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Summing up 3.8

With support for all GeForce graphics chips and the graphics cores in Intel's forthcoming processor family, Linux 3.8 is another big step forward for graphics drivers in particular. The developers behind the nouveau driver are due particular thanks for what they have achieved, even if there remains much to do. Linux 3.8 also includes improvements related to NUMA systems and containers, which are set to become ever more important for today's high-performance virtualisation and cloud servers. And maybe F2fs is what a lot of us will be using on our Linux smartphones.

Kernel trends: Outlook on 3.9

Directly following the release of Linux 3.8, the first, usually two-week-long merge window of the Linux kernel development cycle commences, during which the kernel developers incorporate the 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.

Patches adding support to the kernel's own KVM hypervisor for some ARM and MIPS32 processors with hardware virtualisation functions (such as ARM's Cortex A-15) are available for merging. The merger of drivers for VM Sockets and VMCI is supposed to improve support for VMware hypervisors. A driver for Intel's 7000 series Wi-Fi chipsets, which the company is apparently planning to release in a few months' time, is likely to be merged into the networking subsystem. Intel's PowerClamp driver should also be merged into Linux 3.9; this is able to cap power consumption on Intel processors by making them briefly idle by forcing them into a C-state. Revisions aimed at making the code for configuring audio codecs more robust and simple should also be merged. Improvements to the locking mechanisms for graphics driver and support for AMD's Oland series graphics cores should also be merged. Those cores are used on some Radeon HD 8000 series graphics cards and are part of the Southern Island family. Mesa 3D and X.org drivers for this generation of graphics chips, which were released in autumn 2011, have been under development for some time and, according to reports, are approaching a state in Mesa 3D 9.1 (which is currently being prepared for release) where they are good enough for end users.

The native KVM tool, which some kernel developers have been pushing to see merged for months, will not be merged. Linus Torvalds recently posted a very forthright rejection of this request.

Assuming Torvalds and colleagues work at their usual pace, Linux 3.9 is likely to be released in late April or maybe early May. When that happens, The H will, once again, be publishing an article providing an overview of all the major changes in the new version.

Facts and figures for the latest versions of the Linux kernel

Linux
Version
Files1 Source lines2 Days Commits3 Changes4
3.2 37617 14998651
(14017008)
73 11881 12608 files changed,
1646421 insertions(+),
1418238 deletions(-)
3.3 38082 15166074
(14173688)
74 10550 10698 files changed,
599745 insertions(+),
432324 deletions(-)
3.4 38566 15383860
(14370856)
63 10899 11086 files changed,
576156 insertions(+),
385369 deletions(-)
3.5 39096 15596378
(145556354)
62 10957 9631 files changed,
623277 insertions(+),
410757 deletions(-)
3.6

39733 15868036
(14811965)
71 10247 8296 files changed,
527247insertions(+),
255597 deletions(-)
3.7

40905 16191690
(15108939)
71 11990 15886 files changed,
1567749 insertions(+),
1244085 deletions(-)
3.8 41520 16416874
15310436
70 12394 11701 files changed,
577188 insertions(+),
352003 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 3.8 download

The new Linux kernel can be downloaded from Kernel.org 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 such as these:

[thl@thl tmp]$ wget --quiet \
http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v3.0/linux-3.1.tar.sign \
http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v3.0/linux-3.1.tar.xz
[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 <torvalds@linux-foundation.org>"
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 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 Identi.ca 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 Identi.ca and Twitter via "@kernellogauthor".

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