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Linux Top 3: Ringtails, Salamanders and Cats

  • April 29, 2013
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

1) Linux 3.9

The Linux 3.9 kernel was officially released late Sunday night marking the second major Linux kernel release of 2013 so far.

The new release includes the usual long list of driver updates, but this time also includes a number of really interesting performance boosts as well.

SSDs can now be leveraged to help speed up the operations of (soon to be legacy) spinning disks.

"Add a target that allows a fast device such as an SSD to be used as a cache for a slower device such as a disk," Red Hat developer Joe Thornber wrote in his Linux kernel commit message. "A plug-in architecture was chosen so that the decisions about which data to migrate and when are delegated to interchangeable tunable policy modules."

Intel's PowerClamp driver has also landed in Linux with the 3.9 kernel release. Intel kernel developer Jacob Pan explained in his kernel commit message that Intel PowerClamp driver performs synchronized idle injection across all online CPUs.

"The goal is to maintain a given package level C-state ratio. Compared to other throttling methods already exist in the kernel, such as ACPI PAD (taking CPUs offline) and clock modulation, this is often more efficient in terms of performance per watt," Pan wrote.

2) Ubuntu 13.04

This past week also marked the official release of Ubuntu 13.04, aka the Raring Ringtail. While not an LTS release, the new distro provides some interesting goodness for desktop users.

"Along with performance improvements to Unity, updates to common desktop packages, and updated core and toolchain components, Ubuntu 13.04 also includes the new Friends service, to consolidate all social networking accounts via Ubuntu Online Accounts," Ubuntu developer Adam Conrad wrote in the official release announcement. "Also included is a tech preview of Upstart’s new user session feature."

Moving forward, Ubuntu Founder, Mark Shuttleworth has named the next major release due out in six month as the 'saucy salamander.'

"The salamander is one of nature’s most magical creatures; they are a strong indicator of a pristine environment, which is a fitting way to describe the new world emerging around Ubuntu Touch – new applications, a new SDK, a gorgeous clean interface," Shuttleworth wrote. "You’ll find salamanders swimming in clear, clean upstreams – which is exactly what’s forming around Ubuntu’s mobile ecosystem. It’s a way of saying ‘thank you’ to the tremendous community that has joined the effort to create a single unified experience from phone to PC, with tons of crisp and stylish core apps made by people from all over the world who want to build something fast, fresh and free. "

3)Fedora 19

Is Fedora 19 here or is it there? Is it alive or is dead? These are the types of rhetorical questions that are likely to 'dog' the Schrodinger's Cat release of Fedora.

The first alpha debuted last week giving testers an early bit of cat nip. Among the big new features set for inclusion in Fedora 19 is one called Checkpoint/Restore.

"Checkpointing a process in regular intervals can help to restart a process if it might crash to resume/restart/restore the calculation without too much data lost," the Fedora Features page on the new capability states. "Providing this ability transparent at the OS level removes the need to implement this functionality for all processes manually."

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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