Linux kernel 3.4 released

Graphics card support, BTRFS improvements among key changes to Linux kernel

Version 3.4 of the Linux kernel was officially rolled out Sunday, in what maintainer Linus Torvalds called a "calm" release cycle.

PREVIOUSLY: Linux 3.3 released after minor delay

"Sure, I always wish for the -rc's to calm down more quickly than they ever seem to do, but I think on the whole we didn't have any big disruptive events, which is just how I like it. Let's hope the 3.5 merge window is a calm one too," he wrote in his announcement.

Such peace has not always been the norm. As recently as last year, controversies over hypervisor support roiled the Linux community, which is known for the full-throated tenor of its debates.

Some of the most important new features in Linux 3.4, according to Kernel Newbies, include substantial updates to the BTRFS file system and new support for graphics hardware from Nvidia, Intel and AMD.

New repair and data recovery tools, error handling improvements and larger metadata blocks were all added to BTRFS in Version 3.4, and support for Intel's Medfield smartphone graphics architecture, Nvidia GeForce 600 "Kepler" devices, and AMD's 7000-series Radeon cards were all included as well.

Along with those additions, a host of other features found their way into Linux 3.4, including a new application binary interface aimed at melding some of the advantages of both 32-bit and 64-bit system architectures. The Yama security module has also been added.

According to a report from Phoronix, Version 3.5 will see additional graphical support improvements. What's more, the publication noted that the process of building Linux support for Intel's forthcoming Haswell processor architecture -- due out in early 2013 -- has begun in earnest.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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