Linux kernel 2.6.32: virtualization, power management and more drivers

Virtualization performance and scaling improvements also being added

Less than a week after Linux kernel 2.6.31 was released, the kernel developers are beginning to submit changes and improvements across virtualization, power management, file systems and device driver code for the upcoming 2.6.32 version.

When releasing the 2.6.31 kernel, maintainer Linus Torvalds said the amount of device driver code has been steadily increasing since 2.6.27, but 2.6.32 will continue to aggressively add in bug fixes and performance enhancements across the entire code base.

The developers put in requests for Torvalds to merge code from their working repositories with “git pull” into the main source tree.

Already there are signs of key activity in the initial merge window for 2.6.32, including:

Virtualization

Red Hat’s Avi Kivity is committing quite a few changes to the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), the native Linux Virtualization hypervisor.

The KVM changes include better SMP performance, unrestricted guests on Intel, emulation code for cross-vendor migration, and a mechanism to connect user- and kernel-based components to guest virtual machines.

These KVM feature enhancements come along with “the usual fixes and performance and scaling improvements”, according to Kivity.

Kivity also announced that Marcelo Tosatti is now helping him as co-maintainer of the KVM hypervisor.

Power management

Linux’s power management system will also get a significant update come 2.6.32 because the run-time power management framework has been deemed functional, so subsystems can start using it right now, according to its developers.

A rework of the hibernation freeing of memory means the hackers are now almost ready to drop some older memory management code.

Drivers, drivers, drivers

Soon after the 2.6.31 release Greg Kroah-Hartman posted an update on his blog about the number of “staged” drivers that will be coming in 2.6.32.

The Linux staging tree is used to hold stand-alone drivers and file systems that are not ready to be merged into the main portion of the Linux kernel tree for technical reasons.

Staged drivers for 2.6.32 include the RT and wlan-ng wireless drivers, as well as Android drivers; however, these are at risk of being dropped.

“Android drivers have had a bit of work done, but upstream seems to not care at all about what is going on here, as they are working to forward port their code to the 2.6.29 kernel,” Kroah-Hartman wrote.

“If this keeps up, the drivers will be dropped in the 2.6.32 kernel release.”

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