Linux Top 3: Arch, ARM and LibreOffice
This past week, Linux 3.6 was released, but perhaps the bigger news is what is coming in Linux 3.7 as the continuous evolution of Linux pushes development forward.
1) Linux 3.7 on ARM
ARM has long been a thorn in the side of Linux creator, Linus Torvalds. Unlike x86 which is a relatively unified architecture, ARM is fragmented which has posed some non-trivial challenges for Linux. That's all about to change with the Linux 3.7 kernel.
Torvalds merged code in last week that will fundamentally change the way ARM is handled in Linux.
"This is a pretty significant branch," the code commitstates. " It's the introduction of the first multiplatform support on ARM, and with this (and the later branch) merged, it is now possible to build one kernel that contains support for highbank, vexpress, mvebu, socfpga, and picoxcell."
So instead of having multiple ARM branches, which has led to additional complexity and Linux development challenges, there will now be one.
The move towards ARM is an important one for both mobile devices that build on ARM as well as new scale-out architectures for server deployments as well. Ubuntu, Red Hat and SUSE all now have active ARM efforts as server vendors including HP take aim at building the nascent ARM server market.
2) Arch 2012.10.06
Arch is a rolling release based distribution and as such each milestone release isn't the big deal that say a new Ubuntu or Fedora release typically is. That said, there are still plenty of new builds and new users that start with Arch in any given month and for them, new milestones are important as they update the baseline install for Arch.
"The October release of the Arch Linux install medium is available for Download and can be used for new installs or as a rescue system," Arch developer Pierre Schmitz wrote in his release announcement.
As usual, the updated installation media includes a pile of updated packages. At least one of them though will make a significant difference for new users. As of the 2012.10.06 update, systemd is used to boot up the live system. Schmitz also noted that, "initscripts are no longer available on the live system but are still installed by default on the target system. This is likely to change in the near future."
On a somewhat related note, a Cinnamon desktop based derivative of Arch debuted this week with its Cinnarch 2012.10.01 update. Cinnarch now also used the same systemD as the mainline update for Arch. Cinnarch differs in that it includes Cinnamon 1.6.1 by default for desktop users, as an alternative to GNOME Shell.
3) LibreOffice 3.6.2
Also on the subject of incremental updates last week is the LibreOffice 3.6.2 update. This is the third release from the 3.6 branch of LibreOffice and is primarily a stability and bug fix update.