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As mentioned in the first part of the "Coming in 2.6.33" series, kernel developers have merged the rtl8192u driver (easily confused with the rtl8192e and rtl8192su drivers incorporated in earlier kernel versions) into the staging area for unfinished and 'dodgy' drivers. The rtl8187se driver has been renamed to make way for a future fit and proper Linux driver with the same name.

There have also been big changes to the staging drivers for newer Ralink WLAN chips. For example, the rt3090 driver has been removed due to the fact that its functionality is now fulfilled by the rt2860 staging driver. The Ramzswap framework (formerly Compcache) has also found its way into the staging area. This stores data stored on a virtual swap device in compressed form in RAM for greater efficiency.

As anticipated, code for distributed storage (DST) and various drivers for Google's Android have been removed from the staging area, as no-one has been looking after them. As previously reported, staging maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman has commented on the Android drivers situation in a blog post.

Even more

  • The architecture code for Power and PowerPC CPUs now supports Nintendo's GameCube and Wii games consoles (for example 1, 2); further details can be found on the GC Linux project's web page
  • The real-time developers made numerous changes to further reduce the use of the Big Kernel Lock (BKL). Currently inconsequential for users is a major renaming of the spinlocks used for locking critical internal kernel areas. The restructuring measures make the Linux real-time developers' job a lot easier and form the basis for moving the "sleeping spinlocks" from the Realtime/RT tree into the official Linux kernel.
  • Via a git pull request and changes in the help text displayed during kernel configuration, Stefan Richter, maintainer of the Linux FireWire code, is advising distributions to move to the new Juju FireWire stack. Details on the required steps can be found in the Linux FireWire developer wiki, which also lists a number of further corrections and enhancements to the Linux 2.6.33 FireWire code.
  • Downloading the Linux kernel

    New versions of Linux can be obtained from the servers; the contents of these servers are also mirrored on numerous mirrors internationally. However, Linux users who are not familiar with the details of the kernel and its environment should generally not install new Linux drivers and kernels themselves but use the kernels provided by the Linux distributors instead.

    Over recent months and years, a number of groups have worked on solutions for limiting the maximum amount of data which individual processes or groups of processes can write to or read from drives. These solutions affect various points within the kernel. The 'blkio controller cgroup interface' (blkio for short), which links into the CFQ (Completely Fair Queuing) I/O Scheduler, has come out with its nose in front. However, this does not represent the failure of other approaches, rather it is intended to offer a foundation for further enhancements and functions made possible by some of the competing solutions. Background information on this topic can be found in a article and in the documentation for the blkio framework.
  • In future, Sysfs files will show whether the BIOS is using ACPI to block the switch to maximum CPU frequency in certain device modes. Furthermore, Rafael J. Wysocki had submitted several patches that in certain devices make the kernel suspend or resume in parallel instead of sequentially, when switching into, or out of, standby. This is intended to speed up suspending and resuming. Linus Torvalds, however, rejected the changes rather unequivocally. As a result, Wysocki has put the changes on hold and submitted several patches which, for instance, offer run-time improvements to the power saving infrastructure for I/O devices, which was reworked in 2.6.32. Wysocki has since readjusted the "asynchronous suspend and resume" code and is likely to resubmit it for 2.6.34.

Next: Conclusion, data and numbers, outlook for 2.6.34

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