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Linux 2.6.30 Full of New Goodies: Fastboot, Ftrace, Wifi Security, Filesystems

Fastbooting the Kernel Itself

  • June 18, 2009
  • By Sean Michael Kerner
Sean Michael Kerner

The second Linux kernel of 2009 is now out, sporting a long list of improvements -- and at least one regression.

New filesystem support, security and driver improvements are all part of the new Linux 2.6.30 kernel release, although one of the most noticeable elements in the new release is the kernel inclusion of fastboot, an enhancement designed to speed startup for Linux-based systems.

Linux 2.6.30 also marks a step back, reinaugurating Tux the penguin as its official mascot after a one-release hiatus, during which Tuz the Tasmanian devil held the reins as a effort to raise awareness around the plight of the Tasmanian devil.

"I'm sure we've missed something, and I know we have some regressions pending," Linux creator Linus Torvalds said in his mailing list announcement for the new kernel. "At the same time, we do need the coverage of a real release, and on the whole it looks pretty good."

The release follows the 2.6.29 release by just under three months, and the features included in 2.6.30 will end up in the next round of Linux distributions as they face off against Windows 7 later this year.

Fastboot's inclusion in the kernel is one of the release's key elements, providing a mechanism for faster startup times within the mainline kernel itself. That's a something of a new approach, considering that Linux distributions have already been implementing their own approaches for faster startup times. The Ubuntu Jaunty release, for example, claims a 25-second boot time while Red Hat's Fedora 11 claims a 20-second boot time.

According to Red Hat, there is a difference between the aims and process of the new mainline Linux kernel's fastboot -- which was contributed to the community by Intel -- and the approach to faster startups taken in Fedora 11.

"They're solving a different set of problems," Fedora kernel maintainer Dave Jones told InternetNews.com. "The Fedora work has been almost entirely done by improving init scripts in userspace, and by making applications more intelligent about the I/O they are doing."

Jones adds that the fastboot patches are valuable, but there larger problems remain in userspace that can be addressed in Fedora.

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