sparse files.
  • Version 1.42.2 of ext utilities collection e2fsprogs contains some minor fixes and enhancements. Resize2fs, for example, is now supposed to require significantly fewer CPU resources and hence be much faster when resizing large disks.

LKML discussions

  • Intel developer Artem Bityutskiy has unveiled Aiaiai, a new tool to enable kernel developers to subject patches and patch collections to a range of tests.
  • During the Linux 3.4 merge window, Linus Torvalds once again reminded some subsystem developers how they should go about creating their git repositories and made his disapproval of certain practices clear (1, 2, 3).

Further background information about the developments in the Linux kernel area can be found using the search function at The H Open Source. Information about previous Linux kernel releases can be found in The H's Linux Kernel History. New editions of Kernel Logs are also mentioned on Identi.ca and Twitter by @kernellog2. The Kernel Log author also posts updates about various topics on Identi.ca and Twitter as @kernellogauthor.

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