It's landed at last, Linux Kernel 3.3, which most notably, reintegrates Google's Android into the mainline for the first time, in quite some time.
Curious readers may have noticed that even on their Android 4.0 devices, the Linux kernel has remained at version 2.6.x with only the most recent Android 4.0.3 releases integrating the 3.0 kernel, primarily for bug-fixing purposes, with the OS falling behind major changes made in kernel versions 3.1 and 3.2.
Android, as a rapidly evolving OS, features many bespoke subsystems and rush modifications from manufacturers of new SoCs and devices, that make it difficult and slow to integrate with mainline Linux, a process which firms looking to ship products can't wait for. Whilst the reintegration into mainline Kernel 3.3 may now help reduce the difference between Android development and mainline development, there's no guarantee that the same splitting process will not happen again, though with any luck to a lesser extent than before. In the meantime, new chips and hardware supported since Kernel 2.6 should now be available to developers looking to load-up such devices with Google Android.
Other notable changes in the 3.3 Kernel are:
- Support for restriping between different RAID levels along with improved balancing and debugging tools.
- Open vSwitch
- Advanced implementation of a network switch, with full specialised support for a virtualized environment.
- Teaming network interface
- Replacement for the bonding-driver, offers fast and stable network connection teaming.
- Byte Queue Limits and Per-cgroup TCP buffer limits
- Configurable limits for buffers to prevent excessive latency issues.
- Network priority control group
- Administrator interface for setting application traffic priorities.
- Enhanced ext4 online resizing
- Faster and more flexible resizing ioctl that has the Kernel perform all resizing work.
- Support for Texas Instruments C6X architecture
- Support for latest Texas Instruments multi-core DSPs.
- EFI boot support
- Boot stub may now be executed directly by EFI firmware (hopefully means bootable Ubuntu 12.04 on the new Apple Macs).