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Cool features in Fedora 13

March 17, 2010 Leave a comment

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The next Fedora release, Fedora 13, will be named “Goddard”, after the famous Rocket scientist Robert H. Goddard. Goddard has some really cool new features; Fedora traditionally includes leading-edge features to their releases, usually sacrificing stability in favor of innovation.I must admit I love that they don’t treat the user as an idiot, but sometimes they go a bit far.

Let’s focus on the upcoming release of Fedora 13, planned for May 11, 2010, which will include the 2.6.33 kernel. The last Alpha version still ships the 2.6.32 kernel.

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Categories: FOSS, linux Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Linux 2.6.33, better graphics, dropped Android

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

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A new kernel release is out this week, with Nvidia and without Android. These changes aim to benefit both end-users and Linux developers.

The Linux 2.6.33 kernel is the first new kernel release of 2010, about three months after the previous one. Key to the new update are enhancements in graphics and storage capabilities.

“The most noticeable features in 2.6.33 are likely the Nouveau and DRBD integration (and a lot more people will notice the Nouveau part of that),” Linux creator Linus Torvalds wrote in a mailing list posting.

More people will notice Nouveau because it is a user-facing technology that is meant to improve Linux graphics. Nouveau is an open source graphics driver for Nvidia graphics cards built by open source developers — that is, Nvidia didn’t contribute the driver code, but rather, it was reverse engineered by the open source community.

The Nouveau drivers are not complete yet. For instance, 2D is supported while many 3D capabilities are not yet officially supported. The inclusion of Nouveau means that even more devices are now supported by the kernel.org releases.

While new graphics hardware is being supported in 2.6.33, the release is actually dropping support for Google’s Android: the drivers are no longer being maintained, and they are no longer in the mainline kernel tree. Without additional help from Google developers, Android code that’s heavily dependent on development in Google’s kernel tree can’t be merged with the mainline Linux kernel.

New storage, virtualization enhancements in this kernel release

The other new feature noted by Torvalds in 2.6.33 is Distributed Replicated Block Device (DRDB), which is intended to help serve as the basis for high-availability clusters and a network-based RAID approach. The release also includes improvements to the “perf” system for performance monitoring.

Such new in-kernel tracing tools make life much easier for kernel developers,
allowing for bugs to be fixed faster, and the kernel is tuned better for real workloads.

KVM virtualization also gets some attention in the Linux 2.6.33 kernel. The majority of upstream KVM development is done by Red Hat for use in its enterprise products, but this kernel release has not been of too much interest to them.

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