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Ubuntu Is Going After A New Linux Kernel API

Linux Kernel

Published on 29 August 2013 04:24 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
79 Comments

In large part because of Canonical's new focus around Ubuntu Touch on phone/tablet devices, the Ubuntu developers are wanting a new revocable memory API for the Linux kernel to help in low-memory scenarios.

While Canonical isn't generally a company that's well received for being a large contributor to the upstream Linux kernel, during the virtual Ubuntu Developer Summit today they proposed a new API for revocable kernel memory. While they have proposed it, they are still early on and apparently haven't even prototyped any code. Coming out of today's session, one of their work items is, "Check with upstream on status and if we can come up with a kernel that has got the revocable memory feature."

The revocable kernel memory feature they're after is for use in low-memory environments where an application can flag a section of its memory as being revocable and when the system is running low on RAM it can then reclaim that memory rather than crashing, closing out the program, or swapping to disk. The program would then still be able to live on and hopefully re-generate its data when needed.

If enough applications were to support and take advantage of this kernel API, it would largely benefit phone/tablet users where there are generally limited amounts of RAM -- but then again with today's high-end phones we're already seeing 2GB become standard. Android currently offers similar functionality with their Ashmem shared memory feature.

Those wishing to learn more can watch the vUDS video embedded below.


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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