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15 July 2013, 11:38

"Linux for Workgroups": Linux 3.11's feature set now confirmed

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The modified boot icon of Linux 3.11-rc1
The modified boot icon of Linux 3.11-rc1.
Source: Source code of Linux 3.11-rc1
Substantially improved support for the power management features of modern Radeon graphics cores is among the major new additions of the now available first release candidate of Linux 3.11. For this release, Linus Torvalds changed the code name from "Unicycling Gorilla" to "Linux for Workgroups" and modified the logo that some systems display when booting: it now depicts a Tux holding a flag with a symbol that is reminiscent of the logo of Windows for Workgroups 3.11, which was released in 1993. After the Tuz interlude in Linux 2.6.29, this is the second time that Torvalds has changed the logo since the introduction of Git.

In addition to the experimental power management features for Radeon GPUs that must be enabled manually via the radeon kernel driver's "dpm=1" parameter, the new kernel also supports Intel's Rapid Start Technology – a technology that can mainly be found in notebooks with SSDs and Intel chipsets and which, in certain conditions, allows the firmware to briefly wake up a system from Suspend-to-RAM in order to shift it into Suspend-to-Disk. In Linux 3.11-rc1, the Lustre cluster filesystem has been added to the staging branch, which is the area for code that is in development but doesn't yet satisfy the kernel developers' quality requirements. Zswap, a component that tries to compress and store in RAM memory areas that would otherwise need to be swapped, has now left the staging branch. The new kernel supports KVM and Xen virtualisation on ARM64 processors; using Xen requires version 4.3 of the Xen hypervisor.

With the release of Linux 3.11-rc1, Linus Torvalds has, as usual, closed the merge window phase during which he adds a new kernel version's major changes. During the stabilisation phase that will now follow, mainly minor changes will be integrated to fix bugs. This phase usually takes eight, or sometimes only seven weeks; the latter was the case with Linux 3.10, which was released two weeks ago. Unless the summer holidays in the northern hemisphere slow down the normal release rhythm, Linux 3.11 will likely be released in the first or second week of September.

Meanwhile, Greg Kroah-Hartman has released the Linux 3.4.53 and Linux 3.0.86 Long-term kernels as well as the Linux 3.10.1 and Linux 3.9.10 Stable kernels; the release of Linux 3.9.10 will probably conclude the maintenance period of Linux kernel version 3.9. As usual, these versions mainly offer bug fixes and minor improvements that are unlikely to introduce any new bugs. For Linux 3.10.1, Greg Kroah-Hartman temporarily excluded many code submissions because it was unclear whether they actually fulfil the inclusion criteria for Stable and Longterm kernels; this sparked a prolonged and still ongoing discussion about which changes are acceptable when and for which kernel development branch.


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