Following the release of Linux Version 2.6.20 a few days ago the development phase of the next kernel version has now taken off. Whereas Linus Torvalds during the last few days has already integrated some 800 patches into his developer kernel that will lead to 2.6.21, Andrew Morton has now informed the kernel developers about his plans for the next kernel version.
Thus after inclusion in 2.6.16 of the basic infrastructure of the high resolution timer the upgraded version of the framework, the development of which was completed some time ago, will according to the plans of Mr. Morton find its way into the standard kernel. In its wake the dynamic ticks, designed to reduce the electricity consumption of a system dealing with a low workload by temporarily switching off the timer interrupt, are meant to follow. In addition a number of further improvements to the virtualization solution KVM are already in Mr. Morton’s mm kernel series, being tested there and waiting for inclusion in Version 2.6.21. However, the reiser4 file system, which has been part of the mm kernel for some time now, is to remain there for the time being.
In the e-mail outlining his plans Mr. Morton has also criticized the behavior of the maintainers of the kernel subsystems: “I’m getting fed up of holding onto hundreds of patches against subsystem trees, sending them over and over again seeing and nothing happen.” Later in the context of the ensuing discussion he gave more details on the way he operates.
Among the new features Linus Torvalds has already included for Version 2.6.21 observers will notice numerous improvements in all manner of places. These include major revisions of the ACPI subsystem. The ACPI Table Manager will thus be simplified, work more reliably and into the bargain require less memory. The new ACPI module bay, which for the time being is rated as experimental, will support devices in drive bays such as IBM’s Ultrabay or Dell’s Module Bay, while also being hot-plug capable. The new driver asus-laptop is intended to replace asus_acpi in the long run.
What is more, the ACPI code for Linux 2.6.21 marks the transition, envisaged for quite some time, to the Linux Driver Model; hence many files that one would now seek on the ACPI-specific /proc/acpi-tree will most likely in future also be found on the general device tree in Sysfs under /sys — this work has not yet been completed, however. Moreover, the developers have so far for Linux 2.6.21 integrated a number of patches that improve Playstation 3 support and have updated various network and IDE drivers.
During the next one and a half weeks the kernel developers are still likely to incorporate major changes to 2.6.21. Thereafter a phase that usually lasts about six to eight weeks will begin during which Linus Torvalds will on the whole only incorporate minor changes and bug corrections. (Robert W. Smith) / (jk/c’t)
February 9, 2007
Andrew Morton reveals his plans for Linux 2.6.21
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