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What's new in Linux 3.2

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After just over two months of development, Linus Torvalds has released version 3.2 of the Linux kernel. With this release, the kernel developers have regained their usual development speed after the intrusion at delayed the completion of Linux 3.1 by a few weeks. As a consequence, the now-released kernel offers more changes than has recently been the norm, because the developers had more time to prepare improvements for inclusion into Linux 3.2.


From Linux 3.2 onwards, the DRM/KMS driver for Intel GPUs will enable the very efficient and Intel-specific RC6 graphics power-saving feature by default (1, 2). That change also enabled the Intel-specific technique on Intel's current "Sandy Bridge" by default; unfortunately, soon after the changes were made further problems were found with the "Sandy Bridge" implementation and the kernel developers have disabled "Sandy Bridge" support by default (1, 2) again. Since RC6 lowers the power consumption of many Sandy Bridge systems with Intel graphics by a few watts, it is especially interesting for notebooks as it can significantly extend the battery life. It can be activated on older kernels with the boot parameter i915.i915_enable_rc6=1, but those versions lack fixes for some problems surrounding the use of RC6, which have been included in Linux 3.2.

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What you need to know After a long delay due to being hacked in August 2011, Linux 3.2 has finally been released. It’s a whopper of a release with optimizations and tweaks in nearly every facet of the OS; here’s the rundown of what’s new inside and why you want to upgrade to it.

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