Linus Torvalds Announces Linux Kernel 3.10

Jul 02, 2013

Fewer ticks and bigger ARM support highlight the latest kernel.

Linux Torvalds has announced the release of Linux Kernel 3.10.

According to Linus, "In the bigger picture, this release has been pretty typical and not particularly prone to problems...As usual, the bulk patch-wise is all drivers (pretty much exactly two thirds), while the rest is evenly split between arch updates and 'misc.' No major new systems this time around, although there are individual new features."

Despite the modesty of this assessment, the new release does include some significant changes.

The new kernel has made some strides in reducing superfluous timer ticks on multicore systems. The scheduler interrupts only once per second instead of the sequence up to 1000 times. This change helps real-time systems a lot, but it also helps desktops and mobile systems as well. In addition to the performance benefit of eliminating unnecessary cycles, reducing the timer ticks conserves power and improves the time between battery charges for a laptop or mobile device.

The block layer cache (bcache) feature lets a disk (such as an SSD drive) act as a cache for another disk. Improvements to the Btrfs filesystem support more compact structures, which, according to the developers, can save up to 35 percent of the disk space.

The new release also rolls out some advances for ARM processors, including support for the ARM big.LITTLE architecture. Gamers will notice updates to the Nouveau driver for NVIDIA GPUs, as well as code from Intel to support GPU overclocking.

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