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Linux Top 3: OpenSUSE 13.2, Proprietary Linux Drivers and Linux Kernel Updates

  • March 24, 2014
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

1) openSUSE 13.2 Development Begins

Development work on the openSUSE 13.2 release officially got underway last week. Among the key changes set to debut in openSUSE 13.2 is the use of the Btrfs filessytem as the default, marking a shift away from Ext4.

The development plan now has November as the target date for the release.

2) Proprietary Drivers in Linux

The problem of having proprietary driver in Linux is not a new one, but yet it still exists. This past week, Ubuntu Linux founder Mark Shuttleworth offered his views on the longstanding issue invoking the name of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in the process.

"If you read the catalogue of spy tools and digital weaponry provided to us by Edward Snowden, you’ll see that firmware on your device is the NSA’s best friend," Shuttleworth wrote in a blog post. "In ye olden days, a manufacturer would ship Windows, which could not be changed, and they wanted to innovate on the motherboard, so they used firmware to present a standard interface for things like power management to a platform that could not modified to accommodate their innovation."

Shuttleworth now sees a path forward. His plan is to have declarative firmware that is not hard linked to executable code.

"We need to recognize the importance of being able to fix declarations over the life of a product, but we must not introduce blobs in order to short cut that process," Shuttleworth said.

3) Linux Kernel moves forward

Another week and another set of new incremental Linux kernel updates have debuted for all current supported mainline branches.

On March 23, Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the release of the 3.13.7 Linux kernel. The new milestone update is the seventh since the 3.13 kernel was first releasedby Linus Torvalds in January of this year.

Also on March 23, Kroah-Hartman released the Linux 3.10.34 milestone which was first released in June of 2013. In August of 2013, the 3.10.x branch of the Linux kernel was designatedby Kroah-Hartman to be a Long Term Supported release, providing up to two years of support.

The Linux 3.4 kernel was also updated by Kroah-Hartman on March 23, and now stands at the 3.4.84 milestone. Linux 3.4 was first released back in May of 2012.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at LinuxPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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