Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
While you were likely to be opening up Christmas presents, Linus Torvalds was giving Linux users around the world a special present: the release of the next major Linux kernel: Linux 2.6.28.
We had some time to tinker with this latest and greatest Linux, and it's my kind of Christmas present: solid improvements to my favorite operating system. Here are the five features that I think most of us will appreciate the most as we move into the New Year.
The next step up in Linux file systems, has finally arrived. Ext4 improves, well, everything about hard drive storage. It gives you larger file-system and file sizes, faster I/O, better journaling, and it can defragment your drive on the fly.
In particular, its delayed allocation functionality greatly improves hard disk write performance. This won't help your PC hard drive that much, but if you're running a database server, you'll see significant improvements. How fast is 'significant?' In my informal tests with MySQL 5.0, I saw write-speed boosts of approximately 30% on a 400GB database. Try it yourself on your servers, you'll be impressed. In addition, since Ext4 can handle up to 1024 petabytes per volume. I expect Ext4 and Sun's ZFS are going to be fighting it out for top server file-system for the next ten-years.
2) GEM Memory Manager for Graphics