No release announcement has yet to hit the kernel mailing list, but among the Linux 3.1 highlights are:
- Open-source graphics driver improvements: Better Intel Ivy Bridge support, Cedar Trail support, Nouveau is FUC'ed (Nouveau can now generate its own FUC microcode for GeForce 400/500 "Fermi" GPUs so that there is hardware acceleration without needing to worry about extracting any microcode from the NVIDIA binary driver), GMA500 improvements, and other Linux GPU driver advancements.
- Support for the OpenRISC architecture, an open-source CPU architecture.
- A Nintendo Wiimote HID driver.
- The EXT3 file-system now enables barriers by default. This, of course, improves data safety at the cost of performance. Barriers can still be disabled, but modern Linux file-systems tend to all ship with barriers enabled.
- Support for near-field communication (NFC).
- Dynamic write-back throttling.
- VFS scalability improvements.
Some of these other improvements to the Linux 3.1 kernel are talked about at KernelNewbies.org.
Now it's time to get excited over the Linux 3.2 kernel and its merge window that's now to be opened! There's already many GPU driver improvements queued up, including the first open-source ARM DRM driver to be merged mainline.
With the Linux 3.1 kernel having gone through ten release candidates, Linux 3.1 is arriving later than expected and as such there's been more time for kernel developers to finish up their work for Linux 3.2. Linus Torvalds is worried the Linux 3.2 kernel may be huge, but we'll know in two weeks just how this next kernel is looking when its merge window is closed. Benchmarks are, of course, on the way.