Linus Torvalds announced the first release candidate 3.17 kernel (RC1) just ahead of this year’s Kernel Summit. Noting that he would be travelling (and thus not able to keep up with a massive influx of patches), he had closed the “merge window” (the period of time during which disruptive churn is allowed in any kernel development cycle) for 3.17 one day early. He also noted that, typically of northern hemisphere summers, this merge window had been “slightly smaller than the last few ones”. New features pulled into 3.17-rc1 were spread all over the kernel. They include the getrandom() system call, and support for the “memfd” and “file sealing” features needed for kdbus.
The Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) has been running well in our latest SSD benchmarks but with the forthcoming Linux 3.18 kernel it's going to be in even better shape.
Jaegeuk Kim, formerly of Samsung, sent in his F2FS pull request on Wednesday for the 3.18 merge window. Features of the F2FS file-system with this next kernel include support for large sector sizes, FITRIM support, and atomic/volatile writes. There's also enhancements to the check-point speed and roll-forward speed. F2FS for Linux 3.18 also retains some recovery information from fsck.f2fs, enhances the flush command management, fixes a bug in lseek, tunes in-place-update policies, and revisits all the roll-forward and fsync rules.
According to my sources, the last stable release of XFCE was about two years ago. By anyone's time line, that is a long time between stable releases. Bundle this issue with its apparent inability to play nicely with GTK3 friendly items and instead sticking to its older GTK roots. And others users have pointed out that the perceived GTK3 issues are largely with various desktop themes and the "fault" is to be directed at the GNOME project. Long story short, it's a debate showing few signs of being resolved anytime soon.
On the other hand, 2014 has seen updates to features such as the XFCE power manager, a bug fix to be exact. So it's clear the project isn't completely stalled. Instead, it just feels like XFCE is set in their legacy mindset and has little interest in evolving.
Highlights of the Linux 3.18 input changes include a TI haptics/vibrator drv260x driver (DRV2667) written by Texas Instruments themselves, the Xpad driver can now properly identify the Razer Sabertooth game controller, support for detecting FocalTech PS/2 touch-pads, a haptic driver for the max77693, and other changes. The PID/VID mappings for the Razer Sabertooth make it recognize as an Xbox 360 controller rather than generic Xbox controller.
Meanwhile, Michael Hall of the Ubuntu camp wrote a post entitled the open-source community is wonderful. Hall says the community isn't perfect but it's still wonderful. He cites that mono-culture is dangerous, good people are humans too, and to love the whole rather than parts. "There are some annoying, obnoxious people in our family. There are good people who are sometimes annoying and obnoxious. But neither of those truths changes the fact that we are still a part of an amazing, inspiring, wonderful community of open source contributors and enthusiasts."
Back in August I wrote about systemd working to create a new user-space VT solution that could eventually succeed the Linux kernel's VT support. With the upcoming systemd 217 release, the terminal is present.
David Herrmann has been landing a lot of changes into systemd over the past few weeks working on the project's terminal. As of a few weeks ago, there's now a consoled. The systemd-consoled is a user console daemon that's currently rather basic and does rather primitive rendering. Herrmann explained a bit:
Though he had at one point been hoping for an early release, Linus Torvalds unleashed version 3.17 of the Linux kernel on Sunday, thereby sticking to the "normal" schedule after all.
"The past week was fairly calm, and so I have no qualms about releasing 3.17 on the normal schedule (as opposed to the optimistic 'maybe I can release it one week early' schedule that was not to be)," Torvalds wrote in the official announcement.