Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

Summary: Linus Torvalds has released Linux 3.0 and he wants you to know that there has been no big changes. There have, however, been several small, but significant, improvements.

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Linux 3.0 is out and the big changes are... ah... well. Not much.

Linus Torvalds, its creator and lead developer had warned us that this would be the case: "So what are the big changes?"

"NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. Sure, we have the usual two thirds driver changes, and a lot of random fixes, but the point is that 3.0 is *just* about renumbering, we are very much *not* doing a KDE-4 or a Gnome-3 here. No breakage, no special scary new features, nothing at all like that. We've been doing time-based releases for many years now; this is in no way about features. If you want an excuse for the renumbering, you really should look at the time-based one ("20 years") instead. So no ABI [application binary interface] changes, no API [application programming interface] changes, no magical new features - just steady plodding progress."

In case you didn't get the message first time, when Torvalds finally released Linux 3.0 on July 22nd, he wrote, "As already mentioned several times, there are no special landmark features or incompatibilities related to the version number change, it's simply a way to drop an inconvenient numbering system in honor of twenty years of Linux. In fact, the 3.0 merge window was calmer than most, and apart from some excitement from RCU [Ready, Copy, Update] I'd have called it really smooth. Which is not to say that there may not be bugs, but if anything, there are hopefully fewer than usual, rather than the normal '.0' problems."

OK, but surely some things were changed right? Well, yes, there were. The not so big, but significant changes were, in no particular order:

The Xen hypervisor now can run natively with Dom0 (Domain 0) privileges. This gives it, like Linux's Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), the ability to work at the lowest possible level of the Linux kernel. In practical terms this means Xen virtual machines should run faster.

There have also been improvements with how the kernel works with the still experimental Btrfs (B-tree file system) and the now standard ext4 file system. This, in turn, should lead to faster and, in the case of Btrfs, more reliable, file systems.

The Linux 3.0 kernel also improves its interoperability with UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), a replacement for PC's BIOS. While UEFI has been slow to catch on, it's beginning to be picked up by major PC and server companies like HP. Since UEFI lends itself well for business desktop and server deployments, you can expect to see more and more UEFI computers entering the market in the next year or two.

3.0 is also bringing in a new implementation of the Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) The net effect of this improvement will be speed up any application that calls on network services. While this won't matter that much if you're just trying to get the most from your Web browser, it can save significant time for Web servers and other network service software.

So, all-in-all, there is good stuff here. Radical? No. Revolutionary? I don't think so! But, still good, solid improvements. I don't know about you, but that works just fine for me.

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Topics: Software, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems

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  • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

    Great Job Linus

    Hooah!
    daikon
  • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

    Gentleman, start your compilers! That's right, you get to spend all day checking and unchecking options in the kernel, bringing up that terminal window, using complicated series of commands to start your gcc with multiple flags on it so you can compile this and wait several hours. I don't know about you but I've got better things to do with my time than having to constantly compile and update a linux box. I choose an option that doesn't require such hassles.
    LoverockDavidson
    • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

      @LoverockDavidson You either used Gentoo, which does actually require compiling (it's pretty much the only Linux distro that does), and/or you hardened Linux by applying grsecurity (or similar) patches to the Linux kernel. The vast majority of Linux users, unless they're Gentoo users, Linux sysadmins applying grsecurity (or other) patches to the kernel or developers, don't do any compiling.

      As far as the CLI goes on Linux, it's actually quite handy. As is cmd.exe on Windows.

      And updating Linux is generally easier than updating Windows because, for most users, the package manager takes care of all the software on one's system. While Microsoft update does cover more applications than Windows Update, most users (especially consumers, SOHOs and small businesses) are left to their own devices for updating 3rd party software.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

        @Rabid Howler Monkey
        Loverock is using his same old tired comments to get a rise out of someone. He knows that Linux is very easy to use.
        daikon
      • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

        @Rabid Howler Monkey
        What does Windows have to do with this? Updating linux is not easy. It prompts you daily for an update. That says a lot about the OS when daily updates are required.
        LoverockDavidson
      • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

        @Rabid Howler Monkey New to zdnet? Do you not know about the LD troll?
        xeptf4
      • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

        @Rabid Howler Monkey

        SOHO and small businesses...? What about Enterprise and government...and education...and all the chickens down at the boneless chicken ranch?

        Rubbish.

        Users with Windows who use software that they purchased will also get easy updates (almost always!) because the app will offer to check for updates.

        Nice of you to leave that [not so little] fact out of your comments.
        Raid6
      • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

        @Raid6 Enterprises, including governments, have sysadmins that take care of updating for their users. And the users are rarely even aware of it as the process is usually automated and applied after they leave the workplace on evenings and weekends.<br><br>While one or two dozen 3rd party apps checking independently for updates is better than not, it is still much more clumsy, time consuming and disruptive than a package manager, especially if one is running Windows XP in their limited user account. Not to mention those 3rd party apps that aren't configured to check for updates and neither have an option setting nor menu item that one can select to check for updates. In this case, one must visit the developer's site on the web and check for, download and install an updated version. This process is much more efficient than a package manager too (not!).
        Rabid Howler Monkey
      • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

        @Rabid Howler Monkey

        Please don't feed the troll.




        :)
        none none
    • An obvious solution to your problems

      @LoverockDavidson

      Copious amounts of bad beer, forced down until you decide that the beer is good beer. Repeat frequently. Then after a while, seek out an Australian and ask him/her/it/other the meaning of life.
      ego.sum.stig
      • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

        @ego.sum.stig@...

        Aussie here, Meaning of life is 42
        Nchalada
      • @Nchalada .. nah, that would be

        @ego.sum.stig@... 6 x 7 .. or 14 x 3 .. or 84 / 2 ...<br><br><i>The Meaning of Life</i> is a Monty Python movie.<br><br>... now if the question was <i>"... What's the meaning of life, the Universe and everything? "</i> ... than the answer would obviously be ...<br><br>42<br><br><i>" .. First, it is slightly cheaper; and second, it has the words DONT PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover. "<i><br><br><img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/wink.gif" alt="wink"></i></i>
        thx-1138_
    • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

      @LoverockDavidson Yes, apparently you enjoy spending your time showing the world your ignorance.
      anothercanuck
    • Still living in your parents basement?

      @LoverockDavidson Kernel compilation takes less than an hour, most people don't build their own kernels and software anyways. Perhaps you should get out of the basement and fine someone of the opposite (or same) sex and have your first intimate relationship rather than posting on ZDNets Linux blogs. Perhaps getting some natural light on that pasty skin...
      B.O.F.H.
      • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

        @B.O.F.H.
        He can't go outside in the daytime.
        He always leaves his telnet port open, so he is likely to be apprehended for obscenity if he ventures outside in daylight.
        It is just a condition he has.
        Please do not be to hard on him.
        hkommedal
    • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

      @LoverockDavidson
      That gives you the flexibility to run the OS on equipment that windows can't hope to. If you use a Linux distribution on a PC, of course none of that is necessary unless you want to. The kernel for my ARM board compiles on a fast PC in under 2 minutes and a full compile is only necessary once.
      deathjazz
    • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

      @LoverockDavidson

      Sounds like someone is jealous that windows doesn't give you the option to compile your own kernel.
      guzz46
      • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

        @guzz46 Unless you happen to be the Chinese or Russian government as Microsoft has provided them both with the Windows source code.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
      • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

        @guzz46
        Loverock is jealous that Linux continues to improve the computer experience.
        daikon
    • RE: Don't Panic! It's only Linux 3.0

      @LoverockDavidson : my god.. are you never going to mature (that means grow up)?
      You are so tedious with your polluting of ZDnet with really bad repetitive troll posts. You are a big YAWN
      deaf_e_kate