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Linux 5.4 Development, PRs, Merges

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  • BLK-IOCOST Merged For Linux 5.4 To Better Account For Cost Of I/O Workloads

    BLK-IOCOST is a new I/O controller by veteran kernel developer Tejun Heo that is a work-conserving proportional controller. He goes over blk-iocost in great detail in one of the earlier patch series, "It currently has a simple linear cost model builtin where each IO is classified as sequential or random and given a base cost accordingly and additional size-proportional cost is added on top. Each IO is given a cost based on the model and the controller issues IOs for each cgroup according to their hierarchical weight. By default, the controller adapts its overall IO rate so that it doesn't build up buffer bloat in the request_queue layer, which guarantees that the controller doesn't lose significant amount of total work...The controller provides extra QoS control knobs which allow tightening control feedback loop as necessary." See that aforelinked article for more details and results.

  • Btrfs & XFS File-Systems See More Fixes With Linux 5.4

    The mature XFS and Btrfs file-systems continue seeing more fixes and cleaning with the now in-development Linux 5.4 kernel.

    On the Btrfs front the Linux 5.4 changes are summed up as "work on code refactoring, sanity checks and space handling. There are some less user visible changes, nothing that would particularly stand out." The Btrfs changes include deprecating a few items as well as improving the exposure of debugging information via sysfs. See the pull request for all the Btrfs file-system fixes and changes this round.

  • Linux 5.4 DRM Pull Submitted With AMD Navi 12/14, Arcturus & Renoir Plus Intel Tigerlake

    While we've known about the many features for a while if you are a faithful Phoronix reader, today the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) graphics driver changes were sent in for the Linux 5.4 kernel.

EXT4 Brings New Debugging Ioctls For Linux 5.4

  • EXT4 Brings New Debugging Ioctls For Linux 5.4

    Like the mostly mundane Btrfs and XFS changes with the Linux 5.4 merge window, the EXT4 file-system activity is mostly focused on fixes too but also new debugging ioctls.

    One of the interesting changes with Linux 5.4 for EXT4 is the dropping of a workaround for handling pre-1970 dates that were incorrectly encoded on kernels prior to Linux 4.4 for file timestamps. Since then the kernel has correctly generated the pre-1970 dates and e2fsck is also able to fix the issue now for several years, this workaround has now been dropped -- not that you probably have any pre-1970 timestamps for files on your system. For those curious, the encoding bug led to the timestamps as being in the 24th century.

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Compilers Leftovers

  • LLVM "Stack Clash" Compiler Protection Is Under Review

    Two years after the "Stack Clash" vulnerability came to light, the LLVM compiler is working on adding protection against it similar to the GCC compiler mitigation. The Stack Clash vulnerability pertains to clashing/smashing another program's stack while circumventing existing stack protections at the time. Stack Clash opens up the door to memory corruption and arbitrary code execution. Linux x86/x86_64 wasn't the only one affected but also the BSDs and Solaris. Those unfamiliar with it or wanting to refresh your memory of it can do so via this Qualys blog post with the firm having discovered this vulnerability.

  • pocl v1.4 released

    Please note that there's an official pocl maintenance policy in place. This text describes the policy and how you can get your favourite project that uses OpenCL to remain regression free in the future pocl releases.

  • POCL 1.4 Released For Advancing OpenCL On CPUs - Now Supports LLVM 9.0

    Version 1.4 has been released of POCL, the "Portable Computing Language" implementation that allows for a portable OpenCL implementation to be executed on CPUs as well as optionally targeting other accelerators via HSA or even CUDA devices. POCL 1.4 brings support for LLVM Clang 9.0, with that open-source compiler stack doing a lot of POCL's heavy lifting. Support meanwhile for pre-6.0 LLVM releases were removed. POCL 1.4 also adds support for building relocatable POCL binaries and improves SPIR/SPIR-V support for CPU devices.

starship – elegant cross-shell prompt at your fingertips

The Command Line Interface (CLI) is a way of interacting with your computer. And if you ever want to harness all the power of Linux, it’s highly recommended to master it. It’s true the CLI is often perceived as a barrier for users migrating to Linux, particularly if they’re grown up using GUI software exclusively. While Linux rarely forces anyone to use the CLI, some tasks are better suited to this method of interaction, offering inducements like superior scripting opportunities, remote access, and being far more frugal with a computer’s resources. For anyone spending time at the CLI, they’ll rely on the shell prompt. I always seem to gravitate back to Bash even though I’ve used more than a dozen shells over the years. By default, the configuration for Bash on popular distributions identifies the user name, hostname, and the current working directory. I recently reviewed Liquid Prompt, an intelligent and non-intrusive prompt for Bash and zsh. starship is an alternative to Liquid Prompt. The software aims to show information you need while you’re working, yet being unobtrusive as possible. Read more

Tired of Windows and Mac OS? Switch to Elementary OS!

Elementary OS is one of the most beautiful and clean-looking operating systems available for use in computers. It is fast, open and privacy-oriented. Elementary has its characteristic design philosophy and made aesthetic use of colours. Over the years, this free-to-use operating system has collected heavy praise by reviewers around the world – making it a strong replacement option for both Windows and Mac users. The initial development of ElementaryOS started with building themes and applications for Ubuntu, which later inspired the developers to transform it into a full-fledged Linux distribution. The first release of the operating system was on 31 March 2011, and so far, it has been through continuous bugfix and major feature updates. The Elementary OS took shape with the concept of making Linux easier for non-technical users. Instead of terminal-based codes, elementary provides a graphical user interface and settings menus to allow users to perform almost all day-to-day tasks without writing any code. Read more