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Summing up 3.4

The most impressive features of Linux 3.4 are its many graphic driver improvements. Proprietary drivers are currently still required for the very latest chips by AMD and NVIDIA; however, in a few months' time, the kernel's open source drivers, and the support in Libdrm, Mesa 3D and the X Server drivers that are based on them, will likely have matured enough to be sufficient for many areas of use.

The x32 ABI is probably not worth the effort for many desktop PCs and servers, but it may become more prevalent in x86 smartphones and tablets with Linux. Other major new features of Linux 3.4 include improvements to Btrfs, improved process restrictions using Yama and many new and improved drivers.

Kernel trends: Outlook on 3.5

Directly following the release of Linux 3.4, the first, usually two-week long merge window of the Linux kernel development cycle commences, during which the kernel developers incorporate many changes for the next version of the kernel into the main development branch. Numerous changes have already been prepared for this first phase of the next development cycle.

In Linux 3.5, the developers plan to provide, for example, reshape support for the MD code, which allows the layout of RAID 10 data to be modified. Further patches that are ready for integration enable Linux computers ("SCSI targets") to be recognised as SCSI storage devices by another system ("SCSI host") via Firewire or UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol); many Apple systems have offered such a "FireWire target disk mode" for some time.

The Uprobes patches for userspace tracing also remain on the agenda; their developers have long worked to get them integrated into Linux. Udev and Systemd developer Kay Sievers has been working on various logging improvements that may make it into Linux 3.5; more information can be found in the article "Toward more reliable logging" on

As usual, the Kernel Log will summarise these and other developments in the Linux kernel field – including new point releases of the stable kernel series (3.4.y), which should, over the next few weeks, fix a few bugs that testers missed during development or which hackers could not fix in time for the release of Linux 3.4. The Kernel Log on The H Open will, as usual, be reporting on the major changes integrated into the next kernel version in a "Coming in 3.5" mini series. A release of 3.5 in late July seems likely at this point in time. A detailed summary of the major changes in 3.5 will then be published on The H Open in a Kernel Log like this one.

Facts and figures for the latest versions of the Linux Kernel

Files1 Source lines2 Days Commits3 Changes4
2.6.31 29109 11966406
92 10883 8938 files changed
914135 insertions(+)
504980 deletions(-)
2.6.32 30483 12530119
84 10998 10315 files changed
1092987 insertions(+)
530428 deletions(-)
2.6.33 31563 12910130
83 10871 9673 files changed
859458 insertions(+)
479452 deletions(-)
2.6.34 32295 13241023
82 9443 11154 files changed
609584 insertions(+)
278958 deletions(-)
2.6.35 33314 13465693
77 9801 8889 files changed
691927 insertions(+)
467252 deletions(-)
2.6.36 34301 13499457
80 9501 9202 files changed
582139 insertions(+)
628362 deletions(-)
2.6.37 35186 13916632
76 11446 11104 files changed,
1093202 insertions(+),
598350 deletions(-)
2.6.38 35864 14208866
69 9542 9133 files changed,
747809 insertions(+),
455603 deletions(-)
2.6.39 36705 14533582
65 10268 10985 files changed,
847537 insertions(+),
523387 deletions(-)
3.0 36781 14646952
64 9153 7946 files changed,
555406 insertions(+),
442033 deletions(-)
3.1 37084 14770469
94 8692 9181 files changed,
728892 insertions(+),
604658 deletions(-)
3.2 37617 14998651
73 11881 12608 files changed,
1646421 insertions(+),
1418238 deletions(-)
3.3 38082 15166074
74 10550 10698 files changed,
599745 insertions(+),
432324 deletions(-)
3.4 38566 15383860
63 10899 11086 files changed,
576156 insertions(+),
385369 deletions(-)
¹ find . -type f -not -regex '\./\.git/.*' | wc -l
² find . -type f -not -regex '\./\.git.*' | xargs cat | wc -l (find . -name *.[hcS] -not -regex '\./\.git.*' | xargs cat | wc -l)
³ git-log --no-merges --pretty=oneline v3.(x-1)..v3.(x) | wc -l
⁴ git diff --shortstat v3.(x-1)..v3.(x)

Linux 3.4 download

The new Linux kernel can be downloaded on and soon should become available from the worldwide network of servers that mirror the web site.

The source code is offered as tar archive compressed with Gzip, Bzip2, or XZ. The authenticity of the uncompressed tarball can be verified with a signature file that is shipped alongside it – for example, the process for Linux 3.1 would be performed with commands like this:

[thl@thl tmp]$ wget --quiet \ \
[thl@thl tmp]$ xz -d linux-3.1.tar.xz
[thl@thl tmp]$ gpg --verify linux-3.1.tar.sign
gpg: Signature made Mon Oct 24 09:17:58 2011 CEST using RSA key ID 00411886
gpg: Good signature from "Linus Torvalds <>"
gpg: WARNING: This key is not certified with a trusted signature!
gpg: There is no indication that the signature belongs to the owner.
Primary key fingerprint: ABAF 11C6 5A29 70B1 30AB E3C4 79BE 3E43 0041 1886

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 and Twitter by @kernellog2. The Kernel Log author also posts updates about various topics on and Twitter as @kernellogauthor.

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