In association with heise online

In brief

Graphics hardware support

  • Following a mailing list discussion, the Mesa 3D developers have thrown out a number of old DRI drivers that were no longer being maintained; discarded drivers include i810 (old Intel graphics cores), MGA (Matrox GPUs) and Tdfx (3dfx Voodoo chips).
  • An Intel developer has proposed various extensions to the VA API to support further profiles that provide H.264 encoding and video post-processing capabilities.
  • Matthias Hopf has created a collection of graphics benchmarks that are currently still strongly tailored to Suse. The collection is designed to help developers determine, for instance, whether the changes they make to graphics drivers create a performance regression.

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

  • Junio C Hamano has released Git 1.7.6.1.
  • On his blog, Jeff Darcy explains why "CloudFS", which is specially designed for cloud computing, had to be renamed and is now called "HekaFS".
  • Intel developer Matt Fleming has created patches that allow EFI BIOSes to start the Linux kernel directly (without a bootloader).

LKML discussions

  • The Broadcom developers have renewed their query as to whether their Brcm80211 Wi-Fi drivers for recent Broadcom chips, which are currently located in the staging area, have matured enough to be moved from this area for low quality drivers to the network subsystem. A prolonged discussion ensued where, among other things, various deficiencies that still exist in these drivers were pointed out. The developers also revisited the problem that, as already discussed in part 1 of the Kernel Log's "Coming in 3.1" mini-series, the B43 driver that has been part of the kernel for some time now supports two of the three Wi-Fi components also covered by the Brcmsmac Brcm80211 driver; the support of the third B43 chip is already in progress (1, 2). Staging area maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman said that he had not been aware of this situation and that he is against having two drivers for the same hardware in the kernel. Rafał Miłecki, who is mainly responsible for the B43 improvements, recently announced that B43 now also supports Broadcom's BCM4331 chip, for which no Linux driver had previously been available.
  • The DRBD developers want to upgrade the kernel's DRBD codes to the level of DRBD 8.4 but have been criticised for the way they operate – for instance, not submitting individual changes for review.
  • Darrick J. Wong is working on patches to protect Ext4's metadata via checksums.

Further background information about the developments in the Linux kernel area can be found using the search function at The H Open Source. 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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