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The Kernel Column – Linux Kernel 3.8

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Linux

Linus Torvalds closed the 3.8 kernel ‘merge window’ (the period of time during which disruptive changes are allowed into the kernel, and are then stabilised before final release) just prior to the Christmas holiday. In his announcement of the first 3.8 ‘release candidate’, Linus said, “The longest night of the year is upon us (and by ‘us’ I mean mainly people in the same time zone and hemisphere as I am. Because I’m too self-centred to care about anybody else), and what better thing to do than get yourself some nice mulled wine, sit back, relax, and play with the most recent RC kernel?” Some readers might question whether this is truly the most relaxing course of action, but nobody can fault Linus for trying to motivate developers to spend some holiday time testing code.

The 3.8 merge window was, according to Linus himself, the biggest merge window in the 3.x kernel series so far (in terms of raw number of changes going into the kernel codebase). It will contain a number of new and exciting features. Two that interest this author in particular are the support for transparent huge zero pages, and newly added support for the AllWinner ‘A1X’ series of system-on-chip ARM processors.

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today's leftovers

  • DRM display resource leasing (kernel side)
    So, you've got a fine head-mounted display and want to explore the delights of virtual reality. Right now, on Linux, that means getting the window system to cooperate because the window system is the DRM master and holds sole access to all display resources. So, you plug in your device, play with RandR to get it displaying bits from the window system and then carefully configure your VR application to use the whole monitor area and hope that the desktop will actually grant you the boon of page flipping so that you will get reasonable performance and maybe not even experience tearing. Results so far have been mixed, and depend on a lot of pieces working in ways that aren't exactly how they were designed to work.
  • GUADEC accommodation
    At this year’s GUADEC in Manchester we have rooms available for you right at the venue in lovely modern student townhouses. As I write this there are still some available to book along with your registration. In a couple of days we have to a final numbers to the University for how many rooms we want, so it would help us out if all the folk who want a room there could register and book one now if you haven’t already done so! We’ll have some available for later booking but we have to pay up front for them now so we can’t reserve too many.
  • Kickstarter for Niryo One, open source 6-axis 3D printed robotic arm, doubles campaign goal
    A Kickstarter campaign for the Niryo One, an open source 3D printed 6-axis robotic arm, has more than doubled its €20,000 target after just a couple of days. The 3D printed robot is powered by Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Robot Operating System.
  • Linux Action Show to End Eleven Year Run at LFNW
    Jupiter Broadcasting’s long-running podcast, Linux Action Show, will soon be signing off the air…er, fiber cable, for the last time. The show first streamed on June 10, 2006 and was hosted by “Linux Tycoon” Bryan Lunduke and Jupiter Broadcasting founder Chris Fisher. Lunduke left the show in 2012, replaced by Matt Hartley, who served as co-host for about three years. The show is currently hosted by Fisher and Noah Chelliah, president of Altispeed, an open source technology company located in Grand Forks, North Dakota.