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Linux 3.2-rc1 Shouldn't Be "Hugely Scary"

Linux Kernel

Published on 08 November 2011 07:08 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
7 Comments

The first release candidate of the Linux 3.2 kernel is now available. There's quite a number of branches and other changes that were merged during the Linux 3.2 window, but Linus says that it shouldn't be "hugely scary." Linus additionally says, "The fact that 3.1 dragged out did mean that this ended up being one of the bigger merge windows, but I'm not feeling *too* nervous about it."

The lengthy Linux 3.2-rc1 release announcement by Linus can be read on the kernel mailing list. Due to the belated release of the Linux 3.1 kernel, Linux was worried Linux 3.2 would be of a worrying size. The Linux 3.2 kernel is perhaps a bit overweight with changes, but in the end Linus doesn't believe it's in too bad of shape.

Among the improvements to the Linux 3.2 kernel are:

- Improvements to the VMware virtual graphics stack. With this release, the "vmwgfx" DRM driver has left the kernel's staging area.

- The introduction of the Samsung Exynos DRM driver. This open-source Samsung driver provides an un-accelerated KMS (kernel mode-settign driver) for the Exynos 4210 ARM SoC. This is the first ARM DRM driver to be introduced in the mainline kernel.

- Many other improvements to the open-source graphics drivers. There's now KMS support in Nouveau for the latest Fermi "0xd9" chipsets, such as the GeForce GT 520, since it's mode-setting is quite different from other GeForce 400/500 Fermi GPUs. There will also be Intel RC6 support.

- The staging driver merge in Linux 3.2 is huge.

- In the file-system world, there's pretty beefy changes to Btrfs.

What's not in the Linux 3.2 kernel are any major power improvements, the Reiser4 file-system, VIA DRM/KMS support, or any DRM drivers for any of the other ARM SoCs that have been worked on lately. There's also no early open-source support for the AMD Radeon HD 7000 "Southern Islands" graphics card series, which should be launching soon.

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 .
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