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Some of the key features in 2.6.29 are:
* 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 filesystem freeze feature allows changes to a filesystem to be temporarily suspended so that, for example, a backup can be performed.
* The Linux networking subsystem now has native WiMAX support.
* As usual, dozens of new drivers have been merged.
There's far more than that, of course, in this kernel; as always, the excellent KernelNewbies 2.6.29 page has all the details.
Short-term forecast: the 2.6.30 release will probably happen sometime in the next few days. The merge window for this development cycle closed with the 2.6.30-rc1 release on April 8; the current development release is 2.6.30-rc8, announced on June 2. Some of the more interesting changes in 2.6.30 include:
* After a long series of discussions, the kernel developers decided to make a modified version of the "relatime" mount option the default. This change will reduce disk traffic and improve battery life, at the cost of changing longstanding Unix-like behavior.
* The ext3 filesystem has seen a number of performance improvements, and now operates in the data=writeback mode by default (though distributors may well change that default). See this article for a description of these changes and how they came about.
* Support for integrity management in the kernel has been merged. This code makes use of the trusted platform module (TPM) built into many systems to ensure that the system's files (including its executable software) have not been corrupted, maliciously or otherwise.
* The TOMOYO Linux security module has been merged, providing a new type of pathname-based mandatory access control.
* The reliable datagram sockets protocol is now supported in the networking layer.
* Low-level support for object storage devices has been merged, along with the "exofs" filesystem which operates on top of such devices.
* The Nilfs log-structured filesystem has been merged.
* FS-Cache, a local caching layer for network filesystems, is now part of the mainline kernel (after some four years of development).
* The kernel has gained support for AMD/ATI R6xx and R7xx graphics chipsets. Currently only two-dimensional graphics are supported; 3D support will come later.
The 2.6.30 development cycle saw the addition of almost 12,000 individual changes from over 1100 developers representing some 200 different companies. 2.6.30 has 624,000 more lines of code than 2.6.29
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