Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Kernel page.
The 2.2 prerelease series has begun; as of this writing, the current
version is 2.2pre5. Your editor, typing on a 2.2pre4 system, is quite
content with the results. This kernel is clearly getting closer to release
quality. A snapshot of the things remaining to be fixed can be seen on
Alan Cox's 2.2 jobs list, but it tends to run behind at times (Alan is
busy, fortunately, doing real work!).
Testing of 2.2 has brought out a few surprises thus far, including:
As was already said on the front page, now is the time to be finding any
other problems that remain, before the 2.2.0 release goes out.
- The ISDN code is old. This, apparently, is the result of a
miscommunication between Linus and the ISDN developers, who thought
last summer's code freeze was a code freeze. The ISDN patch is large,
and Linus has expressed an unwillingness to
integrate it at this point. So this one may have to wait for a later
- The kernel NFS daemon patches are missing; these patches were
done by H. J. Lu and others, and have moved knfsd a long way toward
actually working. According to Linus, this
is a result of there being nobody who has really taken responsibility
for the kernel NFS code. After this note, a few volunteers stepped
forward, with G. Allen Morris III being the most attractive
candidate. Allen has already contributed a number of NFS patches and
is well respected in this area. Thanks are due to Allen for offering
to help in this area.
The fact remains that 2.2 will go out with a sub-standard NFS server
implementation. Unless something changes quickly, NFS over TCP will
not be supported, and NVSv3 is beyond hope. With luck some of that
will be remedied not too far into the 2.2 series.
There have also been some complaints about NFS file corruption,
usually dealing with Solaris servers. It appears that at least some
of those difficulties are due to a bug on the Solaris side.
- People are having trouble building NTFS. Expect this one to be
fixed shortly. There are also reports of problems with VFAT
which seem to be being fixed quickly.
- There are incompatibilities between the frame buffer console and
some of the accelerated X servers. This one could prove harder;
some video hardware is unpleasant stuff to deal with. It may be that
the frame buffer console is a bad idea for people with at least some
On a related note, people interested in frame buffer device
development may want to join this new mailing list for frame buffer developers.
- The driver for Tulip-based ethernet cards is old and fails to
work properly on a number of current cards. It also seemingly has
problems on SMP systems. The current driver, instead, has some
interoperability problems with the current kernel code, such that
Linus does not want to use it. It's not clear what the solution to
this one will be.
- The "processor type" configuration option has a stronger effect
now, meaning that if you try to run a kernel built for a Pentium
Pro on a plain Pentium unpleasant things will happen at boot time.
Some confusion resulted from the configuration options (Do you know if
your processor has proper TSC support?), leading to a couple of rounds
of changes. When configuring a kernel, be sure to get this option
right (or go with the 'i386' option, which works on everything
One other area of pre-2.2 activity is in tuning the virtual memory
system for better performance, especially in tight memory situations.
Andrea Arcangeli has been rapidly putting out patches, one of which,
hopefully, will get folded in before 2.2 comes out. (Your editor is
running arca-vm-8, the latest patch as of press
time, with no ill effect, though the performance gains are hard to
The Linux Kernel Archive Mirror System is now active; see the announcement for more. The system seems to be working
quite well, providing generally faster access for kernel downloads than
going straight to ftp.kernel.org. The one complaint that has been raised
is that not all of the mirrors have both the '.gz' and '.bz' kernel
images. If that is truly a big problem for you, pick a server name like:
The first case connects to an FTP server in the U.S. which is known to
carry '.gz' files. The second goes to a WWW server in the U.K. that
has '.bz' files.
Kudos are due to H. Peter Anvin and all of the maintainers of
the mirror sites for having set up a highly effective mirror system.
Please make a point of using it when you grab your kernels.
The fourth 2.0.37 prepatch is available with lots of new updates;
see the announcement for details.
The Linux-MM (memory management) page has moved. Update your
bookmarks to the new site when
you get a chance.
A new version of the international kernel patch is out, so that you
can now add cryptographic capabilities to your 2.2pre kernel. See the announcement for details.
January 7, 1999
Since we're a weekly publication, chances are we'll be behind a rev or two on the kernel release by the time you read this page. Up-to-the-second information can always be found at LinuxHQ.