Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Kernel page.
The current development kernel release is still 2.4.0-test8. The 2.4.0-test9 prepatch series is up to 2.4.0-test9-pre7. This patch is said to fix the sound problems that have afflicted recent -test9 prepatches, but some complaints on the subject are still being posted.
The current stable kernel release is 2.2.17. The 2.2.18 prepatch series is currently at 2.2.18pre11. A great many fixes and updates are still going into this series; recently these include a bunch of USB updates and a native Yamaha YMF7xx sound driver ("a result of high-speed collision between ymfpci.c of ALSA and cs46xx.c of Linux.").
So where do the prepatches live, anyway? Every now and then somebody drops us a note asking that question. It makes sense - the announcements for prepatches only rarely say where you actually have to go to pick them up. The answer is:
Your closest kernel.org mirror, of course, will be found at ftp.*.kernel.org, where the * is replaced with your country code. So folks in the U.S. should go to ftp.us.kernel.org, for example.
Bear in mind, of course, that prepatches are exactly that. They are out there for a first round of testing, and have the potential to crash your system, corrupt your files, fry your monitor, drink all your beer, or make you believe that LinuxOne is for real this time. Use with caution.
As an example of what can happen with prepatches, consider the case of the new memory management code. Rik van Riel has been working for some time on an improved memory management scheme; Linus integrated the results of his work in 2.4.0-test9-pre2. It seems that there were still a few glitches still needing to be worked out; quite a few people started reporting system deadlocks.
Some of these problems have proved hard to fix. Low-level deadlocks can be one of the hardest sorts of problems to track down. It also didn't help that Rik van Riel headed off to attend the Linux Kongress in Germany. Things got to the point where Linus threatened to back out the VM patches if the problems didn't get fixed soon.
Progress is being made on that front, and others are counseling patience. The memory update really does seem to make things work much better for a number of people. Removal of these changes would create some discontent.
Meanwhile, Andrea Arcangeli has stated his intent to revive his "classzone" patch as the Real Solution to the VM situation. Classzone got put on hold after the Ottawa Linux Symposium as it was decided to concentrate on Rik's approach; evidently Andrea has changed his mind. It will be interesting to see what sort of results Andrea gets, but the chances of including a completely new, more complex VM solution at this point in the 2.4 process seem pretty small.
Linux on the AlphaServer GS320. Here's the fun boot log of the week. Some folks at Compaq got Linux to boot and run on a 31-processor, 256GB AlphaServer GS320 system. It reports a total of 46,170 BogoMIPS. As they say, "things like kernel builds run really fast."
One more look at kernel patch management. Last week's kernel page asked "why not BitKeeper?" in response to the proposed new patch management system. A few tidbits that have wandered in since that article went up:
Those interested in how BitKeeper can be used to track changes in the kernel may want to have a look at the kernel repository browser on the BitMover site.
Other patches and updates released this week include:
Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet
September 28, 2000