Linux in 2014: Six New Kernels, Thousands of New Features
Linux kernel developers kept busy (as always) in 2014 with six new kernels released over the course of the year.
The first kernel of 2014 was Linux 3.13 which debuted in January. The big new feature that landed in Linux 3.13 was the nftables packet filtering technology, which is intended to be a replacement for iptables.
The second Linux kernel milestone releaseof 2014 was Linux 3.14, which didn't end up coming out on March 14 (03/14) but rather on March 30th.
"I realize that as a number, 3.14 looks familiar to people, and I had naming requests related to that. But that's simply not how the nonsense kernel names work," Torvalds wrote in his announcement for the first release candidate of Linux 3.14 . "Besides, any self-respecting geek will know pi to twenty decimal places from their dorky youth, so 3.14 isn't really that close, is it?"
The big new feature that landed in Linux 3.14 was support for ZRAM memory compression technology.
Linux 3.15 debuted on June 8, as the third major Linux kernel release of 2014. With Linux 3.15 came enhanced radix treehole searching, which provides to improved memory management and utilization.
Linux 3.16 debuted on August 3. Among the improvements in Linux 3.16 was enhanced support for Samsung's Flash-Friendly File-system (F2FS)
With the Linux 3.17 release in October, multiple fixes landed to prepare Linux for the Unix 2018 problem.
The sixth and final Linux kernel release of 2014 was the Linux 3.18 milestone which debuted on December 7.
Among the improvements that landed in Linux 3.18 is accelerated suspend and resume speed.
"This tree includes a single commit that speeds up x86, suspend/resume by replacing a naive 100msec sleep based polling loop with proper completion notification," Linux developer Ingo Molnar wrote in his Linux 3.18 git pull message. " This gives some real suspend/resume benefit on servers with larger core counts."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at LinuxPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist