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Software Operating Systems Linux

Linux 2.6.27 Out 452

Posted by timothy
from the not-all-fancy-like-gnu dept.
diegocgteleline.es writes "Linux 2.6.27 has been released. It adds a new filesystem (UBIFS) for 'pure' flash-based storage, the page-cache is now lockless, much improved Direct I/O scalability and performance, delayed allocation support for ext4, multiqueue networking, data integrity support in the block layer, a function tracer, a mmio tracer, sysprof support, improved webcam support, support for the Intel wifi 5000 series and RTL8187B network cards, a new ath9k driver for the Atheros AR5008 and AR9001 chipsets, more new drivers, and many other improvements and fixes. Full list of changes can be found here."
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Linux 2.6.27 Out

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  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday October 09, 2008 @11:59PM (#25324063) Homepage Journal

    Linux 2.6.27 is out, OpenBSD 4.4 is in!
  • by gringer (252588) on Friday October 10, 2008 @12:04AM (#25324107)

    It's a shame this won't be in the upcoming Lenny release of Debian. The in-kernel support for heaps of webcams via gspca is a very nice user-visible element of this release.

    http://release.debian.org/emails/release-update-200808 [debian.org]

    Although, I guess they made the decision for 2.6.26 before they realised that a September release would be an impossible target.

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday October 10, 2008 @12:06AM (#25324121) Homepage Journal

    In only 3 months, all of this code has been completed and reviewed by multiple developers. This happens *every* three months. The pace at which the Linux kernel is moving and yet still maintaining quality is incredible. It is clearly the case that the Linux kernel has hit a new kind of critical mass and is now a form of software development that has never been seen before. The sheer number of people involved changes what is possible. If you suggested that every single change to the codebase be reviewed by multiple developers in a traditional proprietary software development house you would be, rightly, laughed at. There simply isn't the resources.

    • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Friday October 10, 2008 @12:29AM (#25324223) Homepage

      If you suggested that every single change to the codebase be reviewed by multiple developers in a traditional proprietary software development house you would be, rightly, laughed at. There simply isn't the resources.

      Where I work, it's called "pair programming".

      (If two programmers is enough to count as "multiple". Also, bug fixes are supposed to get an additional diff check.)

      If you do it right, you not only save time by not-writing bugs you don't have to fix later, but you can also avoid wasting all sorts of time (writing the feature wrong, going down paths that could lead to disaster, or spinning your wheels and banging your head when you can't figure out something stupid like feeding rrdtool deltas when it expects raw counters...), and you can bring new developers up to speed on a code base very very quickly.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lysergic.acid (845423)

        that's a pretty interesting development technique. i'd never heard of it so i had to look it up [wikipedia.org] on wikipedia.

        at first i'd assumed this was simply assigning a two person team for each development task, but turns out it's a much more involved methodology involving close cooperation and meticulous division of labor, with all duties being split between two separate roles of the driver and the observer/navigator.

        the driver is the person coding, and the observer/navigator is responsible for reviewing the driver's

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I've been pair programming for a while now and I whole heartedly agree that it does work very well. It could be boring if you were always the observer, but the idea is that you mix it up a bit. You don't spend a long time as observer in one stretch. You should spend about 50% of your time as the observer but perhaps in hour long periods. Additionally, it brings a level of social interaction to programming. You're working with colleague and are constantly bouncing ideas off each other which certainly overr
      • But you can only waste time on Slashdot if you *both* agree to cover for each other. This is an unacceptable solution.

    • by cryptoluddite (658517) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:14AM (#25324443)

      In only 3 months, all of this code has been completed and reviewed by multiple developers. This happens *every* three months. ... It is clearly the case that the Linux kernel has hit a new kind of critical mass and is now a form of software development that has never been seen before.

      Intel HDA audio still has static noise in the left channel since at least 2.6.20 kernel (probably before). This is a known problem and the solution is 'try random settings of some undocumented (outside the kernel source code) module parameters and hope it maybe works'.

      This is on Dell hardware. model=dell3stack, position_fix=1(?). This hardware works perfectly under Windows, with no tweaking whatsoever. It worked under older linux kernels, which means they probably broke something.

      The linux kernel is good, but just having a bunch of people look at the code means nothing unless they are actually finding and fixing problems people care about.

      • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:18AM (#25324467) Homepage Journal

        Do you have this hardware? Any chance you could narrow down the versions it works on and the versions it doesn't?

        This is a general problem with kernel development.. if you don't have the hardware, it's a bitch to test. Please do contribute your findings.

        • by cryptoluddite (658517) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:40AM (#25324603)

          Do you have this hardware? Any chance you could narrow down the versions it works on and the versions it doesn't?

          Same hardware as this guy:
          https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/266927 [launchpad.net]

          System is at work... I would test except there are not any easy options for doing so there. Also, I realize that you can't be expected to fix hardware problems where you don't have the hardware... in fact I've personally seen code fail on one system and run perfectly on the exact same spec hardware sitting right next to it, with exactly the same software (ghosted).

          Mostly I'm just pointing out that there are longstanding problems in linux... the original fanboy post was way over the top.

          • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Friday October 10, 2008 @04:45AM (#25325405)

            Did you bother reading the bug report:

            ...it seems linked to the HDA Intel chipset, although I do not have this problem in Fedora or PCLinuxOS."

            Its a ubuntu problem not a kernel problem, i would have guessed it was pulseaudio/alsa problem and not a kernel based problem too.

          • by paulbd (118132) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:39AM (#25325657) Homepage
            There are also longstanding issues with Intel HDA hardware ... this supposed "standard" isn't really a standard at all. It has huge amounts of slop for mobo makers to futz around with the pinouts, and indeed, there are at least as many variants on HDA h/w as seen by the kernel as there are major laptop models. The windows drivers work because of collaboration with mobo makers who provide the info about how they specifically wired up the pinouts. The linux ones are a case of trial-and-error. There are thousands (or even millions) of Intel HDA users on linux who do not have your problem, another whole set who do, and and even bigger set who have different problems with this godforsaken "standard" h/w.
    • by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Friday October 10, 2008 @03:54AM (#25325229)

      If you suggested that every single change to the codebase be reviewed by multiple developers in a traditional proprietary software development house you would be, rightly, laughed at.

      When I was at Microsoft, that's exactly how it worked. All code had to be reviewed and approved by the feature owner and the PM. There was also a team that reviewed any changes to the common libraries, in addition to the PM.

      In addition, to actually get code checked in, it had to pass FxCop (code standards verification tool), not break the build, and not break any of the build verification tests (BVTs).

      Mind you, I worked in the test team. Developers have to go through all of the same steps, and then their code also gets tested by the test team.

      • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday October 10, 2008 @04:19AM (#25325317) Homepage Journal

        When I worked at VMware we had to get code reviews for every checkin. Code reviews are literally the only thing that has been shown to consistently improve quality. Of course, it's not just code reviews.. it's also attitude. If you're accepting of stuff being broken because it is "in development" then that's what you'll get. On the other hand, if you have a tight knit small team working on the same stuff then you can get similar quality by just maintaining pace and having lots of communication through the code.. but that doesn't scale.. this does.

  • AR5008 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by log0n (18224) on Friday October 10, 2008 @12:07AM (#25324123)

    Excellent! Macbook & Pro users can finally have wifi support.

  • by reaktor (949798) on Friday October 10, 2008 @12:08AM (#25324129)
    W00t lots of goodies in this one. So... about time to change from the 2.6.infinity_and_beyond scheme to something else. What say you? I think the 2.6.x should have been left behind when the scheduler changed.
  • 'pure' flash devices (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chris Pimlott (16212) on Friday October 10, 2008 @12:17AM (#25324177)

    Before you get all excited about running UBIFS on your USB drive, take note: UBI is not for consumer flash media [infradead.org]. These devices already incorporate hardware to hide their flash nature so they look like a plain old block device to your OS. UBI is for pure flash devices that directly expose the quirks and distinct characteristics of the underlying media.

    So what kind of flash hardware is this for? Embedded devices, apparently. But maybe as flash storage becomes more common, more devices will support raw access?

    • by moosesocks (264553) on Friday October 10, 2008 @12:33AM (#25324247) Homepage

      So what kind of flash hardware is this for? Embedded devices, apparently. But maybe as flash storage becomes more common, more devices will support raw access?

      Olympus' xD card format essentially specifies a direct connection between the NAND flash chips and its external interface.

      It's weird and proprietary, yes. However, it's already being done, and there are arguments to be had for minimizing the amount of circuitry on the memory card itself. Interacting directly with Flash isn't as uncommon as you might think it, and can be of huge benefits for portable/embedded devices that require low power consumption.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bendodge (998616)

      How about SD cards? They appear to be rather low on circuitry.

      • by david.given (6740) <dg AT cowlark DOT com> on Friday October 10, 2008 @06:40AM (#25325915) Homepage Journal

        How about SD cards? They appear to be rather low on circuitry.

        No, SD cards still have an on-board microcontroller. If you take the lid off, there are usually two chips in there: one's the flash itself, the other's the microcontroller.

        (SD cards are awesome if you're a homebrewer. They speak a high-level protocol over a very simple four-wire serial interface. It clocks down far enough that it's possible to hook one up to, say, a C64 or Spectrum by just connecting it to some spare I/O pins and wiggling them manually. You can then read and write 512 byte sectors by sending the appropriate command, and you don't have to worry about any of that horrible flash stuff.)

    • by schwaang (667808) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:01AM (#25324385)

      It seems quite likely that OLPC will largely replace jffs2 with UBI [gmane.org] for the internal nand on the XO. Good news. Maybe this will apply to the Asus eee as and other solid-state drives as well.

    • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:03AM (#25324397)

      Yeah, embedded devices definitely. It'll be awfully nice to see simple flash chips soldered onto a board rather than someone bolting an SD or compact flash socket onto them just so you can have a boot device.

      Fragile, more expensive, and adds another physical item that can break. And not only that, but you can drop about 20-30 dollars worth of non-essential hardware from your design and still be on target. If you do any embedded work you know how big 20 dollars worth of hardware savings is. This new driver is *huge*.

  • ACPI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Detritus (11846) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:04AM (#25324401) Homepage
    Any chance that this will fix some of the ACPI problems with Linux? I recently had a terrible time trying to install Linux on a new Intel motherboard, mostly related to ACPI problems. I'm not blaming any of the Linux developers for this mess. I get the impression that ACPI is a disaster area and even Intel is unable to get it right on their own boards.
    • Re:ACPI (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:30AM (#25324539)

      > Any chance that this will fix some of the ACPI problems with Linux?

      Just to be clear, ACPI problems are motherboard problems, not Linux problems.

      If the ACPI function of your motherboard is correct and compliant with the ACPI specification, Linux will work just fine.

      Part of the motherboard ACPI problem is that Windows expects, and uses, some functions within ACPI that are not compliant with the ACPI specification ... you know the drill: embrace, extend, obscure, try to screw the opposition ...

      Fortunately with ACPI we have not quite yet got to the "extinguish" phase.

      • Re:ACPI (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Friday October 10, 2008 @08:33AM (#25326417)

        Part of the motherboard ACPI problem is that Windows expects, and uses, some functions within ACPI that are not compliant with the ACPI specification ... you know the drill: embrace, extend, obscure, try to screw the opposition

        Yet Windows works around more 'crap' ACPI implementations than it 'takes advantage of' non-compliant specifications.

        This is really a goofy argument, as there is very little mainboard ACPI implementations that are Windows specific, let alone off spec to be Windows specific.

        Instead you find crap Motherboards that still have exceptions for OS/2 RAM usage, non-Windows features like VGA palette crawling, cobbled Sx states, and horrid USB support for 'legacy' OS methods that Windows hasn't used in 10 years. (Yes we know these are not all ACPI specific)

        I'm sure it is fun to blame windows for ACPI sucking and Linux's support of ACPI sucking.

        The bottom line is, ACPI tends to suck, and Linux doesn't have the development resources to make it work in all circumstances, even though it does a pretty good job. Apple has trouble with their hardware, yet have few model, moved to EFI and still have some of the same inconsistent behavior Linux and Windows users encounter or messed up combinations of hardware.

        As for ACPI, MS tried to push the industry on ACPI and move past it back in the 90s, and it was hobbists that were using non-Windows OSes like Linux that screamed and stopped EFI type suggestions from taking hold. MS shoved for legacy free BIOS concepts, and there is some hardware even out there that used a generic proprietary EFI type of legacy free BIOS system, go look at Toshiba laptops from 2002 that required OS level drivers, as there was no traditional BIOS. They also didn't have legacy ISA or older device support and could boot WindowsXP in less than 10secs on some machines, and return from a full hibernate in under 2 secs because of no BIOS time delay.

        Just to blow your argument to the side, crap like this link would not exist if Windows did have more control over ACPI compliance as you suggest. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/831691 [microsoft.com]

        Specifications and variations in the specification is an area that 'logic' would dictate that the OSS model would be supreme; however, in reality, the complexity and diversity of the implementations favors larger production OSes like Windows where exceptions have to be implemented, and a large vendor like Microsoft can force Motherboard companies to clean up their crappy implementations or work around them, as Windows often does.

        One of the biggest bitches users had with Vista and hibernation and Standby were because of Vista adhereing to the specifications and trying to force vendors to do the same, so that S1,S2,S3 etc were consistent. Instead MS had to write a bunch of 'exception' code for motherboards and even up until SP1 was still adding code to deal with crappy motherboard implementations to get the hibernation and standby back in line so that hybrid sleep could work consistently.

        Microsoft doesn't have control over the hardware markets like people assume they do, and never really have. If they did, they would not have had to resort to proprietary hardware for the XBox 360, as some of the hardware specifications in the console are things MS shoved for in the PC market years before. Just an example would be unified shaders, and this didn't finally get shoved to PC users until Vista's DX10 required them, even though the benefits of a more agnostic GPU shader system was known years and years ago.

  • by pembo13 (770295) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:22AM (#25324489) Homepage
    I was kinda expecting to see news about ath9k and AR5007 found in some HP notebooks, among others. Currently using a very flaky ath_pci module.
  • Thank you Linus. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chris_sawtell (10326) on Friday October 10, 2008 @02:25AM (#25324825) Journal

    Have a relaxing week-end with your wife and children.

  • by mrpacmanjel (38218) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:03AM (#25325491)

    First I would just like to say thank-you to everybody that develops the Linux kernel, without it I would have been stuck with the "other" OS that everybody loves to hate!

    Linux (through various distros) has been my OS of choice for about 9 years now, has enriched my IT life and quite frankly made IT actually interesting again.

    But one thing has been bothering me!

    I recently upgraded my OS to Ubuntu 8.04 then hit a problem - my wifi network connection became unusable (very weak signal and slooowwww internet access). I tried pretty much most fixes but it still wasn't working right (slightly better wifi signal but then would randomally stop altogether). If I booted into my "production" partition (Ubuntu 7.10) everything was fine and the "balance of the force" was restored. I had a spare partition on the hard drive and installed Fedora 9(? It may have been 10 - can't remember). This also exhibited "dodgy wifi behaviour". Of course, it was a kernel(2.6.22) driver problem and I need to find the time to download the latest drivers and compile. Thankfully I can do this but it still irritating!
    I have gone back to Ubuntu 7.10 (kernel 2.6.14?) and it's been fine since.

    My wifi hardware is based on the rt2500 chipset series and is quite common on most laptops and until recently were reliable. As far as I remember the drivers were being rewritten for the kernel - which is fine but if it breaks hardware (which until that time had been reliable)
    then people should have been made aware of this or even work with the distos for a interm fix.

    At least include the compiled legacy drivers with the distro and not force people to download them from the internet and recompile.

    • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Friday October 10, 2008 @06:36AM (#25325895)

      My wifi hardware is based on the rt2500 chipset series and is quite common on most laptops and until recently were reliable. As far as I remember the drivers were being rewritten for the kernel - which is fine but if it breaks hardware (which until that time had been reliable)
      then people should have been made aware of this or even work with the distos for a interm fix.

      Try out one of the wireless driver packages from http://linuxwireless.org/ [linuxwireless.org] (for hardy http://wireless.kernel.org/download/compat-wireless-2.6/compat-wireless-old.tar.bz2 [kernel.org] ).

      You will need to install your kernel source headers and the build environment

      sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic build-essential build-common

      Then it's simply,

      tar jxvf compat-wireless-old.tar.bz2
      cd compat-wireless-old
      make
      sudo make install
      sudo make unload
      sudo make load

      This will install the latest wireless drivers for your system and will not conflict with your distribution's package manager, should you want to remove the install and restore your previous drivers:

      Make sure you are in the directory where the wireless driver installer is.

      sudo make unload
      sudo make uninstall
      sudo make load

      (It would probably be a good idea to reboot after that).

      Normally I would never, ever recommend people compile stuff on Linux, however, in your case, it seems this would be the only way to get good support and this is really a last resort (a resort that you couldn't do under Windows if you ran into this problem).

  • Stability version? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Friday October 10, 2008 @09:27AM (#25326901) Homepage

    When is the next stability-focused version (like 2.6.16) due out?

  • by vidarlo (134906) <vidarlo.bitsex@net> on Friday October 10, 2008 @11:30AM (#25328235) Homepage

    This [lwn.net] bug could've been a showstopper. It essentially ruined your intel e1000e ethernet card, by overwriting the firmware. They've not patched it, according to LWN:

    It is worth noting that, as of this writing, 2.6.27 does not contain a fix for the e1000e hardware corruption bug. What it does contain, though, is a series of patches which will prevent that bug from actually damaging the hardware. That makes the kernel safer to run, which is an important step in the right direction.

    What does that mean? Obviously, it should not ruin your ethernet card anymore, but will e1000e work very well with this kernel? Or what?

    Since this is a pretty high-profile bug it's strange it ain't mentioned in the summary. E1000e is a very popular gigabit ethernet chip from Intel, and actual hardware corruption is serious and (luckily) rare.

    • by spitzak (4019) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:04PM (#25329447) Homepage

      Nobody has figured out the bug. The patch is so that the bug (whatever it is) cannot destroy the card. It does this by setting the hardware so it ignores any attempt to overwrite it.

      This should be pretty obvious from the comment you quoted.

      As far as I can tell, the hardware "works". If that card did not work then probably people would not notice this bug, because they would not see the hardware fail! In fact it is strongly suspected the bug is not in the driver but in some other part of Linux.

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