Linux 3.3 brings Android code back into the fold

Version 3.3 of Linux has been released, with Google's forked Android code having been brought back into the fold for the first time.

Version 3.3 of Linux has been released, with Google's forked Android code having been brought back into the fold for the first time.

Linus Torvalds announced the release on Sunday, on the Linux kernel mailing list. New features also include support for Texas Instruments's C6X microprocessors and the inclusion of Open vSwitch, a software implementation of a multilayer network switch.

However, the most notable feature of Linux 3.3 is the merging of Android code into the mainline Linux code. This will make it easier for developers and manufacturers to make hardware Android-compatible, and probably also help non-Android companies develop their own mobile Linux platforms.

In an interview last month with Muktware, key kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman noted that Linux 3.3 would allow people to boot into Android with no modifications.

However, he pointed out that power management was still not good. Kroah-Hartman said this would hopefully be improved in the 3.4 release, which will also add "a few other minor missing infrastructure pieces" from Android to the standard kernel.

As Torvalds himself noted in another recent interview, the ill will dividing the Linux and Android camps had stemmed from Google's creation of various extensions for Android that deviated from the standard kernel.

However, Torvalds said at the time that he did not care about this approach, as "that's how kernel development has always been done", with the standard kernel picking up the best features from successful forks. Android, the biggest-selling smartphone platform, is certainly a successful fork.