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Linux kernel 3.10 released

Linux kernel 3.10 released

The Linux kernel 3.10 includes support for AMD's latest Richland chips along with open-source hooks for the company's Universal Video Decoder hardware.

The latest version of the Linux kernel, 3.10, has been released following a brief delay and promises significant improvements over its predecessors for users of solid-state storage devices and AMD graphics hardware.

Announced late last night by Linux founder Linus Torvalds, the release was delayed by a day while he decided whether or not to run an eighth Release Candidate (RC) trial. 'While I might wish for fewer pull requests during the late RC's - and particularly the ones that came in Friday evening; inconvenient for a weekend release,' he wrote on the kernel mailing list, 'at some point delaying things doesn't really help things, and just makes the pent up demand for the next merge window worse.

'In other words, I could really have gone either way, but decided that there wasn't enough reason to break the normal pattern of "RC7 is the last RC before the release".'

As well as the usual fixes for bugs in the Linux 3.9 kernel, 3.10 - which comes just nine weeks after its predecessors, a full week less than is usual - includes support for the 'bcache' block-layer cache which allows a fast solid-state drive to be used as a cache for a larger, slower mechanical drive. Designed as an alternative to 'dm-cache,' added to Linux 3.9, 'bcache' works on the level of individual blocks rather than whole files - theoretically boosting performance over file-level solutions, and allowing Linux users to quickly set up their own hybrid storage devices.

The kernel has also been given interfaces that can control the Unified Video Decoder (UVD) portion of modern AMD graphics processing units (APUs.) Designed to accelerate the decoding of compressed video, UVD has previously only been available using AMD's closed-source proprietary driver - but the new kernel will be followed by an open-source driver to shunt video through UVD. Support for AMD's latest Richland APUs has also been included.

Other changes in Linux 3.10 include tweaks to the Samsung UEFI fix that will prevent the write-blocking mechanism designed to protect the devices from bricking from triggering on devices that aren't affected by the flaw, support for running on ARM's big.LITTLE chip architecture, additional drivers for previously poorly supported hardware including Apple's IrDA receiver and Roccat's latest Kone Pure and IskuFX devices, and networking tweaks to improve performance.

As with most kernel releases, it will take time before the latest kernel is picked up by most mainstream distributions. Many Linux distributions are still using kernel 3.5, although given the modular nature of the operating system it's not uncommon for users to download the source code for bleeding-edge kernels, compile and install them by hand in order to take advantage of the new features on offer.

More details are available on the official Linux Kernel Archives website.

11 Comments

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GuilleAcoustic 1st July 2013, 10:02 Quote
Always nice to see Linux news here. Keep up the good job ;)
Snips 1st July 2013, 10:22 Quote
Quick question, why is it that most distro's use 3.5 version (Is that nearly a year old based on the 10 week update thingy?) and not the very latest version?
Gareth Halfacree 1st July 2013, 10:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
Quick question, why is it that most distro's use 3.5 version (Is that nearly a year old based on the 10 week update thingy?) and not the very latest version?
A lot of distributions work on an annual or six-monthly update cycle. As a result, when a new release is finalised - Ubuntu 13.10, for example, due for release later this year - it gets 'frozen' to whatever the latest tested major revision is. When the version of Ubuntu I'm using got frozen, it was on 3.5.0 - which is why if I do a 'uname -a' on my desktop right now, I get the answer of '3.5.0-34-generic.'

A code freeze means you can't change major revision, but you can still get patches - hence why I'm on the 34th kernel of the 3.5.0 branch. What you can't do, however, is release something from a different branch - so there'll be no 3.6 or newer appearing in Software Update for me. I *can* get a newer kernel by upgrading to Ubuntu 13.04, which I haven't got around to doing yet, as that code freeze happened about six months after Ubuntu 12.10 - the version I'm on now.

Not all distributions have the concept of 'code freeze.' Some use a 'rolling release' system, which means that as soon as a new kernel (or any other piece of software) has been tested and tweaked in whatever way is required it is released to everyone. Those distributions don't really have version numbers.

As to why everyone isn't always on the latest version: distributions often tweak or change things, and they need to make sure that a major release is still compatible. Ubuntu is a great example of this: it uses a lot of custom stuff, including an upcoming replacement for X, which isn't usual and the mainline kernel team won't be testing for. It's entirely possible that dropping a stock 3.10 kernel into Ubuntu will break one or more Ubuntu-specific things - so it's up to Canonical and the Ubuntu community to test each kernel release, fix whatever gets broken, and *then* include it in the upcoming release.

TL;DR: Long release cycles, compatibility and/or laziness.
Icy EyeG 1st July 2013, 11:09 Quote
Times are sure changing. I think it's the first time that Bit-Tech covers a Linux kernel release.
Gareth Halfacree 1st July 2013, 11:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icy EyeG
Times are sure changing. I think it's the first time that Bit-Tech covers a Linux kernel release.
It is, although Linux is hardly new ground for the site: we've previously reported on the Linux Foundation's "I Am Linux" advertising scheme, the formation of Linaro, Linux-compatible graphics card driver releases, Linux server certification, various embedded Linux projects, kernel drivers, commercial support, KDE and more - and that's not even including coverage on Linux gaming, which has increased dramatically in the last year thanks to organisations like Valve putting their muscle behind the effort.
GuilleAcoustic 1st July 2013, 12:04 Quote
This 3.10 kernel is the first step toward my current project. The next one is the release of Haswell based NUC. According to Phoronix, kernel 3.10 + Mesa 9.2 delivers huge performance boost with Haswell IGP (up to twice)

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=intel_haswell_evolution&num=1
Icy EyeG 1st July 2013, 12:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
It is, although Linux is hardly new ground for the site: we've previously reported on the Linux Foundation's "I Am Linux" advertising scheme, the formation of Linaro, Linux-compatible graphics card driver releases, Linux server certification, various embedded Linux projects, kernel drivers, commercial support, KDE and more - and that's not even including coverage on Linux gaming, which has increased dramatically in the last year thanks to organisations like Valve putting their muscle behind the effort.

Indeed, indeed, and I love you guys for it!
Specially because many other tech sites seem to neglect Linux, even today.
Blackshark 1st July 2013, 12:37 Quote
GA - What are you going to use it for? standard PC, HTPC....?

Just interested as I am waiting for the same to come out to get back in to the desktop PC 'game' after being on laptops and RPis for .... many years (not so long the later of course)
GuilleAcoustic 1st July 2013, 12:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackshark
GA - What are you going to use it for? standard PC, HTPC....?

Just interested as I am waiting for the same to come out to get back in to the desktop PC 'game' after being on laptops and RPis for .... many years (not so long the later of course)

Everything is here : http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=259786

Basically I'll use a compact mechanical keyboard (60% size), an Intel NUC motherboard (100 x 100mm) and a custom built case (3D printed me think). The idea is to have something similar to the Amiga 600 in term of size.
Snips 1st July 2013, 13:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
What you said ;)

Thanks, consider me informed :)
schmidtbag 1st July 2013, 14:18 Quote
I believe the 3.10 kernel is also SUPPOSED to be the beginning of standardizing the different ARM platforms, where it'll be a 1-kernel-fits-all, except for a few proprietary chips from companies like Rockchip. This will be nice where you won't HAVE to have a different distro for every single platform out there, but it still seems to be a long way away until that really happens.
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