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The Most Interesting Features Of The Linux 3.7 Kernel

Linux Kernel

Published on 27 October 2012 07:35 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
1 Comment

Being roughly half-way through the Linux 3.7 kernel development cycle, here's a recap of some of the most interesting features for this forthcoming major kernel release.

When the merge window on the Linux 3.7 kernel wasn't even closed yet, I already called it a beast of the kernel and it definitely shaped up that way. A ton of interesting features and other improvements were merged into this Linux kernel that will likely see its official release in November or early December if there's last-minute setbacks.

- New Btrfs features like improved fsync, "hole punching", and a greater number of hard-links are allowed per directory.

- Improved online file-system resizing and other enhancements to EXT4.

- The JFS file-system now supports TRIM/discard on solid-state drives.

- Audio run-time power management and other audio-related changes for the kernel sound drivers.

- Many changes to the open-source graphics drivers. This includes better Radeon power consumption, Intel fixes, and a reworked Nouveau kernel driver.

- Continued work on Samsung's open-source Exynos graphics driver.

- 64-bit ARM kernel support, a.k.a. the forthcoming ARMv8 AArch64 architecture. However, ARM 64-bit hardware is still many months away.

- ARM Xen virtualization support for having hardware-assisted virtualization on ARM Linux hardware if using an ARM Cortex-A15 processor. (ARM KVM virtualization will be coming to a later kernel release to use the Kernel-based Virtual Machine.)

- There's support now so a single kernel image can target multiple ARM SoCs.

- Lots of changes to the Linux kernel's perf infrastructure.

- As always, lots of changes within the staging tree.

- Support for the Nintendo Wii Balance Board and other input devices.

- Intel SMAP support as one of the security features coming to Intel Haswell CPUs.

- Oracle SPARC-T4 processor support.

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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