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Linus Updates Linux, Slackware 14 Debuts and Red Hat MRG 2.2

  • October 1, 2012
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

This week's Linux Top 3 strikes right at the core of Linux with a kernel update, a new release of the world's first Linux distro and a milestone update of Red Hat MRG.

1) Linux 3.6

After seven release candidates, Linus Torvalds figured that enough was enough and released Linux 3.6 on Sunday night.

"When I did the -rc7 announcement a week ago, I said I might have to do an -rc8, but a week passed, and things have been calm, and I honestly cannot see a major reason to do another rc," Torvalds wrote in a mailing list posting.

The 3.6 kernel, much like the 3.5 kernel that preceded it, is heavy on incremental improvements as opposed to massive changes.

"There haven't been any huge new architectures or filesystems, it's all 'solid progress'," Torvalds said. "That may not sound all that exciting, but the devil is in the details, and there's a lot of small fixes all over."

Among those small fixes are filesystem improvements to both Btrfs and Ext4. On the virtualization side, the VFIO (Virtual Function I/O) driver will help performance on bare metal.

"The VFIO driver is an IOMMU/device agnostic framework for exposing direct device access to userspace, in a secure, IOMMU protected environment," Red Hat developer Williamson explained. "In other words, this allows safe, non-privileged, userspace drivers."

Linux 3.6 is the fifth new Linux kernel of 2012. The merge window is now open for Linux 3.7 which is likely to be the final new kernel of 2012.

2) Slackware 14

In the beginning there was Slackware…

Patrick Volkerding has released Slackware 14, the first major update since the Slackware 13.37 (leet) release in April of 2011.

Slackware 14 is based on the Linux 3.2.29 kernel and includes Xfce 4.10.0 and KDE 4.8.5 on the desktop.

"These desktops utilize udev, udisks, and udisks2, and many of the specifications from freedesktop.org which allow the system administrator to grant use of various hardware devices according to users' group membership so that they will be able to use items such as USB flash sticks, USB cameras that appear like USB storage, portable hard drives, CD and DVD media, MP3 players, and more, all without requiring sudo, themount or umount command," Volkerding wrote in the Slackware 14 release announcement.

Package management also gets a boost in Slackware 14 with the improved slackpkg tool for easier updating/removal and installation of packages.

"The slackpkg tool can also help update from an older version of Slackware to a newer one, and keep your Slackware system up to date," Volkerding wrote. "In addition, the slacktrack utility will help you build and maintain your own packages."

3) Red Hat MRG 2.2

Red Hat updated its MRG (Messaging, Real-Time and Grid) platforms last week to version 2.2.

The Real-Time release leverages a Real Time Linux kernel which is needed for multiple use cases where more deterministic output timing is required. Among the improvements is a new High Performance Networking Capability that provides remote access to memory while optimizing the CPU load. Real Time is now also able to boot over PXE on a diskless client.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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