Whats new in 2.6.31 vs 2.6.27 kernel ?

I’m starting this thread for a friendly dialog, … and not looking for help.

One of the features of openSUSE-11.2 when it will be released later this year, will be the 2.6.31 kernel (as opposed to the older 2.6.27 kernel in openSUSE-11.1).

So, what does this new kernel have to offer?

I was skimming thru some articles

Move to 2.6.30:

It appears the move from 2.6.27 to 2.6.30 is the biggest jump. There are many changes in the code that deals with data storage (such as Ext4). Version 2.6.30 of the Linux kernel supports two additional file systems and purportedly offers more flexibility for reshaping software RAIDs; in addition, some of the changes to the crypto code aim at increasing the data throughput in encrypted storage media. Kernel image and initramfs can now be compressed with Bzip2 or LZMA and require less storage space. Efforts were made to increase the kernel’s start-up speed. There are hundreds of new and improved drivers, offering improved hardware support. There are also several changes to the PCI and power management code aim at making system hibernation (standby/suspend) work more robustly than before.

The new 2.6.30 kernel could directly impact me, in terms of sound support (maybe put me out of a volunteer job on openSUSE forums ? ). I note the audio drivers of Linux 2.6.30 will be roughly in line with the status of the ALSA 1.0.20 drivers (where 1.0.20 has significantly superior hardware detection and configuration). I try to help users with basic sound problems, and maybe with the 2.6.30 kernel, there will be less such problems. … Of course, there is always sorting out pulse audio to keep me employed. :slight_smile:

Move to 2.6.31:

but what about 2.6.31 ? Not without some controversy, it appears the decision has been made to include 2.6.31 in openSUSE-11.2, which may mean some last minute panics and bug fixes. Was it necessary to include 2.6.31 ? At what cost ? And what does 2.6.31 offer ?

I read that the 2.6.31 kernel will offer better support/features for Radeon graphics hardware, the performance counter infrastructure, Btrfs file system improvements, and drivers for Creative’s Sound Blaster X-Fi. It will also provide early USB 3.0 support.

I also note Linux 2.6.31 will include a new Wi-Fi driver for Intel chips, and purportedly will be WPAN-capable in accordance with IEEE 802.15.4. The developers have also improved support for Ralink Wi-Fi components and for newer power saving technologies.

Is the improvement from 2.6.30 to 2.6.31 worth the possibly hiccups we could see on openSUSE-11.2 ? … I’m pondering this myself. I do have radeon graphic hardware (HD3450) and Intel WLAN hardware (5300AGN) on my Dell Studio Laptop, so maybe 2.6.31 will be usefl for my WLAN.

I know the Linux community has been crying for a decent X-Fi audio driver for sometime, so maybe this will help there.

And finally, anyone who knows me, also knows I know next to NOTHING about kernels and kernel releases. So what is the true story here? What are the benefits of moving to 2.6.31? And what are the downsides?

If there weren’t too many changes then there was no much room to create regressions :wink:

After much thinking i found out that this kernel won’t improve my openSUSE experience :slight_smile:

But i’m not the only one using it or am i;)

You may be right that it wasn’t necessary since 2.6.30 would serve well for most of us and those that need a fresher kernel could always use kernel repo :slight_smile:

I concede I was rather skeptical that the 2.6.31 would offer much for me. But now that I note possible improvements to radeon graphic hardware handling (where my laptop has a Radeon HD3450) and improvements Intel WLAN hardware handling (where my lapto has an Intel 5300AGN) I am now thinking it may be nice to see this in 11.2.

Especially the possible Intel WLAN improvements interest me. While my Intel 5300AGN just works (with the 2.6.27 kernel), it does not give me the speed nor range enhancements that I had anticipated would come from that WLAN hardware (ie I am slightly disappointed with the WLAN performance on this laptop with the 2.6.27 kernel - noting at the same time that Vista does not work at all with this laptop’s WLAN ). I confess to being curious if the 2.6.31 kernel will change/improve the Linux performance in WLAN?

I guess I need to boot the 11.2 milestone5 live CD (with the 2.6.31 kernel) in my laptop, and see how it performs.

This radeon improvements are especially sought i guess since there are lots of people using radeon cards which are quite problematic due to the state of their crappy drivers :slight_smile:

What a pity nVidia won’t open source their drivers:/

We would have a seamless experience on Linux where people wouldn’t even need to install any drivers :open_mouth:

Looking at changes since 2004 (the year i started using Linux) i can say that it moves at a tremendous pace. Let’s hope someone will concentrate on usability to first time linux users :slight_smile:

oldcpu wrote:
> there is always sorting out pulse audio to keep me employed. :slight_smile:

have you been cashing your Novell-openSUSE Community pay checks?
i’ve been endorsing mine over to charity…


goldie

Does anyone know if custom DSDT support will be in 2.6.31? Other distros seem to not be adding the patch anymore as per the kernel devs wishes. Where can I see a changelog for Opensuse’s version of 2.6.31?

I know I go on about it, but for me the biggest breakthrough is fully functioning suspend-to-ram on my HP laptop.

I use the 2.6.30-50 version on openSUSE 11.1, and it works perfectly.

Never had it better, and I would assume that .31 will be much of the same goodness :).

You might suffer from the same ACPI bugs I do (dv6815). Like you, suspend/hibernate work now, but I still have trouble with my temps. It is not as bad with Opensuse, but with Ubuntu it gets hot. I have to use a custom DSDT to get Linux to see my CPU temps. That is why I was wondering about custom DSDT support for 11.2. I noticed that the custom DSDT section was still in Yast with milestone 5, but not sure if the kernel patch will be there. You can check with

dmesg | grep Thermal

I filed a bug after arguing with the Ubuntu kernel devs about taking the dsdt patch out>:( Bug #412167 “HP laptop CPU temps not seen by kernel” : Bugs : linux package : Ubuntu

I don’t remember what exactly but there was some type of security flaw that was in 2.6.30 that was fixed in 2.6.31. IIRC that was one of the reasons for such speedy adoption. The other reason was “Havingthelatestitis.”

I don’t get anything when I type dmesg | grep hermal (I dropped the “I” just in case). As a matter of fact I get absolutely nothing from dmesg apart from wlan stuff! A bit odd :sarcastic:.

Although I do get CPU temp reports through desktop widgets, so I guess it’s working for me :).

I always add acpi_osi=“Linux” to my boot line, have you tried that trick?

Oh, and what’s a DSDT? :wink:

@OldCPU
I have been keeping an eye on the 2.6.31 kernel. One of my big catchers also is improved Memory handling and supposedly a slightly more responsive system on algorithm execution. SATA software RAID is also supposed to be improved to some extent.
Also the better Radeon support you mentioned is a biggy for me. I currently use the AMD/ATI Radeon proprietary drivers as the OS ones crash to frequently on my 4850.

BTW, when it comes out you can easily build your own kernel. Fairly easy if you have the time to let it compile. Takes about 45mins on my system.

The following article from slashdot.org might shed some light on the decision to add 2.6.31 kernel for opensuse 11.2.

Slashdot Linux Story | Kernel 2.6.31 To Speed Up Linux Desktop

Dan Jones writes “As the Linux community looks forward to another kernel release, the kernel hackers have been working on improving the memory management so that the X desktop responsiveness is doubled under high memory pressure. The result is an improved desktop experience. Benchmarks on memory-tight desktops show clock time and major faults reduced by 50 per cent, and pswpin numbers (memory reads from disk) are reduced to about one-third. Another improvement coming with 2.6.31 is kernel mode-setting support for ATI Radeon graphics cards, enabling faster user switching and a more seamless startup experience. Peripheral developments that will also improve the Linux desktop experience include support for the new USB 3.0 specification and a new Firewire stack. Even minor Linux releases have heaps of new features these days!”