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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.1.127. This kernel has drawn some complaints, mostly about compilation errors. There is an -ac1 patch available Alan Cox in his FTP area; it contains numerous minor tweaks seemingly aimed at the "jiffies wraparound" problem, MCA stuff, and an apparent return of the AVL tree for mapping virtual memory areas. The NFSv3 patches are not yet included.

The 2.0.36 saga continues. It is now up to pre-patch 20 with a pre21 likely to come soon. (Pre 20 has a compile problem; if it bites you, simply remove the offending source line). 2.0.36 is getting close, anyway; a final patch should be shipped to Linus shortly.

Ftape 4.03 pre-2 is available. Here's the announcement for those who would like to try it out.

A new version of the 2.1 RAID implementation (MD) is out. This version includes a bunch of bug fixes, a couple of new features, and a RAID 5 HOWTO. Perhaps most significant, however, is the addition of a logical volume manager (LVM) into the md package. Logical volume support is a feature of many commercial Unix implementations; simply stated, it allows (1) the grouping of multiple physical volumes into logical volumes, and (2) the creation of partitions whose size can be adjusted at run time. The result is more flexible control over disk usage, since partition sizes are not cast in stone. Needless to say, proper use of logical volumes requires support from the file systems which live on those volumes. Many of the pieces are currently not there; this LVM implementation is intended primarly to get comments on the design of the whole thing. See the announcement for more information on how it works.

The addition of LVM to the MD implementation seems to be an outgrowth of a discussion on logical volume managers that has been going for a couple of weeks now. One opinion states that a separate LVM is a good thing for Linux to have. Thus the MD implementation, or the older implementation by Heinz Mauelshagen (which seemingly has not been updated for a few months now). On the other side are those who believe that multiple volume support belongs entirely within the filesystem. Prominent among those is Ted T'so. Arguments on this side include (1) performance, and (2) the fact that the file system has to be involved anyway. Disaster recovery might also work better; see Ted's example to see how that might be.

What new features does the new release of that other operating system have? No, not NT...Dax Kelson posted this list of new features in Solaris 7. Included therein are several things that Linux can not yet do (9TB files, logging file system, etc.), and others that we already have (TCP SACK, good threads, etc.) Overall it's an interesting thing to look at.

November 12, 1998

Since we're a weekly publication, chances are we'll be behind a rev or two on the kernel release by the time you read this page. Up-to-the-second information can always be found at LinuxHQ.


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