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03 August 2012, 12:08

First release candidate of Linux kernel version 3.6

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Linus Torvalds has issued the first release candidate for Linux 3.6, closing the merge window for major changes. Among the new additions is a feature called "Suspend to Both" that offers hybrid standby functionality – when hibernating, the system will preserve its memory contents both in working memory and on a system storage device. Hybrid standby usually behaves like Suspend to RAM; however, if there is a power cut during hibernation, the system can restore the main memory contents from the storage device and resume as expected.

TCP small queues are a modification to the network stack that is designed to prevent the bufferbloat problem. Also new is the support for TCP Fast Open, a protocol extension developed by Google to reduce the overhead when establishing TCP connections in order to speed up HTTP and other connections.

The developers have added the VFIO userspace driver framework; mainly developed for KVM virtualisation, it allows guests to use individual PCIe devices without major performance loss or risk to the host. Btrfs, which continues to be classed as experimental, now supports quotas and gains a send/receive feature which is mainly used by backup solutions to determine the difference between snapshots.

In the coming weeks, the Kernel Log on The H will cover these and numerous further new features of Linux 3.6. Provided that the summer holidays have no major impact on development, the next Linux version should be released in the second half of September. Because Torvalds is about to go on holiday, this merge window closed two days earlier than usual – in the release email for Linux 3.6-rc1, Torvalds also mentioned that he doesn't like kernel developers who submit their changes immediately prior to the closing of the merge window.

Ben Hutchings, who maintains the long-term kernel version 3.2, has now released Linux 3.2.25. This version offers a number of performance improvements that were recently also added to Linux 3.0.39.

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