Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Kernel page.
The current kernel release is 2.2.2; this release was announced (sort of) on Monday, rather later than originally intended. This was intended to be the last stable release for a while, but some problems have cropped up (it does not compile on Alpha systems, for example) that may force a 2.2.3 release relatively soon.
A preview of that release can be seen in Alan Cox's 2.2.2ac3 patch, which contains quite a few fixes, but does not yet fix the Alpha problems.
BitKeeper is nearing release. BitKeeper is Larry McVoy's source management system that will, it is hoped, help to organize the kernel development process and take some of the pressure off of Linus. BitKeeper was covered in the October 15, 1998 issue of LWN; interested people can also have a look at the slides for Larry's LinuxWorld Expo talk.
Larry has created a mailing list to help with the resolution of some final isues before BitKeeper is put out there. See his announcement if you think you may wish to participate.
Speaking of mailing lists, Rik van Riel has announced the linux-testers mailing list in his continuing attempt to divert traffic away from linux-kernel. This list is intended "to discuss and speed up the development of new and exiting kernel features by bringing the testing and evaluation of the patches out in the open." See his announcement for subscription information.
Reiserfs is nearing readiness. Reiserfs is a new file system developed by Hans Reiser and others which attempts to achieve greater performance and space efficiency through the use of balanced tree algorithms. See the reiserfs web pagefor no end of details on how it works. The reiserfs team has been claiming substantially greater performance than ext2fs in recent times. They are at the "benchmarking and tuning" stage; expect to see more high profile releases before too long.
Various patches and releases out there: Richard Gooch is up to devfs version 92. Ulrich Windl has put out a second nanosecond time patch and is looking for testers. Jeffrey Jones has put out a new AMI megaraid driver (version 0.96) which has been folded into the 2.2.2ac* patch series. Jakup Jelinek has an updated RAID patch for 2.2.2. Alexander Viro has released a new rename patch which fixes some unpleasant race conditions; if all goes well he's getting ready to submit it for inclusion in 2.2.3.
2.2 hint: automatic power off on halt does not work as it once did. Under older kernels, selecting the "power off on halt" configuration option would cause the computer to do exactly that - assuming the hardware had that capability. With 2.2.2, it is necessary to halt the system explicitly with "halt -p" to bring about a power off.
And, unfortunately, that is often not enough. In most run levels, "halt" simply calls 'shutdown -h'. Things eventually work their way around to the system halt script (/etc/rc.d/init.d/halt on Red Hat, take out the "rc.d" component on some other systems). There "halt" gets run again at run level 0 and really brings things down. For power off to work, halt must be called with "-p" in that script. For the short term, until all the distributions have their act together, it may be necessary to edit this script to get "power off on halt" behavior.
Changes in the CDROM application interface. We got this note from Jens Axboe, the developer of the ATAPI driver about a small change that needed to be made in the meaning of the O_NONBLOCK flag when opening CDROM devices. This change creates a problem for applications which have not been updated. He gives instructions on how to make the fix.
A new version of autofs is in the works, and H. Peter Anvin is looking for suggestions on what should be in it. Before sending mail, please review his note to see which features will not be included, and refrain from asking for them.
Kernel information from Ziff-Davis. ZDNet has put out a 2.2 kernel compilation HOWTO article spanning eight pages. The information seems reasonable, though basic and written in an overly casual style. "This article has been scientifically optimized to be read in the same amount of time it will take you to download the Linux 2.2 kernel, so start your download here and then come on back!" Yes, they even offer the kernel source for download. (Found in LinuxToday).
February 25, 1999