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New Year, New Linux Kernel

  • January 10, 2012
  • By Sean Kerner

The new year started with a bang on the Linux Planet. Linus Torvalds unleashed a new Linux kernel to get things going, and Ubuntu put Linux on TVs.

1. Linux 3.2

The Linux 3.2 kernel is the first new kernel of the year. Among the big areas of improvement are filesystems enhancements for both Ext4 and Btrfs. Ext4 gains scalability with filesystem blocks growing from the traditional 4KB block to up to 1MB in size.

The new kernel also includes support for the Proportional Rate Reduction for TCP (PRR) specification, which could help accelerate network traffic. From a storage perspective, the new kernel provides Device Mapper improvements that will help provision storage with something known as thin provisioning.

"The 'thin' target is used to create instances of the virtual devices hosted in the 'thin-pool' target," Kernel Developer, Joe Thornber wrote in his kernel commit. "The thin-pool target provides data sharing among devices. "

Thornber added that, "the main highlight of this implementation, compared to the previous implementation of snapshots, is that it allows many virtual devices to be stored on the same data volume, simplifying administration and allowing sharing of data between volumes (thus reducing disk usage)."

2. Linux on Your TV

Canonical has been pushing Ubuntu Linux as a consumer brand ever since the Linux distro was born. It's a vision that in 2012 is really coming to fruition on a number of fronts. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, Canonical is showing off its Ubuntu TV concept.

That's right, Ubuntu Linux on your TV.

The concept makes full use of Ubuntu's Unity interface as a way to deliver all types of media content.

3. Linux on Your iOS Device

Canonical doesn't just want to put Linux on your TV, it also wants you to be able to get to your Linux files from your Apple iOS devices.

To that end, Ubuntu released a new app on the Apple AppStore called Ubuntu Files. With Ubuntu Files, iOS users can access, move and manage their UbuntuOne stored files, bringing the world of Apple and Ubuntu Linux just a little bit closer together.

4. Red Hat Moves to the City

The new year is also bringing about a change in location for the head office of Red Hat. The global headquarters for Red Hat has long been located in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina. The company is now moving into the city of Raleigh, taking over a building formerly occupied by Progress Energy.

"We are excited to utilize all of the downtown amenities. From hotels to event venues, restaurants and recreation, downtown Raleigh will suit our active company and culture," Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said in a statement issued to the media. "We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with the City of Raleigh and Wake County on further strategy for open source philosophy and technology implementations."

5. Mandriva Troubles

While Red Hat is moving downtown, Linux vendor Mandriva may be moving out of town and out of business all together.

Mandriva, which was originally known as Mandrake, could close its doors on January 16th, unless it is able to raise more money. Mandriva is no stranger to business troubles and already once survived bankruptcy back in 2004. Since then, Mandriva has been a going concern for the past seven years.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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