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Linux Kernel 2.6.38 arrives with desktop 'wonder patch'

Linux Kernel 2.6.38 arrives with desktop 'wonder patch'

New Kernel brings improvements to the virtual file system, Btrfs compression and memory management

Version 2.6.38 of the Linux kernel was released by Linus Torvalds overnight, including the much-hyped performance improvement patch amid many feature enhancements and bug fixes.

Back in November last year news broke about a 233 line patch to the Linux kernel by developer Mike Galbraith that could noticeably speed up the Linux desktop experience.

The patch to the Linux scheduler can reduce latency by as much as 60 times.

It changes how the process scheduler assigns CPU time to each process so the system will group all processes with the same session ID as a single scheduling entity.

Once kernel 2.6.38 makes its way into the Linux distributions people will begin to experience the patch in their desktop experience.

Other desktop-related enhancements with this release include support for AMD Fusion graphics dubbed Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) which integrate an x86 CPU and discrete-level graphics on a single chip.

Last month AMD reaffirmed its support for the development of Linux on its APU chips.

Kernel 2.6.38 also brings improvements to the virtual file system, Btrfs compression and memory management.

Commenting on the release on the Linux Kernel mailing list, Linus Torvalds said of the “big picture” changes since 2.6.37, his favourite is the VFS name lookup changes.

“They did end up causing some breakage, but on the whole I think it was surprisingly smooth,” Torvalds wrote.

“I think we had more problems with random other components (nasty memory corruption in networking, etc) than with the rather fundamental path lookup change.”

Torvalds hopes 2.6.38 ends up being “a fairly calm release” despite the really deep changes.

For a digest of the changes in kernel 2.6.38, see the page on Kernel Newbies.

Follow Rodney Gedda on Twitter: @rodneygedda

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