Kernel Log: Linux 3.1 approaches
by Thorsten Leemhuis
Kernel version 3.1 will probably be released in the next few days. After a break of more than four weeks, Greg Kroah-Hartman has released new stable kernels. The X.org developers are thinking about merging the most important graphics drivers into the X Server.
Late last Tuesday night, Linus Torvalds issued the ninth release candidate of Linux 3.1. Since then, some further corrections have been integrated into the main development branch; however, in the past few days there have not been any new hints on when Linux 3.1 might get released – but it is likely to be released some time this week, or next week at the latest, as indicated by Torvalds when releasing RC7.
Linus Torvalds explained in his release email that in RC9, a new GPG key for signing Git tags has been used for the first time. The new key is said to be stronger than the old one and has already been signed by more developers who are known to Torvalds; however, the tag has also been signed with the old key.
With various services at kernel.org having been reinstated a few days ago, the Git branch at kernel.org is once again the first location for obtaining the Linux sources. Torvalds for now seems to be continuing to update the Git repository at GitHub, which he created for Linux development while kernel.org was down. Willy Tarreau meanwhile has released checksums of the tar archives of Linux since version 2.6.12; these checksums allow users to verify that their archives contain unmodified source code.
Greg Kroah-Hartman has released stable kernel version 3.0.5 which, more than four weeks after the release of 3.0.4, includes over two hundred changes; version 3.0.6 was released shortly afterwards to correct a bug in 3.0.5. Both versions are currently only available via Git, because neither the old nor any new Linux source code archives can yet be found at kernel.org.
- Thomas Gleixner has released real-time kernel 3.0.6-rt17, which fixes a long-standing problem in this RT series whose cause was difficult to track down.
- The main Btrfs developer, Chris Mason, has announced various major changes to the experimental filesystem and said that he intends to focus on releasing the long-awaited filesystem checking tool for Btrfs; the developer plans to demonstrate the tool at LinuxCon Europe, which will take place in Prague at the end of October. In his announcement, Mason also mentioned that, inside Oracle, Btrfs is now being made the default filesystem for Oracle Linux.
- In the situation involving two competing drivers for recent Wi-Fi chips by Broadcom, the Wi-Fi subsystem maintainer has indicated that he intends to merge the drivers which Broadcom has been improving within the staging tree in the past year; one of the veteran Linux Wi-Fi developers meanwhile suggested quite a few improvements.
- Kernel development veteran Dave Jones has submitted a patch for review that makes the kernel mark itself as "taint: crap" if it detects the VirtualBox kernel module. This variant of tainting has so far been used when loading staging drivers. Jones, who maintains the Fedora kernels, explained that the reason for his proposal is a number of bug reports that are probably caused by this GPL-licensed driver.
- Kay Sievers, Lennart Poettering and Harald Hoyer have submitted a "Plumber's Wish List for Linux" to the LKML. The three developers have listed functions they would like to see in software that connects the kernel to the desktop environment and applications; tools such as Udev, Systemd and Dracut, which where developed by these programmers, fall into this category. At the Linux Plumbers Conference 2011, some of these tools were the focus of a session on booting and system initialisation that was covered by LWN.net.