1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

Linux 3.3-rc4 Kernel Fixes A Peculiar 32-bit Bug

Linux Kernel

Published on 18 February 2012 08:22 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
3 Comments

The Linux 3.3-rc4 kernel was released this Saturday evening after a peculiar 32-bit kernel bug had led to the release being delayed by a few days.

Linus Torvalds and others spent the past few days tracking down a complicated issue with the Linux 3.3 kernel whereby there would be floating-point state corruption resulting in a range of nasty problems. This FP corruption would result in crashes, Flash problems within the browser, the X input cursor moving sporadically, or other random issues.

This issue was tracked down to using a 32-bit x86 kernel on modern CPUs that support the AES-NI instruction set. Besides needing to be on a 32-bit AES-NI-capable kernel for CPUs that support the Advanced Encryption Standard instruction set, you also need to be using a wireless kernel driver that can utilize this hardware-acceleration for Advanced Encryption Standard encryption/decryption. When all these factors are met, you might have encountered this bug, which is fortunately now expected to be addressed in 3.3-rc4 and should in time be back-ported to stable kernels.

Intel supports AES-NI on their modern Sandy Bridge and most Clarkdale/Arrandale/Gulftown CPUs and AMD provides support for AES-NI with Bulldozer. All of these CPUs support x86_64, so you really should be using a 64-bit Linux kernel anyways and not a 32-bit kernel. If you still are using a 32-bit kernel on recent Intel/AMD hardware you should really consider moving to a 64-bit x86 kernel.

Besides fixing this 32-bit-kernel-with-AES-NI-and-WiFi-driver-causing-havoc bug, the 3.3-rc4 carries a variety of other bug-fixes too. There isn't anything else that stands out too much, although the old GMA500 driver was removed from staging now that there's the better Poulsbo driver. The old POHMELFS code was also dropped since now there's the new POHMELFS file-system.

One graphics-related note is that the Intel DRM driver with the Linux 3.3-rc4 kernel has decided to disable frame-buffer compression (FBC) for Sandy Bridge hardware as it's causing BLT ring problems with it running many times slower (up to 100x slower) or frequent lock-ups. The Intel developers aren't sure why having FBC causes the problem for Sandy Bridge, but this is their interim fix.

The Linux 3.3-rc4 kernel release announcement can be read at LKML.org. Some of the new features of the forthcoming Linux 3.3 kernel are talked about in this Phoronix article.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Articles & Reviews
  1. Khronos Group Announces Vulkan, OpenCL 2.1, SPIR-V
  2. Samsung 850 EVO SSD Linux Benchmarks
  3. Kubuntu 15.04 Is Turning Out Quite Nice, Good Way To Try Out The Latest KDE
  4. 5-Way Linux Distribution Comparison On The Core i3 NUC
  5. OCZ ARC 100 Linux SSD Benchmarks
  6. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Works Great As A Linux Ultrabook
Latest Linux News
  1. Mesa 10.5 Release Brings Skylake Support, NIR IR
  2. Intel Has More Graphics Driver Code Ready For Linux 4.1
  3. Fedora 22 Alpha Will Be Released Next Tuesday
  4. KDE Makes More Progress On HiDPI Support
  5. QuIC Continues Contributing To Open-Source MDP DRM/KMS Driver
  6. Reported Steam Linux Usage Battles To Stay Above 1.0%
  7. Benchmarks Of The $129 8-Core 64-bit ARM Development Board
  8. Wine 1.7.38 Supports Themed Scrollbars, Updated Mono Engine
  9. Siemens Commits New Motherboard Support To Coreboot
  10. Nuntius: Delivering Android Notifications To The GNOME Desktop
Most Viewed News This Week
  1. Confirmed: Vulkan Is The Next-Gen Graphics API
  2. Xfce 4.12 Released After Nearly Three Years Of Work
  3. Valve Launches SteamOS Sale, Confirms A Lot Of New Linux Games
  4. 8cc: A Small C11 Compiler
  5. Unreal Engine Made Free By Epic Games
  6. Canonical's Latest Demo Of Ubuntu Unity 8 Convergence In Action
  7. Mozilla Thunderbird Adoption Climbs, Thunderbird 38 In May
  8. VLC 2.2 "Weathermax" Brings Better VP9 & H.265 Support