Linked by Kroc Camen on Thu 25th Dec 2008 07:50 UTC, submitted by diegocg
Linux Heise Open Source provides an extensive breakdown of the innovations present in the latest release of the Linux kernel, announced by Linus Torvalds. This version adds the first version of Ext4 as a stable filesystem, the much-anticipated GPU memory manager which will be the foundation of a renewed graphic stack, support for Ultra Wide Band (Wireless USB, UWB-IP), memory management scalability and performance improvements, a boot tracer, disk shock protection, the phonet network protocol, support of SSD discard requests, transparent proxy support, high-resolution poll()/select()... full Changelog here
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:D
by RaisedFist on Thu 25th Dec 2008 08:29 UTC
RaisedFist
Member since:
2005-07-06

Linus who?

Reply Score: 4

RE: :D
by Kroc on Thu 25th Dec 2008 09:18 UTC in reply to ":D"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

His lesser known estranged half-brother, twice removed. ;) Thanks for spotting that.

Reply Score: 2

the list is impressive
by sukru on Thu 25th Dec 2008 08:40 UTC
sukru
Member since:
2006-11-19

it's been a while since I last followed kernel developments, but these new features (especially the graphics stuff) looks very impressive, even more, considering this is an "incremental" update.

while windows is (due to software selection) my primary desktop, I wish Microsoft had learned from "release often, release early", "adding features to already released products" mentalities.

Reply Score: 5

RE: the list is impressive
by dwave on Thu 25th Dec 2008 10:41 UTC in reply to "the list is impressive"
dwave Member since:
2006-09-19

To release often you actually need programmers, not lawyers. This is why Microsoft is still stuck with the same NT kernel which they got from a group of developers from Digital Equipment Corporation, led by Dave Cutler.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: the list is impressive
by jbauer on Thu 25th Dec 2008 11:08 UTC in reply to "RE: the list is impressive"
jbauer Member since:
2005-07-06

To release often you actually need programmers, not lawyers. This is why Microsoft is still stuck with the same NT kernel which they got from a group of developers from Digital Equipment Corporation, led by Dave Cutler.


I guess you are right. Unlike Linux developers, of course, who are obviously not stuck with Linux.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: the list is impressive
by dwave on Thu 25th Dec 2008 17:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: the list is impressive"
dwave Member since:
2006-09-19

Your argument misses the point. I'll tell you why. 1.) The Linux Kernel is modular and not monolithic and it comes in a variety of flavours because companies with actual developers use it to fit their needs. This is why today you have a multitude of devices running Linux - probably your also router/cable modem.
2.) Of course it depends on what you are developing. But as long as you are not really a kernel developer, you really have a broad choice of systems to develop and are not stuck with the Linux kernel. E.g. My work mostly involves Python and Unix-like environments. If I do this work on my customer's FreeBSD Server or my Linux box is irrelevant most of the time.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: the list is impressive
by jbauer on Thu 25th Dec 2008 21:57 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: the list is impressive"
jbauer Member since:
2005-07-06

Your argument misses the point. I'll tell you why. 1.) The Linux Kernel is modular and not monolithic and it comes in a variety of flavours because companies with actual developers use it to fit their needs. This is why today you have a multitude of devices running Linux - probably your also router/cable modem.


No, it's because it's open source, cheap, and so can be customized by third parties.

Your second point doesn't actually make any sense at all, and it doesn't help you to bash NT or Windows, which is exactly what you did in your first message just for the sake of it. Sorry.

Edited 2008-12-25 21:58 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: the list is impressive
by sbergman27 on Thu 25th Dec 2008 22:24 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: the list is impressive"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Your second point doesn't actually make any sense at all, and it doesn't help you to bash NT or Windows, which is exactly what you did in your first message just for the sake of it. Sorry.

Well, I'm a Linux guy. But I don't really see where this particular type of Linux kernel vs NT kernel stuff gets us. So let me throw this into the ring to see if maybe something constructive comes of it: MinWin is/was/will be about emulating some strengths of the Linux kernel philosophy.

Edited 2008-12-25 22:25 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: the list is impressive
by Morph on Sat 27th Dec 2008 12:26 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: the list is impressive"
Morph Member since:
2007-08-20

The Linux Kernel is modular and not monolithic

'Monolithic' refers to the memory model used by the kernel. The Linux kernel, like many other common kernels (eg BSD, BeOS, Syllable), is monolithic because all kernel code including modules runs in the same memory space; ie any kernel code, whether compiled into the kernel or in a module, can access any variables or data structures of any other part of the kernel. A consequence of this is that a crash or bug in a module can corrupt the whole kernel.
The usual example of a non-monolithic kernel is Minix, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MINIX.

One might actually say that Windows Vista is less monolithic than Linux, since the new video driver system has video drivers running in userspace. This means that a buggy video driver won't crash the whole system - it just gets safely restarted and everything goes on as usual.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: the list is impressive
by abraxas on Sat 27th Dec 2008 18:39 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: the list is impressive"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

'Monolithic' refers to the memory model used by the kernel. The Linux kernel, like many other common kernels (eg BSD, BeOS, Syllable), is monolithic because all kernel code including modules runs in the same memory space; ie any kernel code, whether compiled into the kernel or in a module, can access any variables or data structures of any other part of the kernel. A consequence of this is that a crash or bug in a module can corrupt the whole kernel.
The usual example of a non-monolithic kernel is Minix, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MINIX.


While Linux is not a microkernel it isn't as monolithic as earlier versions of Unix. A lot has been moved outside the kernel and it is extremely modular, much more so than Windows.

One might actually say that Windows Vista is less monolithic than Linux, since the new video driver system has video drivers running in userspace. This means that a buggy video driver won't crash the whole system - it just gets safely restarted and everything goes on as usual.


Vista's graphics driver model is actually similar to Linux because there are two parts to the driver, one in kernel space for things like memory management and another part resides in userspace to handle things like GL acceleration. Linux also has split graphics drivers and DRI2 introduces a kernel memory manager for graphics much like Vista has.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: the list is impressive
by akrosdbay on Sun 28th Dec 2008 20:11 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: the list is impressive"
akrosdbay Member since:
2008-06-09


While Linux is not a microkernel it isn't as monolithic as earlier versions of Unix. A lot has been moved outside the kernel and it is extremely modular, much more so than Windows.


It is either a microkernel or Monolithic. How much of the linux kernel is actually executed in userland?

The graphics part of the driver stack is shared with other OSes that use X.org like OpenSolaris.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: the list is impressive
by abraxas on Sun 28th Dec 2008 20:35 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: the list is impressive"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

It is either a microkernel or Monolithic. How much of the linux kernel is actually executed in userland?


That's simply not true. Most kernels mix elements of a microkernel with elements of a monolithic kernel. Look at OSX which has a hybrid Mach/FreeBSD kernel. Linux has things like libusb, udev, and fuse which operate from userspace.

The graphics part of the driver stack is shared with other OSes that use X.org like OpenSolaris.


I'm not sure how that is relevant to the discussion.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: the list is impressive
by akrosdbay on Sun 28th Dec 2008 19:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: the list is impressive"
akrosdbay Member since:
2008-06-09

Your argument misses the point. I'll tell you why. 1.) The Linux Kernel is modular and not monolithic and it comes in a variety of flavours because companies with actual developers use it to fit their needs. This is why today you have a multitude of devices running Linux - probably your also router/cable modem.


The linux kernel is Monolithic. You have no idea what you are talking about. Dynamic loadable modules are available in most modern kernels but they are still monolithic.

In kernel parlance, Monolithic refers to wether the kernel and all of its modules, including device drivers, execute in privileged mode.

You are confusing runtime/compile time binary level implementation with architecture.

The NT kernel is a hybrid kernel.

Your understanding is incorrect. The architecture of linux has nothing to do with its popularity or it being able to run on small memory foot print.

QNX is a microkernel and runs fine on small memory embedded systems.

Edited 2008-12-28 19:53 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: the list is impressive
by sbergman27 on Sun 28th Dec 2008 20:16 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: the list is impressive"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

The linux kernel is Monolithic.

True. And that particular choice of architecture is nothing to be ashamed of. Microkernel was considered avante garde in the 90s. Nowadays, the word "microkernel" mainly evokes mental images of Andy Tannenbaum waiting for the Great Pumpkin to rise out of the pumpkin patch. I'm not a QNX expert. But from what I've heard, they do seem to have done a good job with a microkernel design in the RT space.

The NT kernel is a hybrid kernel.

The NT kernel is a monolithic kernel in the ways that matter. Microsoft was happy to have buzz word compliance in the 90s, when NT was architected. But they were no more willing than was Linus to accept the overhead of message passing at that level. (Remember that QNX and real-time are about determinism, and not about speed.)

Your understanding is incorrect. The architecture of linux has nothing to do with its popularity or it being able to run on small memory foot print.

Probably not directly. But to the extent that Linux's design has allowed it to be performant, especially in the server space, it has no doubt contributed.

QNX is a microkernel and runs fine on small memory embedded systems.

Yep.

Edited 2008-12-28 20:21 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: the list is impressive
by akrosdbay on Mon 29th Dec 2008 06:18 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: the list is impressive"
akrosdbay Member since:
2008-06-09


True. And that particular choice of architecture is nothing to be ashamed of. Microkernel was considered avante garde in the 90s. Nowadays, the word "microkernel" mainly evokes mental images of Andy Tannenbaum waiting for the Great Pumpkin to rise out of the pumpkin patch. I'm not a QNX expert. But from what I've heard, they do seem to have done a good job with a microkernel design in the RT space.


Oh please spare me the Linus vs Tannenbaum argument.

Each kernel architecture when implemented properly works just fine. QNX is an great example of that.



The NT kernel is a monolithic kernel in the ways that matter. Microsoft was happy to have buzz word compliance in the 90s, when NT was architected. But they were no more willing than was Linus to accept the overhead of message passing at that level. (Remember that QNX and real-time are about determinism, and not about speed.)


The OP didn't mention anything about speed. QNX offers much better latencies than linux so obviously the message passing doesn't cause that much overhead.

Probably not directly. But to the extent that Linux's design has allowed it to be performant, especially in the server space, it has no doubt contributed.


Nothing in my response or the person I was responding to mentioned performance.

You are mistaken if you think the standard Linux kernel offers anything close to real time performance and microsecond latencies that QNX offers. Even with RTAI and other extensions.

QNX also scales down to smaller systems than Linux. I don't see where the overhead from message passing comes in.

So It doesn't matter one bit if the kernel is monolithic or microkernel or a mish mash of both.

The architecture doesn't matter the implementation does. No one OS or architecture can deal with all the niches.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: the list is impressive
by sbergman27 on Mon 29th Dec 2008 06:40 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: the list is impressive"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Oh please spare me the Linus vs Tannenbaum argument. Each kernel architecture when implemented properly works just fine. QNX is an great example of that.

Actually, I was thinking about Minix3:

http://lwn.net/Articles/220255/

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: the list is impressive
by dwave on Tue 30th Dec 2008 15:37 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: the list is impressive"
dwave Member since:
2006-09-19

Thanks for pointing that out. I wasn't aware that according to the correct nomenclature he Linux kernel is indeed monolithic.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: the list is impressive
by Bending Unit on Thu 25th Dec 2008 11:13 UTC in reply to "RE: the list is impressive"
Bending Unit Member since:
2005-07-06

Which has been improved on for years and seems to work extremely well. But let me not interrupt your trolling...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: the list is impressive
by helf on Thu 25th Dec 2008 16:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: the list is impressive"
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

As opposed to yours?

The NT Kernel is *not* the same at the original NT kernel. It has been updated and changed over the last 15+ years just like any other OS. The Kernel in Windows is pretty damn good. It's the userland that sucks ass.

But don't let facts get in the way of your trolling.

(I'm a mostly neutral commentator ;) I use NEXTSTEP at home and WM6.1 when on the go ;) )

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: the list is impressive
by davidsarmstrong on Fri 26th Dec 2008 03:44 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: the list is impressive"
davidsarmstrong Member since:
2008-12-26

My understanding (and our experience) is that the NT scheduler doesn't handle resource contention as well as Linux, which, seemed in the past to lag behind FreeBSD and I'm assuming Solaris.

We have one NT server in house with 5 users with tepid response despite a $14,000 server. Our factory (50 simultaneous users) runs under linux on a $400 server it seems crisper.

Your mileage may vary, but it seems telling that Microsoft delivers the updates via Akamai linux servers. Why didn't they use Windows Server?

Reply Score: 4

PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

What kinds of apps are running on the two servers? Are you talking about graphical environments, databases, or SSH sessions?

NT doesn't have a fair scheduler, so it's possible for a high-priority task to starve lower-priority things for a significant amount of time, but this decision was made to improve throughput by reducing the overall context switch rate, I think.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: the list is impressive
by davidsarmstrong on Fri 26th Dec 2008 10:42 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: the list is impressive"
davidsarmstrong Member since:
2008-12-26

On the NT server, we're running an accounting reporting system. There are five PC's connected, but only one is usually using the system at one time. We use it for reporting only. It has a gigabit network, which, for some odd reason, was required.

The Linux system is a factory system which does customer maint, order entry/maint, packaging and shipping, factory office, timeclock and factory production. It's the bread and butter of the operation. There are usually around 200 connections to the database (200 different applications running at the same time), some of which are monitors which poll at regular intervals between 1 second and 15 seconds.

Amazingly, we run all this from a $400 Dell workstation working as a server.

Our conclusion is, if you have work to do and your application is available for linux or your write it yourself (as we did), Linux is very well suited.

If you have a specific application which requires Windows or it's not in the critical path, consider Windows.

Reply Score: 3

PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

Thanks for giving the details of your operation. It doesn't sound like that's a particularly heavy workload, so I doubt you're hitting a design limitation of Windows Server. It seems like a case of misconfiguration.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: the list is impressive
by Kroc on Thu 25th Dec 2008 11:53 UTC in reply to "RE: the list is impressive"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

I don’t know about Microsoft, but if we know one thing it’s that Linux developers clearly are not Lawyers ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: the list is impressive
by vaette on Thu 25th Dec 2008 12:48 UTC in reply to "the list is impressive"
vaette Member since:
2008-08-09

On the other hand you can always be happy that Microsoft integrated a GPU memory manager in the NT kernel two years ago (the much complained-about new graphics Vista driver model was to support GPU memory management and GPU thread scheduling in a generic way in the kernel). So they do miss the release often quite clearly, but at least when it comes to graphics technology they have been good about being early in the last 10 years. Overall the graphics/DirectX team has clearly come a long way since the early days.

Still, it is good to see the Linux kernel guys taking a more clear stance on the graphics aspects of things, with more and more general-purpose graphics hardware the handling of it clearly has a place in the core kernel rather than as the current odd mix of kernel/modules/x11 responsibilities.

Edited 2008-12-25 12:49 UTC

Reply Score: 7

Comment by Traumflug
by Traumflug on Thu 25th Dec 2008 09:52 UTC
Traumflug
Member since:
2008-05-22

Indeed, those improvements are impressive.

The changes I like most are those changes towards cleaner, less fuzzy source code. In many parts the kernel can be considered as feature complete, so the resources used to scrub and/or rewrite earlier doings is well invested. Nobody wants to see the kernel dying a slow Netscape-like death of bloat, after all.

Well done, Linus & friends..

Reply Score: 4

Amazing
by centos_user on Fri 26th Dec 2008 00:36 UTC
centos_user
Member since:
2008-11-16

Linux kernel development is breathtaking at best, the amount of new additions and functionality is simply amazing and in my opinion with the economic downturn I think even more development will continue. Due to the fact software licensing is so expensive, and open source will flourish with new possibilities for companies struggling to keep the doors open and cost cutting in this area rather than laying off workers.

Ext4 from what I read is really neat, also another great advancement is the SSD enhancements. The area of most interest is the SSD arena I have seen offerings from companies offering SAN SSD units, now this will be interesting in how the speed and throughput will increase over time.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Amazing
by sbergman27 on Fri 26th Dec 2008 00:47 UTC in reply to "Amazing"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Linux kernel development is breathtaking at best

The play by play (advertised) details sound amazing. But overall, I still get the same feeling that I get when I see "New and improved!", "33% more!", and "33% less fat! 25% fewer calories!" on the labels at the grocery store. If everything is always so amazingly much better, why are we not all living like kings and queens?

Yeah, I think I see Andrew Morton out there quietly furrowing his brow and wondering about the ignored regressions.

Edited 2008-12-26 01:03 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Amazing
by siride on Fri 26th Dec 2008 04:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Amazing"
siride Member since:
2006-01-02

We do live like kings and queens, compared to the kings and queens of yesteryear. It just happens that the wealthy and powerful are also living relatively better off than before, so it gives us the illusion that we are still living in a craphole, when we are not.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Amazing
by abraxas on Fri 26th Dec 2008 06:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Amazing"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

We do live like kings and queens, compared to the kings and queens of yesteryear.


That depends on what you mean by yesteryear. Real wages are lower in the US today than they were a decade ago. If yesteryear means a thousand years ago then yes, we are living better than kings and queens of yesteryear.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Amazing
by zlynx on Fri 26th Dec 2008 17:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Amazing"
zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

Just look at the dinky little houses entire families lived in during the 1950's. Houses that they could *afford*. My parents managed to pay up-front for their second house in Tucson, AZ (about $10,000 as I recall) and he was in the Air Force and she was a nurse. That was two bedrooms, one bath, no basement and no garage.

Now it seems no one is happy unless they have three bedrooms, two baths, a big kitchen and living room and a two-car garage which runs over $200,000 around here and generally requires about a 20 year mortgage.

I think that if people lived without so much debt, like people did in the 50's, they'd be better off.

As for "real" wages, I don't know your comparison index. If it is television size, then no way, we are much better off today. ;) If it is a food or real estate price index, then "real" wages are always and forever going to go down. More people are competing for land use and the food supply being grown on what land is left for farming.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Amazing
by sbergman27 on Fri 26th Dec 2008 17:43 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Amazing"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I think that if people lived without so much debt, like people did in the 50's, they'd be better off.

I agree. But would like to clarify my original analogy. Despite all the "New and Improved" we see on a daily basis, a jar of mayonnaise still looks like a jar of mayonnaise to me. And the contents taste like... well... mayonnaise. I guess Queen Elizabeth II probably does eat mayonnaise sometimes, though. ;-)

Edited 2008-12-26 17:44 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Amazing
by abraxas on Fri 26th Dec 2008 18:41 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Amazing"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

Now it seems no one is happy unless they have three bedrooms, two baths, a big kitchen and living room and a two-car garage which runs over $200,000 around here and generally requires about a 20 year mortgage.


Where I live you can't buy a $200,000 home that has everything you describe. You would have to pay at least $300,000 for a home like that. This is vastly different from 10 years ago when you could buy a home like you describe for under $200,000. The homes haven't added value in ten years time, rampant inflation causes home value to skyrocket like that. Couple that with people who then re-financed against their newly "higher" priced homes which then crashed in value causing them to owe more on their house than it is now worth you start to see the cracks in the economic foundation.

I think that if people lived without so much debt, like people did in the 50's, they'd be better off.


Unfortunately in a system like ours there has to be debt to create more money. Currency isn't backed by anything material and the only way to create more wealth is to simply make more money in the form of loans. Of course this leads to inflation and when inflation outstrips real earnings (by this I mean the average income adjusted for inflation) increases, or in this case an actual decrease, we are bound to be in for some trouble as the middle class backslides.

If it is a food or real estate price index, then "real" wages are always and forever going to go down. More people are competing for land use and the food supply being grown on what land is left for farming.


This assumes that population will continue to grow. Most first world countries have very slow population growth and some even have declining populations.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Amazing
by halfmanhalfamazing on Sat 27th Dec 2008 10:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Amazing"
halfmanhalfamazing Member since:
2005-07-23

If everything is always so amazingly much better, why are we not all living like kings and queens?


If you're an american or from most european countries you do live like a king/queen from way back in the day. Actually, you live way better than most kings/queens used to.

It's a good thing we have history books to see these things, because for most people "history" starts the day they are born.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Amazing
by lemur2 on Sun 28th Dec 2008 05:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Amazing"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Linux kernel development is breathtaking at best

The play by play (advertised) details sound amazing. But overall, I still get the same feeling that I get when I see "New and improved!", "33% more!", and "33% less fat! 25% fewer calories!" on the labels at the grocery store. If everything is always so amazingly much better, why are we not all living like kings and queens?

Yeah, I think I see Andrew Morton out there quietly furrowing his brow and wondering about the ignored regressions.
"

FOSS development continues apace. It rolls along at a very healthy pace (compared to the competition) despite the intense efforts of those competitors to stop it or even slow it.

Right now what we seem to have coming in FOSS for early next year is beautiful, functional, stable, robust, secure and best-of-class-performing desktop software:

http://openmode.ca/2008/12/why-you-might-be-using-linux-in-2009/

http://nuno-icons.com/images/wall/snapshot3.jpg

Desktop software that will run extremely well on even quite modest hardware specifications.

The challenge is to get people to try it, or perhaps even get them to become aware of it.

Small inroads in this direction are starting to be made.

Edited 2008-12-28 05:56 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Amazing
by diegoviola on Fri 26th Dec 2008 00:56 UTC in reply to "Amazing"
diegoviola Member since:
2006-08-15

Linux kernel development is breathtaking at best, the amount of new additions and functionality is simply amazing and in my opinion with the economic downturn I think even more development will continue. Due to the fact software licensing is so expensive, and open source will flourish with new possibilities for companies struggling to keep the doors open and cost cutting in this area rather than laying off workers.

Ext4 from what I read is really neat, also another great advancement is the SSD enhancements. The area of most interest is the SSD arena I have seen offerings from companies offering SAN SSD units, now this will be interesting in how the speed and throughput will increase over time.


I absolutely agree with you, I can't also wait for BTRFS, it will rock =D

Reply Score: 2