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Old 03-17-2011, 12:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Updated Linux Kernel Includes "Deep Changes," Boosts Performance

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Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux, announced the release of the 2.6.38 Linux kernel, which he says includes "deep changes." It's the second major Linux kernel to come out this year, and it comes with a number of improvements that should have a positive impact on performance, making open source operating systems faster than ever before.

In an email announcing the release, Torvalds said of all the changes -- and there are many -- his "personal favorite remains the VFS name look-up changes." VFS refers to the Virtual File System, which has been overhauled to make multi-threaded workloads more scalable, as well as boost performance of single-threaded workloads.

Another major change is the addition of "transparent huge pages" (THP), now used as the default whenever possible. It's a feature that has Red Hat particularly stoked.

"There are many performance enhancements that went into 2.6.38, transparent huge pages is one of those noticeable features," Tim Burke, vice president of Linux Engineering at Red Hat told InternetNews.com. "To give you a better idea of how important Red Hat considers transparent huge pages, Red Had led the initial upstream implementation in the time frame to include in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. We continue to evolve the types of memory use cases to be fully covered by transparent huge pages."

All in all, it's a rather ambitious update, but even so, Tovalds is "hoping this ends up being a fairly calm release."

Image Credit: IEEE Computer Society @ UWM.edu

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