Linux in the news
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See also: last week's Kernel page.
The current development kernel release is 2.1.131. This version (announcement here) is likely to remain the current official release for a little while, since Linus is vacationing in Finland and hobnobbing with the President. Meanwhile, Alan Cox's "ac" patch series becomes the closest thing we have to an official development line. That series has been active, releasing versions 2.1.131ac2, ac3, ac4, ac5, and, as of press time, 2.1.131ac6. These patches, as always, are available from Alan's FTP site. (There was a hint of I2O support in ac5, but that support is not yet available; its presence as a configuration option was a mistake).
The next series of 2.0 prepatches has begin with the announcement of 2.0.37 prepatch 1. At this point, the prepatch consists mostly of driver patches.
What does it take to use 1GB or more of memory on Intel systems? The current kernel tops out at 960MB; older 2.0 versions can crash in nasty ways if an attempt to boot a system with more memory than that is made. In response, evidently, to some customer queries, Leonard Zubkoff made available a patch which raises the ceiling to 2GB. Due to addressing limits in the IA32 architecture, making this change requires that the maximum amount of virtual memory available to any individual process be reduced to just under 2GB. That, of course, will not cramp most people's style too much, but there's always somebody...
The first beta of the lm_sensors package has been released. This package (see the home page) provides an interface to hardware status sensors (temperature, fan speed, etc) that some newer machines provide. With a package like this, your remote server can tell you that its fan has died before the whole thing turns into a molten slag heap.
Speaking of hardware monitoring, a set of patches to allow monitoring of disk activity and throughput has been made available by Stephen Tweedie. Here's his note on the matter. These patches will not be integrated into the mainline kernel until the 2.3 series, since it's waiting for some data structure changes there.
December 10, 1998