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Overview of 2.6.35

Important for end users are, for instance, the improvements which affect the power management and turbo features of modern processors, and the support of the power saving techniques offered by Radeon graphics chips. Also noteworthy is the code that allows H.264 acceleration functions to be used with the graphics cores in Intel's current CPUs, as these CPUs are incorporated in many current PCs and notebooks and will be used in new designs.

Together with many other improvements, some of which are more interesting to server or corporate customers, as well as hundreds of new or improved drivers, 2.6.35 is another respectable step in the evolution of Linux. However, it isn't among the biggest, as Linux 2.3.35 offers slightly fewer major changes than many other kernel versions released in the past two years.

Kernel trends: Coming in 2.6.36

Directly following the release of 2.6.35, the first, usually two-week long, merge window phase of the Linux kernel development cycle commences, during which the kernel development team incorporate the many changes for the next version of the kernel into the main development branch. Numerous changes, some of which we have already mentioned, have already been prepared for this first phase of the next development cycle.

Linux kernel development cycle

Thanks to the open development process and a long perusal of the tea leaves, The H and the Linux Weather Forecast maintained by the Linux Foundation are already in a position to talk about some of the new features likely to be part of the next version of the kernel.

Among the advancements ear-marked for inclusion are various patches which further reduce the use of the BKL (for instance 1, 2, 3). As some of these patches affect quite complex areas of the kernel code, even kernel veteran Alan Cox had to admit that only field tests can show whether everything will continue to function as intended. However, the kernel hackers are slowly getting closer to their aim of removing the BKL from all the common code paths on standard systems.

After years of back and forth it finally looks like the Security-Framework AppArmor will make it into Kernel 2.6.36 (1, 2). Originally called compcache and located in the staging area, the ramzswap feature will be given the name "zram" as well as a slightly modified set of features. A few test results for zram performance can be found on the main page of Google's zramperf code project. Various Lirc drivers will probably also be added to the staging area. 2.6.36 might also be given patches that enable the device mapper to use the RAID-5 code of the Mapper Device (MD) – finally allowing dmraid to use the HostRAID-5 functions offered by many modern motherboard chip-sets and RAID adaptors without the so far omitted kernel extensions.

The Kernel Log in The H Open will, as usual, be reporting on the major changes integrated into the next kernel version in a "Coming in 2.6.36" mini series. In addition, the regular Kernel Log will summarise other developments in the Linux kernel field – these include new versions of the stable kernel series (2.6.x.y), which should, over the next few weeks, fix the odd bug or two overlooked by hackers and testers during 2.6.36 development.

Assuming that the kernel developers stick to their usual rhythm, Torvalds is likely to release Linux version 2.6.36 in October. A detailed summary of the major changes in 2.6.36 will then be published on The H Open in a Kernel Log like this one.

Further background information about the developments in the Linux kernel area can be found in the archives or by using by using the search function at The H Open Source. New editions of Kernel Logs are also mentioned on and Twitter via "@kernellog2". The Kernel Log author also posts updates about various topics which eventually tend to find their way into the Kernel Log on and Twitter via "@kernellogauthor".


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