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Linux 3.5 Debuts as Fedora Gets a Cinnamon Dusting

  • July 23, 2012
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

There are a few things that keep the Linux Planet spinning, one of them is the Linux kernel itself. This week, we saw a new kernel debut, providing another incremental step forward for performance and stability.

1) Linux 3.5

Linux 3.5 is the fourth Linux kernel of 2012, following the 3.4 kernel by approximately eight weeks. Over the last eight weeks, Linus Torvalds has pushed out no less than seven release candidates, the same number required for the 3.4 kernel release.

Among the big new items are new integrity checks for the Ext4 filesystem.

"As much as we wish our storage hardware was 100 percent reliable, it is still quite possible for data to be corrupted on disk, corrupted during transfer over a wire, or written to the wrong places," the kernel.org wikion metadata checksums explains. "To protect against this sort of non-hostile corruption, it is desirable to store checksums of metadata objects on the filesystem to prevent broken metadata from shredding the filesystem."

The new metadata checksum inclusion is an attempt to marginally narrow the gap between Ex4 and Btrfs, which has many more such metadata checks for integrity.

With Linux 3.5 now out the door, developers will now turn their attention to Linux 3.6. With summer holiday season now in full flight, there is the chance that Linux 3.6 could be a lighter release than usual.

"If you are a (probably European) maintainer, and will be gone most of August, I'd rather you just delay the whole thing until 3.7 rather than send me a merge request for 3.6 and then effectively disappear for the next few weeks," Torvalds wrotein a mailing list posting. "And if 3.6 ends up smaller as a result of vacation details like that, it's fine."

2) Ubuntu WebApps

Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth took the time to visit the OSCON open source conference last week in Portland. Among the highlights of Shuttleworth's visit was a keynote address in which he revealed a new effort set to debut in Ubuntu 12.10 that will more deeply integrate web applications into the desktop, than ever before. Known as WebApps, the effort will integrate the web based applications into the Ubuntu Unity interface to provide a more native experience.

In addition to the WebApps announcement, Shuttleworth also made some very strong statement about the strength of Ubuntu on the desktop. In his view, Ubuntu has now eclipsed Apple in terms of ease of use and beauty on the desktop. It's a mission that he first announced four years agoon the same stage at OSCON.

It's a success which is translating into real number too, according to Shuttleworth.

"Next year, 5 percent of the world's PCs will ship with Ubuntu pre-installed," Shuttleworth said.

3) Unity and Cinnamon on Fedora

At the core of the Ubuntu desktop experience is Unity, which is something that no other Linux desktop has really embraced. Well now Fedora Linux users, if they so choose, can choose to use Unity as well, albeit not by way of the official Fedora repos. The Unity for Fedora build is by way of the GNOME Ayatana project building RPMs using the openSUSE build service.

Now, Unity is not for everyone, which is where the Cinnamon desktop comes into play. Cinnamon was started up by Linux Mint founder Clement Lefebre as an alternative to Unity, providing a more traditional GNOME 2 type interface on top of GNOME 3 infrastructure.

Cinnamon is now available in the main Fedora repos, enabling users to simply type ' yum install cinnamon' to experience the new desktop.

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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