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Guest Blog: Rares Aioanai gives a Kernel Review (Week 18)

May 8th, 2010 by

Hello, and welcome. Here goes :

-This first one is hot after the closing of the last weeks’ edition, courtesy of LWN.net (I had not access to vger.kernel.org because of their downtime) : Linus Torvalds announced 2.6.34-rc6  (http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.6/testing/ChangeLog-2.6.34-rc6) and here is the link from LWN : http://lwn.net/Articles/385535/rss
-On the fixes side, we begin with Trond Myklebust’s NFS client bugfixes , and continue with a small fix from Jens Axboe regarding the block tree; in related news, other fixes are : xfs (Alex Elder), kgdb for  -rc5 (Alex Elder), perf (Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo), spi/gpio (Grant Likely), USB for -rc4-git (Greg Kroah-Hartman), who also sent fixes for the tty and staging trees.
-Stefan Bader announced linux-2.6.32.y-drm33.z with the following comment : “As many of us now have a distribution which is based on a 2.6.32 kernel but are forced to update DRM to the version in 2.6.33 to obtain good graphics experience. In support of this I went ahead and created a tree on kernel.org[1] which brings together the two and which I will maintain following the upstream stable trees from Greg. This hopefully will not only be beneficial to us but also to all that are in the need of running this combination of code.”
-Tim Gardner of Canonical proposed some of the updates to the r8169 driver should be merged into stable; Francois Romieu agreed, so we’ll see these fixes in .32 and .33 stable versions.
-Darrick j. Wong posted a RFC in regard of the ext4 tree with the following intro-duction : “Hmm.  A while ago I was complaining that an evil program that calls fsync() in a loop will send a continuous stream of write barriers to the hard disk.  Ted theorized that it might be possible to set a flag in ext4_writepage and clear it in ext4_sync_file; if we happen to enter ext4_sync_file and the flag isn’t set (meaning that nothing has been dirtied since the last fsync()) then we could skip issuing the barrier. Here’s an experimental patch to do something sort of like that.  From a quick run with blktrace, it seems to skip the redundant barriers and improves the ffsb mail server scores.  However, I haven’t done extensive power failure testing to see how much data it can destroy.  For that matter I’m not even 100% sure it’s correct at what it aims to do.”
-John W. Linville asked Dave Miller to pull some of his fixes applied to the wireless-2.6 tree (30.04.2010).
-Linux Weekly’s editor-in-chief, Jonathan Corbet, RFC’d some fixes for the viafb tree (OLPC).
-Paul E. McKenney announced fixes for the RCU tree in .34 and changes for .35,  Frederic Weisbecker sent Ingo Molnar and the list some new fixes for perf,  lockdep and hw-breakpoints, Michael S. Tsirkin came up with vhost-net improvements,  just like Sage Weil, who posted ceph fixes for -rc7; other fixes include lockdep, RCU, i2c, tracing and core.
-Joel Becker wrote fixes for the ocfs tree, while H. Peter Anvin posted x86 fixes for -rc7, including David Howell’s rwsem patch.
-Another series of small fixes for the drm and gpu trees by Dave Airlie were  posted, as well as other fixes for the following trees/components :  input by Dmitry Torokhov, sound by Takashi Iwai, networking by David Miller, wq (workqueue) by Tejun Heo and perf by Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo.
-Pankaj Thakkar of Vmware posted a RFC in regard of NPA for vmxnet3, with the  following words : “Device passthrough technology allows a guest to bypass the hypervisor and drive the underlying physical device. VMware has been exploring various ways to deliver this technology to users in a manner which is easy to adopt. In this process we have prepared an architecture along with Intel – NPA (Network Plugin Architecture). NPA allows the guest to use the virtualized NIC vmxnet3 to passthrough to a number of physical NICs which support it. The document below provides an overview of NPA. We intend to upgrade the upstreamed vmxnet3 driver to implement NPA so that Linux users can exploit the benefits provided by passthrough devices in a seamless manner while retaining the benefits of virtualization. The document
below tries to answer most of the questions which we anticipated. Please let us know your comments and queries.”
-On opensuse-kernel@ Larry Finger patched the script allowing the downloading of firmware for b43 (Broadcom).
-Another series of fixes were posted as follows : SLAB for -rc7 by Pekka J. Enberg,  libata and zerolen (misc) by Jeff Garzik, RCU for 2.6.34 by Paul E. McKenney, sh by Paul MUndt, arch/microblaze by Michal Simek, oprofile by Robert Richter, RCU, this time by Ingo Molnar, vrl/dvb by Mauro Carvalho Chehab, nfs client  fixes by Trond Myklebust, sched/core by Tejun Heo, drm by Dave Airlie,  ACPI for -rc6 by Len Brown, perf and tracing by Steven Rostedt, block for 2.6.34 by Jens Axboe, PCMCIA by Dominic Brodowski and md for 2.6.34 by Neil Brown.
-Soeren Sandmann announced the release of Sysprof 1.1.6 with the following  words : “Sysprof 1.1.6 is now available. This is a development release leading up to a stable 1.2.0 release. Sysprof is a sampling system-wide CPU profiler for Linux. This version is based on the perf counter interface in 2.6.31 kernels and will not work with earlier kernels.”
-Mikulas Patocka asked for testers in the matter of performance degradation in the Maxtor Atlas 15K2 SCSI disks, due to buggy firmware, posting a script that limits the request size to 256k, since the degradation appears when requests exceed this 256k boundary
That’s all, folks! If you’re in Europe, have a rainless weekend, and may all
of you have a fantastic weekend!

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