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In brief

Kernel
  • As expected, Linux versions 2.6.39.1 and 2.6.38.8 were released shortly after the latest regular Kernel Log; the latter version concludes the maintenance of kernel series .38.
  • A video on video.linux.com, from time stamp 8:45, offers a recording of a conversation Linus Torvalds and Greg Kroah-Hartman recently had at LinuxCon Japan 2011. Among other things, they talk about the version jump to 3.0 and about the 20th anniversary that is coming up later this summer; a summary of the podium discussion is available on LWN.net.
  • Long-time Libata kernel hacker Tejun Heo has added a warning about Marvell ATA controllers with AHCI to the wiki for the Linux ATA code. These chipsets are reportedly suffering from incomplete and/or buggy Linux support and should be avoided for the time being. In his accompanying email, the developer said that there have been a lot of problems with these controllers, and that the blame is definitely shared between the Marvell and Libata developers. Heo added that he doesn't have the time and energy to go hunting after chipsets and documentation, and that Marvell doesn't appear to be particularly interested in solving the issue.
  • A few weeks ago, the Phoronix web site reported that some notebooks have been found to use more power with current kernel versions. It seems that the main causes for this still haven't been found; however, a change that has been integrated into Linux 3.0 and 2.6.39.1 fixes a bug which had increased power consumption on certain systems.
  • A blog posting on news.opensuse.org provides a few tips for SUSE users who are interested in the Linux kernel. Among other things, it mentions the Git repository with the openSUSE kernel sources, which has recently been moved, and various repositories that offer precompiled kernels which have been optimised for openSUSE or SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) – including new openSUSE and vanilla kernels, as well as some that are based on the main development branch or on Linux-Next.
  • The OSADL has released an article that provides various tips for improving the real-time properties of RT kernels.
Graphics hardware support
  • In a blog posting, GNOME and Mutter developer Owen Taylor provides information and benchmark results and discusses problem areas concerning the influence of different compositors on everyday desktop graphics performance. The developer said that he was motivated to write the posting by a Phoronix test in which the GNOME shell didn't do particularly well. This was reportedly caused by Mutter, which apparently doesn't stop interfering with a full-screen 3D application because it doesn't support "unredirecting"; however, the developer said that there are patches which provide this functionality.
  • Alex Deucher has extended the X.org wiki page for the Radeon driver he co-develops to include a section about "Hybrid Graphics". Deucher says that switching between chipset graphics and a separate graphics chip is possible via vgaswitcheroo, provided that the hardware uses a multiplexer (mux) for switching between the two display output pathways.
  • In tweets and in various contributions to a discussion, Adam Jackson has hinted at pending improvements to Mesa 3D. The improvements will reportedly allow the GNOME shell of GNOME 3, which relies on 3D acceleration, to operate sufficiently fast even if 3D processing is handled by the main processor rather than the graphics chip ("software rendering").
  • Mesa 3D 7.1 is due to be released on 22 July.
  • Intel developer Chris Wilson has extended the X.org driver for notebook and desktop hardware by Intel to include an "SNA" (Sandy Bridge's New Acceleration) acceleration framework. The commit comment about the code that has since been further improved and corrected includes various measuring results generated with Firefox, xfce4-terminal and GNOME Terminal; most of the benchmarks have become faster, some of them even many times faster. The framework is optimised for the graphics core of Sandy Bridge, a processor family introduced by Intel at the beginning of 2011; however, the developer indicates that it could also benefit older Intel chips.
  • NVIDIA has released version 275.09.07 (x86-32, x86-64) of its proprietary video driver. The updated drivers include support for the GeForce models 315M, 320M, 410M, GT545, GTX560 and GTX560M and the Open-GL extension GL_EXT_x11_sync_object. The new version also corrects problems when working with GNOME 3 and KDE 4.
Kernel environment ("plumbing layer"), userland drivers, developer tools, etc.
  • Version 5.41 of the smartmontools has recently been released. The new version of this tool for analysing the health of ATA storage devices via SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) includes such new features as an extended device database and it supports hard disks that work with 4 KB sectors.
  • Wi-Fi developer Luis R. Rodriguez has presented acs – a program that is rated as a "proof of concept" and promises to find the "ideal" Wi-Fi channel.
  • On his blog, OpenSuse developer Frédéric Crozat describes the next steps for switching to systemd, which is planned to happen in OpenSuse 12.1.
  • For "World IPv6 Day", kernel.org admin John 'Warthog9' Hawley has activated IPv6 support for some kernel.org services.
  • The programme page of the Linux Audio Conference (LAC) 2011 offers links to the video recordings, presentation slides and text versions of many conference presentations, such as Jeremy Jongepie's "Configuring your system for low-latency real-time audio processing".

Older Kernel Logs can be found by using the search function at The H Open Source. New editions of Kernel Log are also mentioned on Identi.ca and Twitter via "@kernellog2". The Kernel Log author also posts updates about various topics on Identi.ca and Twitter via "@kernellogauthor".

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