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Userland

  • On his blog, Device Mapper developer Milan Broz describes the cryptsetup-reencrypt tool that can be used to modify the properties of a drive that has been encrypted with cryptsetup; it can even convert an unencrypted volume into an encrypted one.
  • Ethtool 3.5 includes an Energy-Efficient Ethernet (EEE) configuration feature.

  • Zoom A new version of iowatcher shows where a hard disk is being accessed
    Btrfs developer Chris Mason is working on a new version of the iowatcher tool that maps the read and write operations of a storage device in graphical form for easy analysis; in one of two Google+ posts about the new version, Mason includes a video that displays the hard disk's read and write operations in an easily comprehensible way.

Linux kernel

  • The Stable and Longterm maintainers have released Linux versions 2.6.34.13, 3.0.42, 3.2.28, 3.4.10 and 3.5.3; as usual, these versions mainly offer bug fixes and minor improvements.
  • Things are relatively quiet on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) and in the Linux main development branch at the moment because many important kernel developers have been attending this year's Kernel Summit or the Linux Plumbers Conference which is being held afterwards; at those events, the developers typically tackle a number of important decisions and projects that have a major impact on Linux.

LKML

  • Luis R. Rodriguez has posted to the LKML about the recently launched driver backporting project and said that the compat-drivers archive with the drivers from Linux 3.7 will probably include the DRM drivers, as previously planned.
  • Dan Luedtke has submitted for discussion an early version of kernel code to support a filesystem called LanyFS that is specially designed for use on removable mass storage media and devices with integrated storage. In the discussion around this filesystem, which is mainly intended for flash-memory-based media, Arnd Bergmann mentioned that he knows of a major flash vendor who is also working on a simple filesystem for such mass storage devices and devices.
  • Kees Cook has suggested that the "experimental" tags be removed from all kernel configuration options because they haven't "carried much meaning for a while" and they are typically enabled by default.
  • A recent lengthy discussion on the kernel developers' mailing list revolved around numerous aspects that affect the energy-efficient operation of Linux. The discussion was triggered by an Intel developer submitting patches that make the scheduler distribute processes in such a way that the system uses as little power as possible. Some of the established kernel developers noted that, in modern systems, many other factors are much more important to ensure a low overall power consumption.
  • A suggestion on the LKML to drop support for 32-bit x86 processors in Linux has mainly been ridiculed and was ignored by most of the established kernel developers – which is hardly surprising, considering that, despite the prevalence of 64-bit x86-64 processors, the x86-32 support is still far more important for Linux than many other supported processor architectures. However, the sometimes amusing thread also offered a few new insights: H. Peter Anvin mentioned that the developers are currently deciding whether to discontinue the support for 386 processors, which were popular in the early 1990s, in the medium term – however, he said that 486 and other 32-bit x86 processors will continue to be supported.

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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