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An Overview Of The Linux 3.7 Kernel

Linux Kernel

Published on 09 December 2012 11:00 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
1 Comment

With the release of the Linux 3.7 kernel being imminent (it might even be out today), here's an overview of the features and highlights of this 2012 holiday release of the Linux kernel.

For those that haven't been paying attention to the Phoronix articles in the prior weeks about the Linux 3.7 kernel, some of the new features to this kernel include:

- Improved power management for Radeon GPUs.
- Improved Intel graphics support for new hardware.
- The Nouveau DRM driver was largely reworked.
- Other Direct Rendering Manager changes.
- 64-bit ARM support a.k.a. ARMv8 / AArch64.
- ARM Xen virtualization support for the Cortex-A15.
- A single ARM Linux kernel now supports multiple devices.
- Nintendo Wii Balance Board driver support.
- Intel Supervisor Mode Access Prevention (SMAP) handling.
- Oracle SPARC-T4 processor support.
- New work within the staging tree.
- Audio Run-Time Power Management.
- JFS TRIM support when using the file-system on SSDs.
- EXT4 enhancements.
- Btrfs hole-punching and other new capabilities for the experimental file-system.
- The Intel AES-NI support is now faster by utilizing parallel AES-NI hardware pipelines.
- Support for loading firmware files directly rather than relying on udev.
- Xen EFI video mode support.
- IPv6 Netfilter improvements.

Besides the many Linux 3.7 articles on Phoronix, there's also a brief overview of key 3.7 features by subsystem on KernelNewbies.org.

In terms of the Linux 3.7 kernel benchmarks already conducted there is:

- A 12-Way Radeon Gallium3D graphics card comparison.
- Comparing the latest open-source Radeon driver code to AMD Catalyst.
- Linux 3.7 file-system benchmarks including EXT4, XFS, and Btrfs.
- Btrfs file-system tuning of mount options on the new kernel.
- Other Linux 3.7 kernel benchmarks.

While the Linux 3.7 kernel turned out quite nice, next up is the Linux 3.8 kernel and there's already a lot of new features in the pipeline.

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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