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In brief

Graphics hardware support

  • Ben Skeggs, one of the main Nouveau driver developers, has asked the owners of notebooks with NVIDIA graphics chips to collect and submit some hardware information. The developer plans to use this information to improve the driver's MXM (Mobile PCI Express Module) support, which in the long run should also lead to better support for NVIDIA's graphics switching technology Optimus.
  • On the Fedora developer mailing list, developer Adam Jackson explains some problems with establishing DPI values via the EDID information that is submitted to operating systems by modern monitors. Problems like these are among the reasons why current GNOME versions ignore the DPI information and use a fixed default value instead.
  • Sometimes, putting a certain piece of hardware into the hands of the right person is enough to improve its Linux support: X veteran Keith Packard has released a patch series that improves the way in which the MacBook Air he has purchased co-operates with Linux; the changes might get included in a future stable kernel. In a blog posting, Packard provides some background on the Linux tests he ran on his laptop with an Intel Sandybridge processor; in a second posting, he offers some Linux installation tips (1, 2).
  • Dave Airlie is working on a heavily rewritten mode-setting driver for; while the driver offers only a smaller range of features, it uses the kernel's KMS interface and hence makes the the X Server run on graphics hardware for which KMS drivers are included in the kernel.
  • During, and following, a developer conference, various developers further discussed the idea of merging the most important graphics drivers back into the X Server code. No decision has so far been reached; provides some background in the article "Non-modular X?". In "Toward a unified display driver framework", the web site summarises a discussion around a proposal by a TI developer to work towards a unified kernel framework for accessing graphics hardware. There, several developers have advocated expanding the DRM subsystem to create such a framework.
  • AMD has released version 11.9 of its Catalyst graphics drivers for Linux; this is another release without release notes. Reportedly, the new version fixes some interaction problems with GNOME 3 – but other reports seem to indicate that this doesn't work in every case.
  • NVIDIA has released version 285.05.09 of its drivers for x86-32/x86 and x86-64/x64 systems. The new drivers fix several flaws and provide GeForce GT 520MX support. In September, the company released version 275.28 and, with it, introduced the "long-lived branch" – similar to Ubuntu's LTS versions, this branch intends to offer a stable user version that isn't subject to any major changes for a certain period of time.

Kernel environment ("plumbing layer"), userland drivers, developer tools, etc

  • On his blog, libguestfs developer Richard W M Jones points out the new virt-sparsify command line tool found in libguestfs 1.13.17. The program can perform such tasks as to search a guest system's image files or LVM volumes on the host for areas that contain data which is no longer relevant, for instance after a file has been deleted on the guest; it can then deallocate such areas, which reduces the size if the image ist stored in a sparse file.
  • Michael Kerrisk has released man-pages 3.33, 3.34 and 3.35; the latter is the first to document the recvmmsg and setns syscalls.
  • The developers of the Hplip (Hewlett-Packard's Linux Imaging and Printing Software) project have released version 3.11.10 of their driver framework for printers and multi-function devices by HP. Advancements listed in the release notes include the support of the following devices: HP DeskJet 3070 B611 series, HP Envy 110 e-All-in-One, HP LaserJet Enterprise 500 Color M551, HP OfficeJet Pro 8100, HP OfficeJet Pro 8600, HP PhotoSmart 5510 e-All-in-One, HP PhotoSmart 6510 e-All-in-One and HP PhotoSmart 7510 e-All-in-One.
  • Lennart Poettering has added parts 10 and 11 to his "Systemd for Administrators" series of blog postings.
  • Security subsystem maintainer James Morris has posted some information on the Linux Security Summit 2011, which took place in the periphery of the Linux Plumbers Conference. His blog posting contains links to the presentation slides and to an article on the "Kernel Hardening Roundtable" at

For other articles on Linux 3.1 and links to the rest of the "Coming in 3.1" series, see The H's Kernel Log Linux 3.1 Tracking page. New editions of Kernel Logs are also mentioned on and Twitter by @kernellog2. The Kernel Log author also posts updates about various topics on and Twitter as @kernellogauthor.

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