Madhav Kobal's Blog

This blog will be dedicated to Linux, Open Source and Technology news, affairs, how-tos and virtually EVERYTHING in these domains.

New Features of Linux 2.6.31Kernel

Posted by madhavkobal on 11/09/2009

The latest version of Linux offers a whole host of new features – for example a USB 3.0 infrastructure, drivers for the Sound Blaster X-Fi, KMS support for Radeon chips and improved versions of Btrfs and Ext4. As is traditional with new Linux versions in the main development branch, however, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

After nine release candidates and just under three months in development, Linus Torvalds has released Linux version 2.6.31. Like its predecessors in the main development line, it offers a whole host of new features.

Among the new features are USB 3.0 support and support of several Sound Blaster X-Fi cards by Creative. The kernel makes better use of the power saving techniques offered by modern Wi-Fi hardware and is now also capable of Kernel-Based Mode-Setting (KMS) with Radeon graphics cards up to model X1950. From now on, distributions are to use the more recent of the two FireWire stacks, which with the new kernel version will at last offer ‘IP over 1394’ networking support.

The new kernel’s experimental Btrfs, scheduled to become the “next generation file system for Linux”, is now said to be faster and more memory efficient and the first components for de-fragmenting Ext4 file systems have been included into the main development branch. The new performance counters allow a detailed analysis of the run-time behaviour of program code. The developers also considerably modified and improved the recently introduced tracing infrastructure.

The following offers an overview of these and many other important changes in the new Linux version. These changes will eventually trickle through even to users who don’t compile their own Linux systems as future Linux distributions start to include the new kernel version (or one of its successors). Kernel 2.6.31 is likely to be included as part of the new Autumn releases of Fedora, openSUSE and Ubuntu, and so will soon be in use by most Linux users.


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