Linux Weather Forecast
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 LWN.net. 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.
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 KernelNewbies.org 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.
- Core kernel developments: schedulers, real-time support, event management, and memory management.
- Virtualization and containers: Xen, KVM, control groups, etc.
- Filesystems: ext4, btrfs, and other ways of storing data.
- Security: technologies and enhancements for keeping Linux systems secure.
- Networking: Network channels and other technologies for connecting systems together.
- Hardware support: Topics of interest in hardware support.
- Miscellaneous topics which do not fit under any other heading.
- User space: user-space code which forms an important part of the low-level platform.
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