The Linux Foundation

Linux Weather Forecast

From The Linux Foundation

Welcome to the Linux Weather Forecast. This page is an attempt to track ongoing developments in the Linux development community that have a good chance of appearing in a mainline kernel and/or major distros sometime in the near future. Your "chief meteorologist" is Jonathan Corbet, Executive Editor at If you have suggestions on improving the forecast (and particularly if you have a project or patchset that you think should be tracked), please add your comments to the Discussion page.

There's a blog that reports on the main changes to the forecast. You can view it directly or use a feed reader to subscribe to the blog feed. You can also subscribe directly to the changes feed for this page to see feed all forecast edits.

Forecast summaries

Current conditions: the current kernel release is 2.6.28 (released December 24, 2008). Some of the features in this kernel include:

  • Many block layer improvements, including support for emergency head parking (when a laptop is falling off a table, for example), better solid-state storage device support, and more.
  • The "ext4dev" filesystem has been renamed to "ext4," signalling that this filesystem is getting close to ready for production use.
  • Support for wireless regulatory compliance.
  • The kernel now has support for ultrawideband radio which, in turn, is the basis for a new wireless USB layer.
  • Support for Nokia's Phonet protocol.
  • Kernel memory management support (the Graphics Execution Manager) has been merged for the Intel i915 driver. This is an important step forward for proper 3D graphics support in Linux.
  • A number of memory management improvements, mostly aimed at large-system scalability.
  • The container freezer, another piece of the large "containers" puzzle.
  • Quite a bit of low-level kernel tracing support, including tracepoints and the low-level trace buffer, has been merged.

Some statistics: the 2.6.28 kernel incorporated almost 9,000 changes from almost 1300 developers. This makes it a slightly smaller development cycle than its predecessors, but it is still a lot of code to merge over the course of less than three months.

See the 2.6.28 page for a vast amount of detail about this release.

Short-term forecast: The 2.6.29 kernel will most likely come out in March, 2009. The merge window for this development cycle closed with the release of 2.6.29-rc1 on January 10. Some of the key features in 2.6.29 will be:

  • Kernel-based mode setting for graphics adapters - for Intel hardware in particular, at this time. The addition of this code is the beginning of the end of a multi-year effort to rationalize our handling of 3D graphics hardware and provide a top-quality graphical experience to Linux users.
  • The development version of the Btrfs filesystem. Btrfs is widely expected to become the default Linux filesystem in the future, but it remains in a developmental stage currently and should not be used for production data.
  • The squashfs filesystem. Squashfs is a compressed, read-only filesystem used in embedded systems and in live CD distributions. It has long been packaged by distributors, but has only now made it into the mainline.
  • The Linux networking subsystem now has native WiMAX support.
  • As usual, dozens of new drivers have been merged.

All told, some 8800 changesets were merged for the 2.6.29-rc1 release, making this development cycle a relatively large one.

Specific areas of interest

The forecast has been divided into a number of specific subject areas.


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