Linux in the news
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See also: last week's Kernel page.
The current development kernel version is 2.1.121. This release contains the usual set of bugfixes, seems to add synchronous PPP support, and has a bunch of SCSI tape and UMSDOS tweaks. Kernel 2.1.120 proved unstable for quite a few people; reports on 2.1.121 are still sparse.
Version 8 of the 2.0.36 stable kernel pre-patch is out. This one was labeled "release candidate 1," but it is already clear that a version 9 patch will be forthcoming. Even if you don't wish to install the patch, the announcement is worth reading, since it contains a set of release notes for 2.0.36.
A number of people have asked why kernel 2.1.120 added support for the QNX file system even though there is a feature freeze in effect. The reasoning is fairly simple: the file system code is a separate piece which affects nothing else in the kernel. Thus it could be safely added without threatening the stability of the whole thing.
The problem of how to deal efficiently with large numbers of virtual memory areas came back up this week. (This topic had been previously covered in the August 27 LWN). It seems that not everybody is happy with the performance of David Miller's "fuzzy hash" scheme. Bruno Haible went so far as to graft the old 2.0 AVL tree mechanism back into the 2.1 kernel. A set of timingsshowed the AVL scheme to be the fastest in the "many VMS's" case. David claims that the fuzzy hash approach simply needs more tuning.
No easy agreement seems forthcoming. Linus, however, has stated that fuzzy hashing will not go into the 2.2 kernel; it is too much of a change for this late in the game. The possibility exists that the AVL scheme will go in. AVL trees, having been used up through the 2.0 series, are well tested and can be added back relatively safely.
The linux-kernel mailing list FAQ has moved. Its new home is at:announcement of the move gives a bit of background on how the new site was chosen.
As more people try out the 2.1 kernels, this FAQ appears more often: why doesn't ipfwadm work any more? The answer, of course, is that the firewalling code has been completely replaced with the new "IP Chains" implementation. See the ipchains page for information on how to change over.
September 10, 1998