ZRAM Might Finally Be Moved Out Of Linux Staging
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 14 August 2013 at 01:38 PM EDT. 17 Comments
The zRAM Linux kernel module that aims to increase Linux's performance by avoiding paging to disk and optimizing to use a compressed block device in RAM, may finally leave the Linux kernel staging area and be promoted to main. This code that mostly benefits users with limited amounts of system RAM has become quite mature and is becoming widely adopted, which in part is why it's trying to be promoted out of the staging area.

Minchan Kim sent in this morning another kernel patch-set for zram/zsmalloc promotion. The proposal is to move zRAM from the Linux kernel's driver/staging area to driver/blocks. The reasoning to move zRAM out of staging is that it's been there for "a LONG LONG time", it's considered stable, and zRAM is now getting lots of production use.

Minchan notes that major TV companies have been using zRAM for their compressed swap over the past two years, Android smart-phones are beginning to use zRAM for their swap, CyanogenMod is using zRAM, and Google is enabling zRAM for ChromeOS. Some lightweight-focused Linux distributions like Lubuntu are also beginning to turn on zRAM for either their swap support or as a block device for tmpfs.

Aside from systems with limited memory capacities, zRAM is also sought after for avoiding writes to disks (particularly SSDs) and providing a better interactive experience. More benefits of zRAM as trumpeted by its developers can be found by this kernel patch.

Promoting zRAM could happen for the Linux 3.12 kernel if other kernel developers agree.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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