Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Jon Masters talks about features in the 2.6.37 Linux kernel and describes debugging a kernel problem using the Git bisection feature…
We’re now free of the Big Kernel Lock (in many configurations – it’s a config option that will hide other not-yet-compatible options when used) and I have been running systems BKL-free for some time now. Arnd Bergman and others have done an excellent job to rid us of this last vestige of truly ancient non-scalable Linux and unless you need a V4L (Video-4-Linux – TV tuner, webcam etc) device, you can probably run BKL-free today too. It is hoped that V4L will be fixed soon, maybe in time for 2.6.37. You probably won’t notice a huge performance benefit of running without the BKL unless you happen to have something more high end than a desktop, but it’s still pretty cool to know that you could get higher performance if only you could afford to have a system with dozens of CPUs to take advantage of it.
Scalability is great on the high end, but another more impressive feature for those working with more down-to-earth systems is (at last) near-complete support for running as a Xen ‘Dom0’ (or host kernel) under the Xen hypervisor. For years, the support for Xen host kernels lived in patches separate from the mainline kernel and had to be added separately.