Linux 3.7 arrives, ARM developers rejoice

Linux 3.7 arrives, ARM developers rejoice

Summary: The latest major Linux kernel release is here and it includes features that ARM developers and network administrators will love

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The latest Linux, 3.7, comes with real improvements for ARM developers and network administrators.

Only months after the arrival of Linux 3.6, Linus Torvalds has released the next major Linux kernel update: 3.7. The time between releases wasn't long, but this new version includes major improvements for ARM developers and network administrators. The 3.7 source code is now available for downloading.

Programmers for ARM, the popular smartphone and tablet chip family, will be especially pleased with this release. ARM had been a problem child architecture for Linux. As Torvalds said in 2011, "Gaah. Guys, this whole ARM thing is a f**king pain in the ass." Torvalds continued, "You need to stop stepping on each others toes. There is no way that your changes to those crazy clock-data files should constantly result in those annoying conflicts, just because different people in different ARM trees do some masturbatory renaming of some random device. Seriously."

ARM got the message. Thanks to Olof Johansson, a Google Linux and ARM engineer, unified multi-platform ARM was ready to be included in Linux 3.7.

ARM's problem was that, unlike the x86 architecture, where one Linux kernel could run on almost any PC or server, almost every ARM system required its own customized Linux kernel. Now with 3.7, ARM architectures can use one single vanilla Linux kernel while keeping their special device sauce in device trees.

The end result is that ARM developers will be able to boot and run Linux on their devices and then worry about getting all the extras to work. This will save them, and the Linux kernel developers, a great deal of time and trouble.

Just as good for those ARM architects and programmers who are working on high-end, 64-bit ARM systems, Linux now supports 64-bit ARM processors. 64-bit ARM CPUs won't ship until in commercial quantities until 2013. When they do arrive though programmers eager to try 64-bit ARM processors on servers will have Linux ready for them.

Website and network administrators will also be happy with Linux 3.7. TCP Fast Open will now be supported on servers By eliminating a step in opening Internet TCP connections, TCP Fast Open can speed up Web page opening speeds from 10 to 40%.

Network managers who have Windows PCs on their networks will also be glad to know that Linux now supports Server Messenge Block (SMB2) protocol.. Microsoft introduced this file-sharing protocol in 2007 in Vista. While its predcessor, SMB, is still supported on Windows, SMB2 support will enable Linux file servers, and the many Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices that use Linux for their operating system, to deliver files faster to Windows PCs.

For those who are still using Network File System (NFS) to share files on their networks at long, long last Linux 3.7 now fully supports NFS 4.1. The main advantage of this is that it also means you can parallel NFS (pNFS). PNFS enables you to use clustered servers to provide extremely fast and scalable parallel file access.

If you want to know more about what's new and significant in Linux 3.7, check into th Kernel Newbies Linux 3.7 Website. The bottom line though is that if you're working with ARM or you're running a network, you're going to want Linux 3.7 in your Linux distribution as fast as possible. For you, Linux 3.7 is a game-changing release.

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Topics: Linux, Networking, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software Development, ARM

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29 comments
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  • Interesting...

    This could be the end of hardware fragmentation in Android and create an Ecosystem where all pieces of software are just compatible at a core level.
    slickjim
    • Might take a bit

      if ICS android phones are still using the 3.0 kernel.
      LarsDennert
      • Maybe but...

        Maybe but, devices running the next version of the OS could be 100% compatible regardless of chipsets and GPU.
        slickjim
        • It'll take time

          Any phone slated for introduction in the next six to twelve months already has the OS identified, and the feature set identified. The lead time on a project such as delivering a phone says that the new kernal will be adopted slowly. Also, most major vendors already have a costomized Android that they are familiar with. The new kernal requires extensive testing before introducing commercially.

          12 to 24 months and you may see some inroads.
          Cynical99
    • Let's hope

      I really hope this can stop fragmentation
      pratnala
      • well

        Software fragmentation is just a BS apple fanboy claim... GPU compatibility issues on the other hand are very real.
        slickjim
  • Strange Choice of Words

    Did Linus Torvalds really just use the word 'masturbatory' to describe the situation?
    rlopinto
    • Yes, yes he did...

      ..and apparently, that's Linus using his diplomatic voice.. :)
      daftkey
    • Apparently he did...

      But I honestly can't fault him for saying so because that's what it seems like they are doing: "Let's change something and make it different simply for the sake of not being like the other guys', whether or not it's a good thing" seems to be prevalent in the industry.
      On the other hand, with the patent and copyright trolls prowling like a super-school of great whites, I guess I can't really blame them.
      Zorched
  • Very interesting indeed....

    It's like watching the kid going to mid-school for the first time, time just flew it almost makes me feel nostalgic. I'm eager to tryi it out. BTW, when you have a word that delivers so much meaning I think it's classy to use it, although I can see it may be shocking to some. Linus has earned the right to cut to the chase in whichever way he thinks it'll make sense.
    MrGrave
  • That was quick

    "Website and network administrators will also be happy with Linux 3.7. TCP Fast Open will now be supported on servers By eliminating a step in opening Internet TCP connections, TCP Fast Open can speed up Web page opening speeds from 10 to 40%."

    Awsome!
    coastin
  • And now that Samba has released 4.0

    Linux ARM can participate in AD...

    Unlike MS Window RT...
    jessepollard
  • Great news

    Been bitten by the ARM clock issues and sierra wireless 3G cards in the past. Now to find the time to give it a run:-)
    Richard Flude
  • uhhh....

    3.7 is a development release isn't it.. may have loads of issues. The odd numbers are that way and always come quickly after the main stable release even number versions. You may not want to jump into 3.7 too quickly... especially on mission critical items.
    doh123
    • Not any more

      Odd numbers haven't denoted unstable branches for some time (around 2.6)
      Richard Flude
    • Kernel release numbering.

      It "may" be kept as a development release, but the release numbering now is x.x denotes Linus release, x.x.yy denotes stable updates. So 3.7.0 is the initial release, and if there are stable/security patches, they will show up in 3.7.xx. A lot also depends on the distributions syncing with the main kernel devs on what kernel they will freeze a release on. For example, Ubuntu & Fedora "may" hold off until 3.8 (but I doubt it, given the freeze schedules).
      GrueMaster
  • Note The Difference Between Linux And Windows RT

    Windows "Reduced Technology" can only run on ARM devices specifically designed for it, while Linux will run on just about any ARM device.

    You can see why makers of ARM-based devices prefer to use a Linux kernel: it's just so much less of a headache.
    ldo17
    • "makers of ARM-based devices prefer to use a Linux kernel

      Actually, makers of ARM-based devices prefer to use whichever OS makes them the most money. Think Apple's iOS. Money is a pretty good cure for most headaches. In addition, perhaps any associated improved manufacturing efficiencies will offset some of the Microsoft "tax" on Android-based devices. If this puts more money into Android device mfrs hands, then that's a good thing.

      That said, this should also be good for embedded Android and after-market Android distros such as CyanogenMod, TeamDRH and Team Baked.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Linux The Future of Computing

    Anyone wanting to market computing needs to put Linux at their top place as it is the future.
    e8hffff
    • Linux The Future of Computing

      Spot on comment! e8hffff

      The good news is that Linux owns the server market.
      Linux owns the phone market
      Free BSD ios owns the tablet market.

      MicroKlunk owns the virus trap TAX desktop & Laptop market & damned near ZERO percent of the mobile market!

      Linux & Free BSD rules!
      ITJohnguru