Torvalds releases Linux 2.6.25

Torvalds releases Linux 2.6.25

Summary: The Linux creator has released the latest version of the kernel, which includes changes to Wi-Fi support, virtualization, real-time scheduling and file systems

Linus Torvalds released the latest version of the "stable" Linux kernel, version 2.6.25, which includes changes to Wi-Fi support, virtualization, real-time scheduling and file systems.

The kernel, which was released last Wednesday, approximately 10 weeks after its predecessor, includes broader Wi-Fi hardware support and the integration of more Wi-Fi drivers, according to Linux developers. Among the drivers integrated is Ath5k, which is compatible with chips by semiconductor system Wi-Fi developer Atheros.

On the virtualization front, the KVM x86 emulator has been updated with more instructions and components, designed to improve performance and compatibility. Virtual prototyping platforms framework Virtio has also been updated, while paravirt_ops now works on the x86-64 architecture.

Performance improvements were made to the Completely Fair Scheduler (CFS) real-time technology, which gets its first support for LatencyTop, a tool for helping track down latency problems.

The Ext4 file system also saw changes, and now uses checksums to ensure journal integrity. Ext4 is a journaling file system--a file system type becoming popular because of its resistance to corruption in the event of a system crash or power failure.

The kernel includes the Smack (Simplified Mandatory Access Control Kernel) security framework, which is based on a set of mandatory access control rules and is designed for simplicity. Developer improvements to Linux have been showing up as significant reliability gains in the enterprise over the past two years according to a recent Yankee Group survey, which found Linux distributions from Red Hat and Novell have increased reliability by an average of 75 percent since 2006.

However, Linux 2.6.25 implements a policy that could cause problems for some administrators: forbidding proprietary USB drivers access to certain core functionality. Developers warned two years ago this change was coming, but many USB drivers nevertheless remain proprietary. The 2.6.25 kernel includes changes that could cause problems for proprietary USB drivers that take the form of kernel modules.

Such drivers can no longer be compiled with unmodified Linux 2.6.25, due to the fact that the license of an important API is only compatible with drivers that carry a GPLv2 or compatible license.

Developers included this feature for a time in the development of kernel 2.6.16 in 2006, but it was removed before the kernel was finalized in order to give driver makers an opportunity to produce open-source drivers. However, many drivers remain proprietary.

Topics: Wi-Fi, Linux, Networking, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software, Software Development

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • And god handeth down to his people,

    and they rejoiced.
  • RE: Torvalds releases Linux 2.6.25

    I think its refreshing to click on a link to a Microsoft story and find yourself reading about Linux :-)

    Tut tut, ZDnet. Link discipline, please!
    • No kidding..

      Yup... run into that a few times here... they really need to verify links are pointing to the right spot...
  • RE: Torvalds releases Linux 2.6.25

    When are they going to make suspend and resume work?
    • on all possible hardware?

      I don't get the question, it does work, on a lot of hardware...

      If you want it to work on every single piece of hardware available... well not even Windows can boast that accomplishment.