Following a two week merge window following the release of the Linux 2.6.33 kernel, Linus Torvalds has announced the first release candidate for the next kernel, to be known as the Linux 2.6.34 kernel.
Like with most kernel release cycles, the Linux 2.6.34 kernel had another major GPU DRM update. There's core DRM improvements, the new hybrid graphics switching support, and advancements to the hardware-specific DRM bits. On the Nouveau side for NVIDIA hardware support, there is a major interface break that we talked about last month.
There's already quite a bit of code that has been merged into the Linus 2.6 Git tree for the Linux 2.6.34 kernel tree, but the first pull request for the DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) code has went in this morning.
Con Kolivas had stopped working on the Linux kernel for two years after he became fed up with the kernel development community, but last year he made a return by introducing the BFS scheduler. The BFS scheduler for the Linux kernel is quite simple in design compared to other schedulers, but it performed fairly well on desktop systems. Due to Con's past frustrations, he has no intentions of mainlining the Brain Fuck Scheduler, but he has now offered up another batch of patches.
At the start of the month we talked about GPU switching coming to Linux in a crude form that allowed notebooks with dual GPUs (one being a low-power, low-performance integrated chip and the other being the more performance-oriented GPU that's power hungry) to be switched from without the need for a reboot in Linux. This initial work was just a collection of hacks by David Airlie and it required VT switching after killing the X Server, etc. It also didn't power down the unused GPU. However, as the days passed, this code did more and delayed GPU switching came too.
Now that Linus Torvalds is done rewiring part of his house, he has put out the Linux 2.6.33 kernel release. This update to the Linux kernel that's coming three months after the release of Linux 2.6.32 delivers the Nouveau DRM GPU code in the staging area, many Radeon KMS improvements and it has left the staging area, the new VMware DRM, and much more.
Linus Torvalds has put out the eighth release candidate for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel and it will hopefully serve as the last test build before an official release is made. The Linux 2.6.33-rc8 kernel consists of bug-fixes and resolution of regressions introduced earlier into this kernel development cycle the past few months. Worth noting is that there are also more kernel mode-setting / DRM changes that worked its way in at the last minute.
Linus pushed out the Linux 2.6.33-rc7 kernel yesterday afternoon, but still even being seven release candidates into the Linux 2.6.33 kernel cycle, at least one more test release is due before we may see an official release. The number of regressions for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel is still high and is somthing that isn't pleasing Torvalds.
Two days ago we reported on hybrid graphics coming to Linux in a crude form that allowed switching between graphics processors on notebook computers that utilize dual graphics processors, one that's meant to deliver the best energy efficient performance while the other GPU is for maximizing the graphics performance in demanding environments. Just 24 hours after this kernel patch hit the Internet it already went through four revisions by Red Hat's David Airlie, which delivered better switching and greater notebook compatibility. Since yesterday this patch has already undergone a few more revisions.
Just yesterday morning we reported on hybrid graphics coming to Linux in a crude form, which allowed dual-GPU notebook systems to switch between the onboard GPUs via a kernel patch but what made it crude was that it wasn't seamless switching within the running X.Org Server (it won't be this way for some time) and it didn't actually turn off the other GPU when the other one was in use. In the past 24 hours, however, David Airlie has published three new versions of this Linux kernel patch.
While the support for graphics processors on Linux in the free software stack has improved a lot over Linux, there still are entire areas of support missing, such as with supporting NVIDIA's SLI or AMD's CrossFire technologies. Additionally, NVIDIA and AMD as well as Intel have been plopping dual GPUs into notebooks. This is not to split the rendering workload, but rather to allow one lower-powered GPU to be utilized when not in engaging in any vigorous tasks and then another performance-oriented GPU to be utilized when such speed is needed. This solution basically provides the best of both words of having maximum battery life but fast performance when needed. However, Linux has not supported this hybrid / switchable graphics technology at all.
Linus has put out the Linux 2.6.33-rc6 kernel release. This release candidate for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel is on time arriving precisely one week after the Linux 2.6.33-rc5 release.
The latest release candidate for Linux 2.6.33 kernel is now available and that's Linux 2.6.33-rc5. The Linux 2.6.33-rc5 kernel delivers on eDP (embedded Display Port) support for Intel's DRM/KMS driver (the open-source ATI stack also has eDP) and the DVB "Mantis" driver has moved forward in the mainline kernel. The Mantis chipset that has been around for a while is popular on many DVB boards, but now it's supported in the mainline Linux 2.6.33 kernel.
With Ubuntu 10.04 basing off the Linux 2.6.32 kernel and this distribution release being a Long-Term Support (LTS) release that will be maintained longer than normal Ubuntu releases -- and other vendors using the Linux 2.6.32 kernel for their enterprise updates too -- this kernel will live on longer as well.
One week after pushing out the third release candidate for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel, Linus Torvalds has issued the fourth release candidate. In his mailing list announcement, Linus characterizes the Linux 2.6.33-rc4 kernel as being an "odd release" as a bulk of the changes "all pretty unusual." What got changed? Well, lots of new Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) code ended up getting pulled.
As the first post-holiday kernel update, Linus Torvalds has put out the Linux 2.6.33-rc3 kernel release. This new release candidate for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel brings in some EXT4 file-system updates, switching the recommended IEEE-1394 Firewire stack to the new stack, various driver updates, and much more.
As a Christmas (or holiday) gift to all Linux users, Linus Torvalds last night put out the Linux 2.6.33-rc2 kernel release. This is the second release candidate since the closing of the Linux 2.6.33 kernel merge window, that brought the long-awaited Nouveau driver, many other graphics improvements, and other exciting changes.
Linus Torvalds has just announced that the merge window for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel has closed and as a result he has pushed out Linux 2.6.33-rc1. The first release candidate for Linux 2.6.33 delivers on a plethora of new code, including the long-awaited Nouveau driver (which Linus mentions in the 2.6.33-rc1 announcement) and many graphics DRM improvements. Among the DRM changes to be delivered by the Linux 2.6.33 kernel include Radeon HDMI audio, R600/700 IRQ support, the KMS page-flipping ioctl, VMware's new driver, Intel driver improvements, and many core enhancements to the Direct Rendering Manager.
The Direct Rendering Manager code in the Linux 2.6.33 kernel has received many improvements including the KMS page-flipping ioctl, DisplayPort monitor support for ATI KMS, R600/700 interrupts support, support for unreleased Intel IGPs, and many other changes. Coming after this initial pull request was also the Nouveau DRM driver and VMware's vmwgfx DRM driver. The graphics fun for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel though is not yet over.
David Airlie has just called upon Linus Torvalds to pull in the latest DRM patches for inclusion into the Linux 2.6.33 kernel. The Direct Rendering Manager improvements in this next kernel release will be particularly interesting and are perhaps as significant as earlier kernels that had introduced kernel mode-setting support for Intel and ATI/AMD hardware along with in-kernel memory management. The changes that the Linux 2.6.33 kernel will bring are aplenty and will impact almost all of those using an open-source graphics driver stack.
VMware is preparing to propose that its "vmwgfx" DRM kernel driver be pushed into the mainline DRM tree and in turn will then be pulled into the mainline Linux kernel -- as soon as the Linux 2.6.33 kernel. VMware's Jakob Bornecrantz (formerly of Tungsten Graphics) is calling for comments on the two patches that introduce the vmwgfx C header file and then the Direct Rendering Manager code itself. This code will initially be put into the kernel's staging tree and then in a release or two should be found within the main DRM directory.
Just as planned, Linux 2.6.32-rc8 was the last test release and the final Linux 2.6.32 kernel is now available as of last night.
Kristian Høgsberg on the 6th of November had wrote a message on the DRI development list regarding the libdrm repository. With so much of the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) work going straight into the Linux kernel -- thanks in large part to all of the work on memory management and kernel mode-setting -- Kristian proposed that the DRM driver code be removed from the separate DRM Git tree. With this message, Kristian created a new DRM repository that dropped all of the linux-core, bsd-core, and shared-core code. Seems simple and straightforward, right? Well, three weeks later with dozens of replies, this change is continuing to cause debate.
Linus Torvalds this afternoon put out the Linux 2.6.32-rc8 kernel release. The Linux 2.6.32 kernel, which brings 3D DRM and KMS support for ATI R600/700 GPUs, new wireless drivers, an improved VIA frame-buffer, and other improvements, is getting ready for release. Linus expects 2.6.32-rc8 to be the last release candidate if all goes according to plan.
While there is already work building up for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel like the just talked about KMS page-flipping ioctl, we are still in the middle of the Linux 2.6.32 development cycle. Linus Torvalds has just issued the 2.6.32-rc7 release after it was delayed by another serious -- but now fixed -- regression (this time in the resume support).
Being worked on for the past several months by Kristian Høgsberg and other developers has been the KMS page-flipping ioctl, which makes it possible for kernel mode-setting drivers to benefit from tear-free updating of the screen with low-latency page-flipping. This kernel DRM ioctl is also a requirement for the Wayland Display Server. The page-flipping ioctl should have made it into the Linux 2.6.32 kernel, but it didn't end up happening due to some last minute work.
The Linux 2.6.32-rc5 kernel was released over two weeks ago, but it was not until today that 2.6.32-rc6 was tagged. This is not because of Linus's affection towards Windows 7, but rather the Linux Kernel Summit that was taking place in Tokyo and a nasty data-loss-causing EXT4 regression had to be tracked down and addressed. Linux 2.6.32-rc6 is available though right now and it carries a good number of changes considering the time-span between releases, including some regression fixes that were introduced during the 2.6.31 cycle and various driver updates.
One of the interesting features of Mac OS X is its "universal binaries" feature that allows a single binary file to run natively on both PowerPC and Intel x86 platforms. While this comes at a cost of a larger binary file, it's convenient on the end-user and on software vendors for distributing their applications. While Linux has lacked such support for fat binaries, Ryan Gordon has decided this should be changed. This professional game porter has created the FatELF project, which basically brings the universal binaries feature to Linux. The FatELF file format allows multiple binaries for different architectures to be embedded into a single file. Ryan may take this even further by introducing the ability for Solaris and FreeBSD binaries to be embedded into a FatELF as well.
The Linux 2.6.32-rc4 kernel was released merely four days ago, but as planned, the Linux 2.6.32-rc5 kernel is now available. This release candidate that just accumulates four days worth of patches is coming due to the annual Linux kernel summit that is coming up and will take Linus Torvalds and other key kernel developers away for a few days. Most of the changes though in Linux 2.6.32-rc5 come down to driver changes, with the addition of two new network drivers (stmmac and vmxnet3) and then various other updates.
As another Sunday release, Linus has made the Linux 2.6.32-rc4 kernel release. 60% of the patch for this release is the result of the addition of a single new SCSI FC driver. Linus refers to this SCSI driver as being "huge and bloated", but he has vowed not to merge "drivers-from-hell" anymore. The remainder of Linux 2.6.32-rc4 is made up of driver updates and Blackfin architecture updates. Worth noting from on the DRM side is that the ATI kernel mode-setting improvements talked about a few days ago were merged into this release candidate for Linux 2.6.32.
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