An introduction to what's new in Linux kernel version 2.6.29

The 2.6.29 release contain an amazing amount of new functionality :

Kernel based graphic mode setting:
This feature allows the kernel to control the graphics hardware after the required components are initialized (such as the PCI bus and graphics card).
In this way, the kernel can enter the desired screen resolution much earlier in the boot process.

Networking changes:
WiMAX support,
Worldwide Inter-operability for Microwave Access, a telecommunication technology that provides
wireless transmission of data using a variety of transmission modes.
It provides up to 75 Mbit/s symmetric broadband speed without the need for cables.
The technology is based on the IEEE 802.16 standard (also called Broadband Wireless Access).
The stack has been provided by Intel, and it includes a driver for the Intel Wireless WiMAX/Wi-Fi Link
5×50 USB/SDIO devices.

Access Point support in the wifi stack,
Wireless access points (APs or WAPs) are specially configured nodes on wireless local area
networks (WLANs).
Access points act as a central transmitter and receiver of WLAN radio signals.

Filesystem:
Btrfs:
Btrfs is a new filesystem developed from scratch following the design principles of filesystems like ZFS, WAFL, etc.
It was created by Oracle. btrfs is licensed under GPL.
The main Btrfs features include:

  • Extent based file storage (2^64 max file size)
  • Space efficient packing of small files
  • Space efficient indexed directories
  • Dynamic inode allocation
  • Writable snapshots
  • Subvolumes (separate internal filesystem roots)
  • Compression

… more information about btrfs can be found in the btrfs wiki page.

squashfs:
Squashfs is a compressed read-only filesystem for Linux. Squashfs is intended for general read-only filesystem use,
for archival use, and in constrained block device/memory systems (e.g. embedded systems) where low overhead is needed.
It is used by the Live CD versions of Debian, Fedora, Gentoo Linux, GParted, Ubuntu, … and on embedded distributions such as
the OpenWRT and DD-WRT router firmware.
Squashfs is also free software (licensed under the GPL) for accessing Squashfs filesystems.
Some squashfs overview:

  • Data, inodes and directories are compressed.
  • Squashfs stores full uid/gids (32 bits), and file creation time.
  • Files up to 2^64 bytes are supported. Filesystems can be up to 2^64 bytes.
  • Inode and directory data are highly compacted, and packed on byte boundaries.
  • Squashfs can use block sizes up to 1 024 kbytes.
  • File duplicates are detected and removed.
  • Both big and little endian architectures are supported

And many others functionalties are included :

  • ecryptfs filename encryption,
  • ext4 no journaling mode,
  • ocfs2 metadata checksums,
  • a more scalable RCU implementation,
  • filesystem freeze support,
  • swap management in the memory controller,
  • many new drivers and many other improvements.
An introduction to what's new in Linux kernel version 2.6.29

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