The Linux 3.7 Kernel Is Going To Be A Beast
The Linux 3.6 kernel isn't even one week old, but the Linux 3.7 kernel is already looking very exciting with enough changes for an open-source enthusiast to be giddy.
There's still a few days left to the Linux 3.7 merge window before no new features will be allowed in for the cycle, but already this kernel has seen a staggering amount of interesting changes. Among the notable changes so far committed for the Linux 3.7 kernel include:
- 64-bit ARM support (a.k.a. ARM64 or officially known as AArch64) has been merged to provide initial support for this new ARM architecture while the actual hardware is still many months away.
- ARM Xen virtualization support so that the new ARM Cortex-A15 SoCs can take advantage of this form of virtualization.
- As more ARM news for Linux 3.7, one Linux kernel can now be built for multiple ARM SoCs.
- Major changes to perf with the Linux 3.7 kernel.
- Tons of happenings within the kernel staging tree with new device drivers while existing Linux staging code has also seen updates as it matures.
- As one of the more obscure changes this cycle, the Nintendo Wii Balance Board now works on Linux as an input device.
- Intel SMAP support for improving the security of Linux systems and try to make vulnerabilities less exploitable if you are running a new Intel CPU.
- If you prefer SPARC to x86 or ARM, there's now Oracle SPARC-T4 CPU support in the Linux kernel.
- Lots of open-source graphics driver changes. Radeon users may see reduced power consumption, Intel landed a ton including reworked mode-setting and improvements for future Haswell / Valley View products, and the Nouveau driver saw a major rework too. The Nouveau changes make it easier for new features down the road like SLI plus the GeForce 600 series can now generate its own FUC microcode.
- The JFS file-system now supports SSD TRIM for discarding unused blocks.
With still a few days left to the Linux 3.7 kernel, let's see what else is going to land to make this next kernel release even more compelling. Among what's possible to still land is the second DRM pull request with Exynos changes, Btrfs performance improvements, V4L2 features, and interesting ALSA kernel sound driver improvements.
Of course, Phoronix benchmarks of these kernel changes will come as this new code reaches a stable state.
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