Linux Kernel 2.6.29 — more than just a point release

Posted: February 8, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Record breaking Linux 2.6.29 was developed by the most number of contributors.

“It’s out there now, or at least in the process of getting mirrored out”, says Linus Torvalds, announcing — in a typically low key fashion — to the release of Linux kernel 2.6.29.
2.6.29 is made up of 11,010,647 lines of code, with the number of developers who contributed to it reaching a record high of 1,166. Unlike the lines of code that make up the kernel, the number of developers has not been constantly climbing.
In fact, this record was last held by release 2.6.25 with 1,124 developers contributing to it. All kernels between 2.6.25 and 2.6.29 never broke the 1,100 barrier in terms of developers.
On the other hand, the number of companies that have contributed to each kernel release, and who actually pay most of the developers, has practically remained unchanged. The companies that helped out in this latest release, as most of them have in previous ones, include IBM, Intel, Novell, Oracle, and Red Hat.  
Among the features that stand out in this kernel are:
Kernel mode setting 
In the past, mode setting was typically under the control of the user-space X-server drivers. Now, as the name implies, it has been moved into the kernel. Moving mode settings into the kernel has a number of advantages; among them, smoother boot ups and better performances during suspend and resume. For this release, only Intel hardware are currently supported. Understandable, since they were the ones who asked for its inclusion.
Btrfs
This is a promising new file system developed by Chris Mason from Oracle which is primarily aimed to provide an answer to the scalability limitations of current file systems when it comes to dealing with large storage subsystems.  Although still considered unstable, btrfs is touted as the next most ubiquitous file system. It was included here simply to provide a better environment where people can tinker with it.
Ext4 improvements
Expect btrfs to take some time before maturing into stable status. That’s if it follows the same development pace of previous file systems, ext4 included. There’s no need to rush into btrfs, as ext4 is here to keep us occupied with its own improvements, speed being one of the most notable. Those who fretted a lot about journaling issues, in addition to the issue on speed, will be happy to know that there now exists a mode that allows this file system to run without journaling.
Wireless Access Point mode support
If you’ve struggled to turn your Linux system into an access point before, expect that chore to be much easier now as the mac80211 WiFi stack now provides access point mode support. For this to work, you will need to power up the hostapd daemon.
Temporary substitute mascot named Tuz
We have a story on this one. Read about it by clicking the link above.
A more comprehensive list of the features can be found in Linux Kernel Newbies.

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