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More in brief

Support for graphics hardware
  • Intel developer Eugeni Dodonov announced in his blog that two git repositories had been set up that are based on Linux 3.0 and 3.1 but include the Intel DRM/KMS drivers from the current kernel version. A few days later, Daniel Vetter said that he would take over maintenance of the git branch with the Intel DRM/KMS drivers for linux-next. After a merge window closes, the changes for the kernel version after the next one (currently Linux 3.4) are always combined in the linux-next branch. Dodonov then explained that he would include these newer graphics drivers in his git branches in future so that users could test the most recent DRM/KMS drivers without having to use experimental kernels.
  • The VMware developers announced version 11.1.0 of the VMware graphics driver for; shortly thereafter, they published alpha drivers to version 11.99.901 which will be the basis for version 12.0.0.
  • Adam Jackson has put an experimental patch up for discussion that adds a "virtual GEM provider" to the kernel's DRM code. The idea is to reduce overhead, thereby improving graphics performance when the processor, rather than the graphics hardware, is calculating the graphics effects. This is another component of Jackson's efforts to make the GNOME shell run smoothly even on systems with graphics drivers that do not support 3D.
Kernel plumbing layer, userland drivers, developer tools, etc.
  • Johannes Berg has released version 3.3 of the iw WLAN configuration tool.
  • Recently released by Lucas De Marchi, version 4 of kmod, the alternative to module-init-tools, now offers the full range of planned features and is therefore considered "feature complete".
  • Lennart Poettering has published the twelfth part of his blog series "Systemd for Administrators". The post deals with security considerations for services.
  • The KVM developers are asking people to test the newest development version of Qemu-Img, which they say offers better support for the vmdk image format used by VMware products, thanks to a Google Summer of Code project.
  • Karel Zak has announced the first release candidate of the Util-Linux 2.21 tool collection. One new feature is the chcpu programme, which can search for new CPUs, turn them on and off, and more; it can also ask for more processor cores from the hypervisor or give them back. Another addition is prlimit, said to be much more flexible than ulimit, which is built into the shell. The login and losetup tools were completely rewritten and now offer more functions. Big changes were also made to mount and umount, wipefs, partx and some other tools.
LKML discussions
  • After the breach at late last summer, Linus Torvalds is pushing more and more for the use of signed git pull requests, which are possible in the current release candidates for Git 1.7.9, which is still being developed. The head Git developer explains some of the background in a blog entry and an LKML message. Torvalds pointed out that this method of requesting changes also means that the additional information in pull request emails will land in the merge commit and therefore be able to be seen later in the Git history; one example is the merge commit for the changes to Linux 3.3 collected by Andrew Morton that were recently added to the main development branch of Linux.
  • Chromium developer Will Drewry's "dynamic seccomp policies (using BPF filters)" patch sparked a long – and still continuing – discussion on the LKML. He added mechanisms to seccomp ("secure computing") to limit the functions that a certain process is allowed to invoke, thereby letting browsers securely execute program code from the internet. explains some of the background in its article "Yet another new approach to seccomp".

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 and Twitter by @kernellog2. The Kernel Log author also posts updates about various topics on and Twitter as @kernellogauthor.

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