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 is the rundown of what’s new inside and why you want to upgrade to it.
The Intel GPU (graphics processing unit) DRM/KMS driver has been optimized to use Intel’s RC6 graphics power-saving feature. The battery life on Ubuntu laptops is going to get a lot better with the Precise Pangolin (12.04) release of Ubuntu.
DRM (the Direct Rendering Manager) and KMS (Kernel Mode Setting) aren’t things that a general. The pieces of the graphics puzzle that deal with handling the memory management of the drawing, backgrounding and re-drawing of applications minimize and switch between applications. The actual power savings are going to differ from machine to machine, but every machine should see improvement.
Canonical’s Ubuntu has taken this power saving a step further with its PMUtils crowdsourcing initiative. A confident command line interface Linux user can go take part. The data will help battery management everywhere.
The 3.2 kernel is in the networking TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) stack has improved. The WiFi drivers have been improved, and PRR (Proportional Rate Reduction) support has been introduced to the kernel.The browsing experience will be faster as transmission rates will be adjusted in a more timely fashion to recover from throttling and other bottlenecks that may encounter along the way to destination. File transfers should see the same efficiency boost, speed-wise.
The filesystem optimizations have been included too, designed to make Linux more scalable in large storage configurations, especially on enterprise systems. Reliability and ease-of-management options are included, as well as larger allocation blocks in the EXT4 filesystem to speed up disk access for sharing files and drives across operating systems like Windows via Samba.
Several code's has been introduced to assist with system throttling when writing large amounts of data to slow drives, making the user experience snappier when there is to move large amounts of data to and from drives or removable media. Syncing the MP3 device shouldn’t reduce the machine to a stuttering crawl so much with the enhancements.
There are many more optimizations coming with the 3.2 kernel that deal with large-scale servers and storage solutions (thin provisioning and the Btrfs filesystem to name a couple) that aren’t mentioned here, as well as a number of tweaks and services that are outside the scope of desktop or small business computing.
All in all, this is one of the larger kernel improvements that we have seen, with many improvements under the hood. Have you upgraded to the 3.2 kernel? What’s your experience been?