The H's Linux Kernel History
The collected coverage of the development of each major version of the Linux kernel since 2008:
- Linux 3.9 - April 2013
The Linux kernel is finally able to use SSDs as hard-disk cache. Changes to the network subsystem promise to improve the way server jobs are distributed across multiple processor cores. Linux 3.9 also includes drivers for new AMD graphics chips and soon-expected Wi-Fi components from Intel.
- Linux 3.8 - February 2013
Improved graphics drivers and a new filesystem for flash disks are two of the most important changes in Linux 3.8. Kernel developers have also made improvements to btrfs and ext4 and merged a number of new drivers.
- Linux 3.7 - December 2012
Linux 3.7 has more robust Intel and NVIDIA graphics drivers, support for ARM64, can handle NAT for IPv6 and has better Btrfs performance.
- Linux 3.6 - October 2012
The new kernel offers a hybrid standby feature, can cut off the power to PCIe chips and includes a new framework for userspace drivers. Other new features include security improvements for the temp directory as well as quota and backup features for Btrfs.
- Linux 3.5 - July 2012
Together with a new version of X Server, Linux 3.5 will offer improved hybrid graphics support. The new kernel supports "FireWire Target Disk Mode", which is a familiar Mac feature, and performance monitoring components can now keep an eye on userspace software.
- Linux 3.4 - May 2012
The new version sees a number of important changes affecting graphics drivers. The x32-ABI promises the advantages of x86-64-CPUs without the overhead of 64-bit code. Btrfs is reported to be quicker, and Yama prevents processes from accessing each other's allocated memory.
- Linux 3.3 - March 2012
Linux 3.3 fixes problems that resulted in freezes when writing to slow disks. Hot replace support for software RAIDs removes the element of risk when hot swapping disks in RAID arrays. The network subsystem now includes teaming support, a virtual switch and infrastructure for avoiding "bufferbloat".
- Linux 3.2 - January 2012
Improvements to the Ext4 filesystem, network code optimisations and thin provisioning support in the Device Mapper are some of the major improvements in Linux 3.2. Further additions include new and improved drivers – for example, for graphics hardware by Intel and NVIDIA, as well as Wi-Fi components by Atheros and Broadcom.
- Linux 3.1 - October 2011
Among the most prominent advancements of Linux 3.1 are the kernel's 3D support for new NVIDIA graphics chips and virtualisation enhancements for KVM and Xen.
- Linux 3.0 - July 2011
The transition to the Linux kernel's 'third decade' sees numerous changes to the Btrfs filesystem. The kernel now includes all the major components needed to host guest systems under Xen and includes many new and revised drivers.
- Linux 2.6.39 - May 2011
The latest Linux kernel offers drivers for AMD's current high-end graphics chips and ipsets that simplify firewall implementation and maintenance. The Ext4 file system and the block layer are now said to work faster and offer improved scalability. Hundreds of new or improved drivers enhance the kernel's hardware support.
- Linux 2.6.38 - March 2011
A quite minor change in the process scheduler makes systems with 2.6.38 feel much faster, and more far-reaching changes to the VFS (virtual file system) make some tasks much faster. Some of the changes to driver code that deserve mention include Wireless LAN (WLAN) drivers and expanded support for current graphics chips from AMD and NVIDIA.
- Linux 2.6.37 - January 2011
After about eleven weeks of development, Linus Torvalds has released the Linux kernel 2.6.37. The new version of the main development line has many improvements. Advances in the Ext4 file system mean it should be able to compete with XFS on larger systems and new discard functions can inform slow SSDs of vacant areas, without negatively affecting performance.
- Linux 2.6.36 - October 2010
The new kernel version is notable because it hasn't grown in size – yet it contains hundreds of advancements which will be obvious to end users, who don't often notice changes in their Linux distribution's kernel.
- Linux 2.6.35 - August 2010
Measures to support the power saving mechanisms of AMD graphics chips, network code optimisations for multi-core processors, features for de-fragmenting the working memory and an improved support of the power management and turbo features offered by modern processors are among the highlights of the new kernel version.
- Linux 2.6.34 - May 2010
Two new file systems, improved support for the power saving techniques offered by modern hardware, and many new or extended drivers are only some of the hundreds of advancements that characterise the new kernel version.
- Linux 2.6.33 - February 2010
A promising open source driver for NVIDIA graphics hardware, a replication solution to prevent server down times, "ATA Trim" support and a host of new and improved drivers are some of the most prominent improvements in Linux 2.6.33.
- Linux 2.6.32 - December 2009
3D support for newer Radeon graphics chips, better use of power saving features offered by the latest hardware and numerous enhancements to KVM and Btrfs are some of the outstanding items among the many thousands of changes undertaken for the latest kernel version. Various other improvements should also make Linux 2.6.32 more reactive and as a result, feel faster.
- Linux 2.6.31 - September 2009
The latest version of Linux offers a whole host of new features – for example a USB 3.0 infrastructure, drivers for the Sound Blaster X-Fi, KMS support for Radeon chips and improved versions of Btrfs and Ext4. As is traditional with new Linux versions in the main development branch, however, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
- Linux 2.6.30 - June 2009
Although it wasn't explicitly planned this way, a whole lot of the changes made in the new kernel version have an impact on file systems and data storage. There are, however, also plenty of changes elsewhere, for example faster booting, more efficient compression algorithms and hundreds of new and improved drivers.
- Linux 2.6.29 - March 2009
The latest Linux version includes many new file system features and a new framework for controlling graphics hardware, in the form of kernel-based mode setting. New network features allow operation as an access point (WAP) and deliver WiMAX support.
- Linux 2.6.28 - December 2008
The Ext4 file system leaves its main development phase and will soon be ripe for productive use. Major renovation work on the code for memory and disk management promises GPU speed increases and better scalability. Hundreds of new and revised drivers improve hardware compatibility significantly.
- Linux 2.6.27 - October 2008
New and improved Wi-Fi drivers now allow the kernel to routinely deal with a considerably higher number of 802.11n Wi-Fi chips than before. Add the gspca webcam driver and a host of further changes to kernel drivers and infrastructure and you get a Linux kernel with much better hardware support and a much wider range of features; in addition, 2.6.27 is said to be faster and better scalable than its predecessors.
- Linux 2.6.26 - July 2008
New and updated wireless drivers for fast data transfer, a USB Webcam driver, PCI Express Active State Power Management (ASPM) technology, the KGDB kernel debugger, and a multitude of extensions for various virtualization solutions are among the most important updates in the latest version of the kernel. There was also once again a multitude of additional improvements to drivers and infrastructure. All of these changes are bound to benefit end-users one way or another.
- Linux 2.6.25 - April 2008
Linux 2.6.25 packs new and improved Wi-Fi drivers, improvements to Ext4 and Completely Fair Scheduler (CFS), the new Smack security framework, and numerous improvements in both hardware support and infrastructure. But the new kernel toes a hard line when it comes to proprietary USB drivers.
- Linux 2.6.24 - February 2008
Kernel developers incorporated seven new wireless network drivers into Linux version 2.6.24, considerably improving its support of modern wireless networking hardware. Due to the changes to the still maturing CFS scheduler, the new kernel should also be faster than its predecessors and provide better interactivity. The new version also offers numerous improvements to the kernel's infrastructure, new and improved drivers galore and a comprehensively restructured source code for x86 systems.