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Linux Kernel v2.6.23 Released

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the worth-the-wait dept.

Operating Systems 346

diegocgteleline.es writes "After 3 months, Linus has released Linux 2.6.23. This version includes the new and shiny CFS process scheduler, a simpler read-ahead mechanism, the lguest 'Linux-on-Linux' paravirtualization hypervisor, XEN guest support, KVM smp guest support, and variable process argument length. SLUB is now the default slab allocator, there's SELinux protection for exploiting null dereferences using mmap, XFS and ext4 improvements, PPP over L2TP support. Also the 'lumpy' reclaim algorithm, a userspace driver framework, the O_CLOEXEC file descriptor flag, splice improvements, a new fallocate() syscall, lock statistics, support for multiqueue network devices, various new drivers, and many other minor features and fixes. See the changelog for details."

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346 comments

You know the drill... (4, Funny)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921637)

overlord. welcome. yay.

On a more serious note, are these improvements dramatic, or is story featured just because it's the newest Lolnus kernel?

Re:You know the drill... (4, Funny)

n dot l (1099033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921787)

overlord. welcome. yay.
Hey! You butchered my second-most-loved meme, you insensitive clod!

On a more serious note, are these improvements dramatic, or is story featured just because it's the newest Lolnus kernel?
I don't know about dramatic, but the change does replace several core OS components, some of which generated quite a bit of buzz when development was first announced (too lazy to link some of the flame wars^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H discussions that news of a new scheduler generated).

Re:You know the drill... (0, Offtopic)

the_enigma_1983 (742079) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922251)

In soviet russia, overlords welcome you

Re:You know the drill... (0, Offtopic)

Ammishdave (688623) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922569)

Hey! You butchered my second-most-loved meme, you insensitive clod!
Don't complain about meme mutations, that's how new ones are created.

Re:You know the drill... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20922667)

Don't use "meme" as a euphemism for "cliché".

Methinks... (5, Interesting)

Keyper7 (1160079) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921803)

...the extra flavor that makes this release a little bit more headline-worthy than usual is probably the whole controversy involving the Completely Fair Scheduler. Between Con Kolivas leaving kernel development, the Really Fair Scheduler flamewar and almost ten release candidates, the whole 2.6.23 development was some kind of geek soap opera.

Re:You know the drill... (5, Funny)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922369)

Lolnus?

I can has new scheduler?

I had new scheduler but Linus eated it :-(

Boom. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20921639)

paravirtualization hypervisor.
Sounds like one hell of a Machine Gun.

Re:Boom. (5, Funny)

Fuji Kitakyusho (847520) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921719)

Don't cross the streams. It would be "bad".

Re:Boom. (2, Funny)

germansausage (682057) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921899)

I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, "bad"?

Re:Boom. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20921955)

Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.

Re:Boom. (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922007)

Cool! Cross the streams, cross the streams!

Re:Boom. (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922323)

I don't know about you but I prefer to pack a Godzilla blaster when dealing with Slimys; That, or a zoot mutant suit.

Re:Boom. (1)

germansausage (682057) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922011)

That's bad. Okay. All right, important safety tip. Thanks, ac.

Re:Boom. (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922379)

Sound like something Ruby the Galactic Gumshoe would be carrying.

http://www.zbs.org/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=2&products_id=34

That was a classic.. I should listen to that ZBS production again.

Re:Boom. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20922495)

It sounds like something the Strogg would invent.

"Kill the human food with the paravirtualizing hypervisor!"

Re:Boom. (5, Funny)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922553)

... the 'lumpy' reclaim algorithm, a userspace driver framework, the O_CLOEXEC file descriptor flag, splice improvements, a new fallocate() syscall, lock statistics, support for multiqueue network devices, various new drivers, and many other minor features and fixes. See the changelog [CC] for details."
OMG!!!!!! The O_CLOEXEC file descriptor flag is coming out!!! My friend Tiffany is, like, *totally* gonna freak when she hears about it.

In other news: Linux not dead yet (-1, Offtopic)

n dot l (1099033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921645)

Unfortunately, Netcraft could not be reached for comment.

Re:In other news: Linux not dead yet (1)

n dot l (1099033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921729)

Now that that's out of my system...

I have to say this is a pretty big batch of changes. I'm actually really interested to see how the new scheduler performs. Oh well, time to go update my Linux box...

*prays to god that random hacked up drivers keep working*

SO EXCITED! (4, Funny)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921661)

I'm so excited, I wish I could have stayed up until midnight in a huge line for it! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SLEEP NOW?!

Yeah, but (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20921667)

yeah, but does it run... Oh. Nevermind.

Yay upgrade! (4, Funny)

nxtr (813179) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921673)

I think I'll take the opportunity to upgrade to 2.2.26; I don't waste my time with unproven technology.

we dont like guests from xen (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921685)

After 3 months, Linus has released Linux 2.6.23. This version includes the new and shiny CFS process scheduler, a simpler read-ahead mechanism, the lguest 'Linux-on-Linux' paravirtualization hypervisor, XEN guest support

Yes, what they don't mention is that the XEN "guest support" is in the form of a crowbar.

But XEN is Leno' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20922091)

I thought XEN was the guest host when Leno goes on vaction

Re:we dont like guests from xen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20922319)

Also they didn't mention something which is extremely important which is a faster booting mechanism! Seriously, as much as I LOVE linux; I'm tired of my windows machines beating the race of "first to the logon screen" when I start all my PC's up, sheesh! Perhaps I should blaming the GRUB and LILO factory people, =8^0.

What about the license? (4, Interesting)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921697)

I RTFA and it didn't mention whether or not it was released under GPL v2 or v3. Does anyone know?

Answer: Linux will never be GPL3. (1, Offtopic)

ZeekWatson (188017) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921739)

Linux will never be GPL3. Got that? NEVER!

Re:Answer: Linux will never be GPL3. (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921769)

[citation needed]

I say that because Linus has said he doesn't mind GPL v3 (his problem was with earlier drafts).

Re:Answer: Linux will never be GPL3. (3, Informative)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921837)

You can't just relicense code that was GPL2 only. It would all have to be rewritten, from scratch. Linux will NEVER be GPLv3.

Re:Answer: Linux will never be GPL3. (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921951)

Hello everybody out there using Linux -
I'm doing a (free) operating system based on GPL3 (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like Linux) for x86. This has been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready. I'd like any feedback on things people like/dislike in Linux, as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons) among other things).

I've currently ported bash(3.2) and gcc(4.2.2), and things seem to work. This implies that I'll get something practical within a few months, and
I'd like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions are welcome, but I won't promise I'll implement them :-)

PS. Yes - it's free of any Linux code, and it has a multi-threaded fs. It is NOT protable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that's all I have :-(.

Re:Answer: Linux will never be GPL3. (5, Funny)

zsouthboy (1136757) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922289)

You forgot the hardcoded support for Swedish keyboard layout, only.

Why do that much work? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20922361)

Just take OpenBSD and re-release it under the GPLv3!

Re:Answer: Linux will never be GPL3. (4, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921959)

No, the problem is finding *all* the copyright holders and getting them to agree to GPLv3.

The copyright holder can license the code however he damn well pleases.

Re:Answer: Linux will never be GPL3. (5, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922153)

Dude, if you actually read the kernel mailing list you would know that Linus has said that he can change the license whenever he wants. All he has to do is post a notice to the list, and add the same notice to the license file specifying a date when the license will switch over. Anyone who doesn't agree will have an opportunity to opt-out, at which point their code will be pulled out and rewritten, or opt-in. The ones that don't do either can be assumed to opt-in until such time as they complain.

This has been done before.. with the syscall interface exception.

Stop repeating myths and do some research.

Re:Answer: Linux will never be GPL3. (2, Insightful)

GoRK (10018) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922575)

"Can" means a lot of things in this context; in that he is able and free to to declare a license change is not in dispute; however the methodology of the "opt-out deadline" is not quite so cut and dry. There absolutely will be a time cost, a financial cost, and a great coding effort if the license is to be changed. Andrew Morton boils it down a lot more objectively in his public statements about the matter: There is simply no current or anticipated business case to justify the license change in the kernel project.

There have been large projects such as Samba and Asterisk that have had the economic incentive to go through the hassle of changing licenses to something more favorable to their intentions, but for the kernel the hassle is going to be so much greater that the incentive will have to be very high. Something like a court (very unlikely) declaring GPLv2 to be unenforceable, for instance, would be the kind of incentive needed to push this change through the kernel.

Using the syscall license thing as an analogy for a GPXv2 to GPLv3 transition is not really fair as the scope of the latter is so much greater. The syscall changes were an attempt to clarify and explicitly restate an interpretation of the existing license, not to change it.

Re:Answer: Linux will never be GPL3. (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922657)

Linus has outlined a number of possibilities, a lot more favorable than you are suggesting, but yes, there is no motivation at the current time to change the license.

But that wasn't the point of my post.. the point of my post was to stop the meme that the license can't be changed. It can. Or, at least, Linus has said it can, and that should be good enough, cause if he thinks it can be changed and there is a reason to change it, then he will, and we'll be having a different discussion.

Re:Answer: Linux will never be GPL3. (4, Informative)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922105)

[citation needed yourself]

What Linus said was "I was impressed in the sense that it was a hell of a lot better than the disaster that were the earlier drafts. I still think GPLv2 is simply the better license." [lkml.org]

A couple days later, he expresses more angst with the GPLv3 and the FSF [lkml.org] .

The bottom line is

I consider dual-licensing unlikely (and technically quite hard), but at least _possible_ in theory. I have yet to see any actual *reasons* for licensing under the GPLv3, though. All I've heard are shrill voices about "tivoization" (which I expressly think is ok) and panicked worries about Novell-MS (which seems way overblown, and quite frankly, the argument seems to not so much be about the Novell deal, as about an excuse to push the GPLv3).
So... I'd hardly say, as you did, that he doesn't mind the GPLv3. In fact, the FSF shills really ticked off a lot of kernel devs by trying to berate them into switching to the GPLv3 back in June/July.

Re:Answer: Linux will never be GPL3. (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921779)

Unless Solaris is released under the GPLv3 and Linus sees some stuff he wants.

Really, he said that [lkml.org] .

Re:Answer: Linux will never be GPL3. (2, Insightful)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922499)

and?

are you implying there is something wrong with re-evaluating circumstances and utilizing other OSS?

The biggest mistake one can ever make is attempting to make simple statements permanent regardless of how the environment around it changes.

Re:Answer: Linux will never be GPL3. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922691)

huh? I'm not implying anything.

I'm just saying that ZeekWatson is wrong.

No-one, who counts, has said that the Linux kernel will NEVER be GPLv3.

Re:What about the license? (4, Insightful)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922081)

Guys, that's an honest question from the new user! Don't slam on the Troll mod the second someone says GPL3 and Linux in the same post!

For the foreseeable future, Linux will be under the GPLv2 license. A lot of Linux code is only available under that license, and isn't forward compatible without developer permission. Given that many Linux devs either won't give permission or can't be located (died, stopped contributing, whatever), relicensing will be a major effort, even if leaders were so inclined. Basically, if Linux goes GPLv3, you'll hear about it at least 6 months in advance, and probably weekly during those 6 months if you read Slashdot.

Re:What about the license? (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922143)

Thanks. A straight forward answer to a straight forward question.

Re:What about the license? (2, Interesting)

CandyMan (15493) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922415)

Sun will probably publish Solaris under the GPL v3, so everyone will have a choice of tree free kernels: *BSD under BSD, Linux under GPL v2 and Solaris under V3. I think there is a fair chances that some developers might want to dual-license their code from now on. I am thinking of someone publishing their new filesystem code under both GPL versions so both projects can use it.

Relicensing existing code might be too strenuous, but if many developers decide to follow this dual-licensing approach, the relicensing of Linux may be made easier by module replacement, as old GPL v2 code is swapped out for new "either GPL v2 or v3" dual-licensed code coming in.

In any case, this is highly speculative, and as much as I would like Linux to be under the GPL v2 (I think tivoization sucks), if its authors don't care about it as much as we do, I don't feel inclined to raise a stink. Or maybe I am inclined to raise it against tivoizers, but not against developers themselves. We can still use Linux, and I for one thank our kernel developer overlords for their good job working for all of us.

(Note: I know there are several BSD kernels, but that's true also of Linux: there are several forks for different uses and profiles).

Re:What about the license? (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922571)

You can distribute a collection of programs (like Linux or BSD distro) under more than one license. The fact that Linux is GPLv2 doesn't mean that distros can't distribute GPLv3 stuff like the GNU toolchain or SAMBA or permissive stuff like Apache with it. In the case of file-systems, it's more complicated, and I don't fully understand the rules, but it's possible to have some sort of wrapper that's GPLv2 that interfaces directly with the kernel and then have file-system use that wrapper's public APIs or something. That might not be feasible for a file-system, but that's how they have some proprietary drivers in Linux.

Also, the difference between the various BSD kernels and the differing Linux kernels is that there is an "official" Linux kernel. There are plenty of modified version and patch-sets and whatever, but there's only one official Linux kernel release with a lead developer and official releases. By contrast, there is no official consensus default BSD kernel, only the various kernels the various BSD groups use.

BSD not DEAD! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20921699)

phew. I few more unstable linus kernel uot there eh!

BSD not DEAD!... (0)

wanderingknight (1103573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922261)

...Netcraft confirms it.

Cue CFS/SD Benchmarks (2, Insightful)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921747)

So has anyone done any "real" benchmarks yet? Hmm? Hmm? What would the robot do!

A pre-packaged ISO, please... (-1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921755)

Unless you're actively building Linux from scratch, this type of news is like a Tennessee strip club. A lot of flashy lights and naked chicks but no alcohol.

Won't someone think of the ISOs?

Re:A pre-packaged ISO, please... (1)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921813)

My distro (Arch Linux) should have packages up within a couple days. And since the ftp iso installs from the repos, its *already up to date*. The isos don't even need to be touched.

Re:A pre-packaged ISO, please... (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921845)

So this "Arch Linux"... How does it stack up to other distributions? Does it rely on a package management system? Does it have an easy to use installer? Is it aimed at servers/end users/developers? Is it actively maintained? How much does it cost?

Re:A pre-packaged ISO, please... (1)

Bob54321 (911744) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921919)

I have been using Arch for a couple of years now and would recommend trying it if you have a bit of experience maintaining a Linux system. Take a look at the web page - http://www.archlinux.org/ [archlinux.org] . Uses the pacman management system, reasonably easy to use ascii-graphical (ncurses) installer, actively maintained, free. Its nice features are i686/x86_64 optimization and rolling release.

Re:A pre-packaged ISO, please... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20922059)

So this "Arch Linux"... How does it stack up to other distributions?
It's in a category similar to Gentoo and ROCK Linux. That is, it's source based.

Does it rely on a package management system? Does it have an easy to use installer?
It's source based. You have scripts that build things for you so you can think you're a "superhacker".

Is it aimed at servers/end users/developers?
It's aimed at people who think that recompiling everything with weird options can give them a 60% speed increase...

Is it actively maintained? How much does it cost?
It only costs your time. Rather than getting work done, you can spend hours compiling your software and acting arrogant.

Re:A pre-packaged ISO, please... (2, Funny)

Fireflymantis (670938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922227)

It only costs your time. Rather than getting work done, you can spend hours compiling your software and acting arrogant.
I'm sold! I simply MUST get this onto my office workstation!

Re:A pre-packaged ISO, please... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20922237)

basically archlinux = slackware's simplicty with debian's package manager with gentoo's compiling power

i'm not joking...
ala slackware:
- it's BSD startup scripts
- all packages are pretty much untouched and rely on upstream releases...there is no backporting

ala debian:
- awesome package manager
- and for me, i find it easier to use and especially better when the package manager breaks (i've never been able to recover from a crapped out dist-upgrade without reinstalling...)

ala gentoo:
- obviously not everything is compiled...but if you do, it's 3 commands:
    - abs (sync with PKGBUILDs which is the equivalent of ebuilds)
    - makepkg (compile)
    - pacman -A package-1.0.0.tar.gz (install)

Re:A pre-packaged ISO, please... (1)

notanatheist (581086) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922343)

Hmm... how do you moderate "Informative Offtopic" ?

In other news... Arch barfed on me when trying to install on some super new hardware. Specifically speaking: Intel DQ35JO motherboard with SATA optical and hard drive. Only Ubuntu and Slackware managed to install out of 4 distros tried.

But again, "Informative Offtopic". Back on topic, having just compiled the previous 2.6.23rc with Slack 12 it still barfed when booting. So, I for one welcome 2.6.23.1!!

Re:A pre-packaged ISO, please... (2, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922705)

It's not yet released, but Fedora 8 Test 3 has been running the 2.6.23 kernel code. I suspect that within days (hours?) the RC labels will be pulled from the RPMs.

I love my Thinkpad (2, Interesting)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921761)

thinkpad-acpi: enable more hotkeys, add input device support to hotkey subdriver

Woot!

Ummm. Neat. (-1, Offtopic)

wbmstr2good (962512) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921831)

I'm sure all of this stuff is really cool. Slashdot is a technical community so my comment may not be well received. I've played with Linux a lot and would like to say, it never seems to be about the user experience. Usability should be a top concern for Linux to increase it penetration in the mainstream market. I know there are distributions like Ubuntu which are making that a reality by leaps and bounds. But graphic UI's are the future of computing and I think it's high time for a distribution to make it HARD to find the shell in an OS. Let the Linux community do what Apple (NeXT) did for Unix (I'm preparing to be grilled for this comment), at the end of the day all most users care about is getting their work done. Please Linux developers, unify the OS and create something that at least 90% of the computing population can accomplish something on, not just the brainy and overwhelmingly patient. Thanks for reading my opinions. Dylan

Re:Ummm. Neat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20922049)

Does Linux really want to become the OS for MicroIdiots? Are "words" really too complicated for you to understand?

Click - drool - blank stare - drool - click - use "start" to "shut down" - drool - click - drool - drool ...

Re:Ummm. Neat. (2, Insightful)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922067)

I'll bite.

Your point that usability is important is true. However, your implication that progress in the kernel prevents progress elsewhere is questionable. There are plenty of people working on usability and creating new desktop interfaces. I'd argue that a current installation of Ubuntu, installed on cooperative hardware, is quite easy to use. But there's no need to sacrifice the underlying elegance or power of Linux to get there -- the shell shouldn't be "hard to find", just unnecessary for most people.

To drag out some car analogies: 1. There's no reason the engineers can't still work on the engine while the designers are still working on making the "driver experience" simpler and more comfortable. 2. It's a good idea to reduce the regular maintenance that a driver needs to perform, but there's no need to weld the hood shut or lock it just to prove to yourself that they don't need to fiddle with it.

Re:Ummm. Neat. (1)

wbmstr2good (962512) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922133)

ThinkinginBinary, You make a valid point. I agree you are correct, however I wasn't disagreeing with you that the underlying support should be halted. I just wanted to state the fact that there is also plenty of work that needs to be performed to deliver a product that is both easy to use as well as powerful. Linux has so much potential and I'd like to see it spend a little more time in the limelight. I've even tried to switch to Linux many times. However I can't sever the ties with certain Windows software which I would prefer not to use in a VM environment. The OSS community is an amazing phenomenon and I love what they stand for. I just think in order to get Linux adopted by the populous, it's going to take more than kernel enhancements to see that through. Dylan

Re:Ummm. Neat. (5, Insightful)

nick.ian.k (987094) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922291)

I just think in order to get Linux adopted by the populous, it's going to take more than kernel enhancements to see that through.

But see, the problem is that nobody's arguing that kernel enhancements alone *are* going to result in the rise of desktop-Linux-for-the-masses. What you're doing is akin to walking into a university campus that's just expanded a bit and proclaiming how they're not doing enough to save the baby whales. Yes, some of the facilities and information dispersed therein may be getting used by people looking to save the baby whales, and some of the staff may even be interested in saving the baby whales themselves, but the university is not in fact there to save the baby whales, but instead serve as general resource that can be utilized in a number of different and often drastically divergent ways.

Re:Ummm. Neat. (1)

eklitzke (873155) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922089)

Right, because the kernel developers should drop what they're doing and start hacking on userspace applications and doing things to make Linux more "user friendly."

The article is about a new release of the kernel, it's not about the desktop experience, or ease of use, or anything along those lines. They're totally separate topics.

Re:Ummm. Neat. (5, Insightful)

Hooya (518216) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922121)

personally, i think, that the height of computing was 'cron'. you needed a report every morning, put it in cron. you needed to analyze data every week, put it in cron.

computing was supposed to automate. supposed to make everyones lives easier by helping the person. now look at it. walk into any corporate office and you'll see countless people (myself included) clicking on this and that to satisfy what the computer wants out of you. it feels like you are there to help the computer achieve uptimes, or defragged disks, getting rid of viruses, blocking ports, unblocking ports...

am i there to help the computer do it's job? or is the computer there to help me do mine?

why does the computer occupy the center of my desk? why isn't it tucked away in the utility closet?

but that's a more philosophical discussion to be had - under the influence ;) i mean, heavily under the influence.

Re:Ummm. Neat. (0, Troll)

wbmstr2good (962512) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922189)

The computer was always meant to help the user accomplish tasks. But how can a user get anything done when they are buried waste deep in training manuals? Linux has a steep learning curve, most people will agree. It takes a specific type of person to get Linux running and to a point where it can be productive even for nontechnical users (which is the majority of users that use computers). Linux has so much to offer that other OSs don't even come close to delivering, but let's tie all of those together to make something that's both powerful and usable at the same time. Dylan

Re:Ummm. Neat. (2, Informative)

wanderingknight (1103573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922355)

Linux has a steep learning curve
...only if you come from another OS. No OS is inherently hard or easy to use--you just need to get used to it. I'll agree, there are people that have an easier time getting used to something new (I'll include myself in that group, it only took me two days to do on Linux everything I did on Windows, and a week to nuke my XP partition), but it doesn't mean Linux is hard to use per se. It's not what you're used to it, that's all. Hell, if I had to go back to XP and have to hunt on Google to find a piece of software I need, instead of using Ubuntu's Add/Remove or Synaptic, or SUSE's YaST, I would be bothered. I would also be bothered if things didn't work like in the GNOME desktop I'm used to. Of course, *I* have an easy time adapting myself (and, besides, I always enjoy trying out new stuff), which doesn't mean *you* have to have an equally easy time. I'm tired of people bashing Linux "non-user-friendlyness". It's just that you're not used to it. It's not a crime, but it's not a reason to bash it as unfriendly, either.

Re:Ummm. Neat. (5, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922479)

"It takes a specific type of person to get Linux running and to a point where it can be productive even for nontechnical users (which is the majority of users that use computers)"

WTF???

Linux installation for dummies, PHBs and Windows sysadmins (but I repeat myself)

  1. Stick a second hard disk in your machine (don't be a cheap SOB - the OS is free, give it some room to live)
  2. Stick a modern distro in the dvd drive.
  3. Boot up
  4. click for your time zone and geographic location
  5. Tell it that its okay to start your internet connection automagically.
  6. click on the packages you want (or just accept the defaults if you don't know what you're doing)
  7. set your partitions the way you want (or just accept the defaults if you don't know what you're doing)
  8. click ok
  9. go do other stuff while the dvd installs 5 gigs of software ...
  10. enter your root password, a user account and password.
  11. click okay
  12. watch as your computer boots into your new linux install.
  13. pick the gui you wnat to use
  14. log in
  15. do whatever you want - your web browser(s), office suite(s), email program(s), server(s), etc., are already installed and configured.

If you can't follow that, print it out and pay some PFY* in grade 9 $20.00 to help you.

(if you don't recognize the reference, you're obviously new here and deserve to be beaten with a clue-by-four, both ways, in the snow, etc...)

Re:Ummm. Neat. (1)

zanderredux (564003) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922693)

you missed the point. the problem is that computing became an end to itself, instead of being used to liberate people from little value-added work.

Re:Ummm. Neat. (3, Insightful)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922141)

Slashdot is a technical community so my comment may not be well received.

No, your comment won't be well received because it has nothing at all to do with the article or the Linux kernel.

Re:Ummm. Neat. (1)

Tenebrarum (887979) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922151)

While I won't disagree that an "easy to use gui" (an oxymoron for a cli guru) is a good idea, I've get to find a way to use sed without bringing up a virtual terminal. ...Click this, click that, click this again ... what, you mean this clicky thing doesn't support regular expressions? No loops or recursion of any kind? Jeez, that's just asking for RSI. So ... wake me up when you can use, erm, a terminal, without a terminal? Until then, don't hide it from me please.

Re:Ummm. Neat. (1)

teh moges (875080) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922169)

Usability has been a big area of growth in the Linux distribution department for a while now. Just to let you know, this article is about the linux kernel, which is "Linux", but not what you are talking about. (I'm sure my analogy falls flat somewhere) Consider the kernel like the engine of your car. What the engine looks like and how it works have little to do with how you actually drive the car, although the performance of the engine directly effects the performance of the entire vehicle, it does not (really) effect whether you can "drive" this car well or not.

If you have some concerns about the usability of Linux distros, the two main areas you should voice them to are the KDE people and the GNOME people. These projects are the ones that develop the "Desktop Environments" that are the equivilent to the steering wheel, seats and the whole look and feel of the car/operating system. Both projects have methods for you to voice your concerns and ideas. If you are looking for usability over features, I believe GNOME is the better option, though I haven't used it much. I personally prefer KDE for myself, but you sound like you may already have a preference, having tried Linux a bit yourself.

Re:Ummm. Neat. (1)

nick.ian.k (987094) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922195)

But graphic UI's are the future of computing and I think it's high time for a distribution to make it HARD to find the shell in an OS.

In the ideal OS, finding the shell would be *easy*, not hard. I think what you mean to say is, "...day-to-day 'regular user' tasks would not involve using the shell." Hiding any end-user application is stupid.

Re:Ummm. Neat. (1)

Maxhrk (680390) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922413)

i like shell for a reason.. supposedly single SDL program frozen on my computer(that is full screen and is not killed yet..) so i switched to different TTY and kill it manually. Love it.
]

Re:Ummm. Neat. (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922209)

Lol.. Unless you are using bleeding edge hardware or some obscure specialty piece, or digging into the dirty server areas, you don't need a shell.

Most people use the shell because it is fast and easy. It is as if they finally get it. Those that don't want to use the shell, don't have to. They just won't be able to do everything as easily. But as for being a user, it is quite simple to configure everything from the desktop, do your work from the desktop, and not even see a shell. Mandrake (mandriva) has had this ability for several years now. Ubuntu seems to be on the same track.

I'm guessing that your experience is a little dated or you were attempting to do stuff that normal users wouldn't need to do. Most package managers like those in mandriva or ubuntu will install everything your need from a GUI. The software repositories offer a little more if you hit a shell usually, but you shouldn't need to in order to do most things. And the newer versions of webmin could pretty much replace most of everything you would think you need a shell for. I recently used webmin to partition, format and mount a drive 15 miles away and I pointed and clicked everything but my login and password.

I think what you asked for has already been accomplished at least to a reasonable degree. Try out the new mandriva release and make sure webmin is installed. Outside of it _not_being_windows, it should quite capable. And I underscored not being windows because linux will never be windows. The sooner people realize that, the less disappointed they become.

Re:Ummm. Neat. (2, Insightful)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922217)

the linux kernel has nothing to do with "user experience". it interfaces with the hardware... or in this case, the virtual hardware. :)

there already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20922233)

Pick out any of the top 5-10 distros at distrowatch and chances are unless you have some exotic hardware/extremely brand new and bleeding edge, or special needs, you won't have to touch the command line to use it. This level of functionality has existed for at least a couple of years now with the major distros, and with applications at your fingertips, it is light years beyond what redmond offers. There is really no comparison what you get out of the box with any major linux distro once you see how much variety and functionality you get and any windows OS, even the "professional" vista stuff. There's just not. Some peripherals, etc obviously function better on windows from driver issues, but just a modicum of homework and you can build a hardware system with some distro that will "just work" for the most part to the level of which you are looking for (most likely, have to guess for your needs here), and never have to touch the command line at all. And with live CDs you can try before full installation, it is ridiculously easy to test them and see what might work on your system you have right now. And the price is right, download and burn for free, or send in a few bucks to one of the clone shippers. I'm not a dev or programmer, and I use linux exclusively, from the GUI all the time now, because I have found there's no real reason to use the CLI, the gui tools are plenty good enough now. I'm just a computer user, I like other geeky stuff,but not into programming at all. I know just enough BASH to know I like running the mouse better, I can navigate any random gui menu tree a lot faster than I can memorize some arcane commands where one single missed or wrong keystroke can bork your reality. If linux wasn't good enough or easy enough, I wouldn't use it. Some years ago it wasn't, but now it mostly is.

Re:Ummm. Neat. (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922331)

"But graphic UI's are the future of computing and I think it's high time for a distribution to make it HARD to find the shell in an OS."

You can have my shell when you pry it from my cold dead hands - same as my keyboard!

Most distros come with multiple GUIs, and those GUIs are superior to anything Redmond can put out. Add that to the ability to run Windows in a window (where it belongs, if it belongs at all on your box), and mp3 and dvd installers a click away in the newest distros, 21 gigs of software free for the downloading, faster release/bugfix/update cycles ... if you want a GUI, you can have your pick.

But do NOT take away my terminals. There are a lot of things that are quicker to do in a term than with a clicky interface. Have you not heard of "the right tool for the job"?

Re:Ummm. Neat. (3, Insightful)

BrainInAJar (584756) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922363)

Linux is a kernel. A kernel's definition of usability involves well documented programming API's.

Usability is a problem for the desktop maintainers ( the KDE or GNOME guys ), not the kernel hackers.

Added bonus, the desktop maintainers can be OS agnostic if they like, so the usability gains that linux sees can easily transfer to BSD or OpenSolaris, should they turn out to be better kernels overall

lovely! (-1, Offtopic)

chrome (3506) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921833)

first?

Obligatory. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20921841)

But does it run OS X?

What about O_CLOEXEC for sockets? (4, Interesting)

Myria (562655) | more than 6 years ago | (#20921911)

In multi-threaded code (or more correctly: all code using clone() with CLONE_FILES) there's a race when exec'ing (see commit link for details). In some applications this can happen frequently. Take a web browser. One thread opens a file and another thread starts, say, an external PDF viewer. The result can even be a security issue if that open file descriptor refers to a sensitive file and the external program can somehow be tricked into using that descriptor. 2.6.23 includes the O_CLOEXEC ("close-on-exec") fd flag on open() and recvmsg() to avoid this problem.


Yes, this is a good thing. However, they seem to have missed some: sockets and pipes. Sockets are not close-on-exec by default, so you may pass a sensitive socket to a child.

Windows NT has the same problem: sockets are inheritable by default until you call SetHandleInformation to disable inheritance. Other handles' inheritability is selected at open/create time.

Luckily, there is a workaround for it, if not pretty: use a reader/writer lock with opening handles as writers and forks as readers.

By the way, the linked changelog on kernelnewbies.org has a bad link for the "recommended LWN article".

For the SELinux thing against null pointer attacks, won't that break DOSemu?

Re:What about O_CLOEXEC for sockets? (5, Insightful)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922095)

You needn't worry about the kernel in this case, because the applications aren't paying any attention. Mozilla happily passes all open file descriptors (sockets, pipes, and files of any kind) to subprocesses like Adobe Reader. There's been a bug open on it for eons. Other applications have the same problems. It may be convenient to have O_CLOEXEC in open(2) calls, but it won't help of the application writers don't know what they are doing, or if they have "abstracted" their platform interaction to such a degree that they can no longer interact with any platform services (*cough* jvm *cough*).

Linux catches up to Windows 2000? (4, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922023)

fallocate() is a new system call which will allow applications to preallocate space to any file(s) in a file system. Applications can get a guarantee of space for particular file(s) - even if later the system becomes full

I was about to go and make fun of Linux for creating a feature that's been around in Windows for quite a while - take your pick of SetFilePointer or sparse files. Yes, yes, I understand that reserving space for a file is not the same as growing it and not using that space. Twas meant to be a troll....But, it turns out that a bit of googling reveals that sparse files under Windows are not all that they are cracked up to be:

http://www.flexhex.com/docs/articles/sparse-files.phtml [flexhex.com]

huh? Re:Linux catches up to Windows 2000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20922535)

To create a sparse file in Linux, you open a file, and seek to some arbitrary size.

fallocate, is something else.

What exactly does this have to do with Windows 2000.

Windows 2000 is no longer sold. The latest version of Windows 2000 is ReactOS.

Great! In other news, RIP linux for the desktop (-1, Troll)

poliopteragriseoapte (973295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922137)

Great!

In other news, RIP linux for the desktop. With the loss of the two main developers for Thunderbird, it looks like linux is going on without a single decent desktop (non-terminal) email app. Kmail, the one time I tried it, promptly erased all my email folders, and in any case is not very flexible. Thunderbird had plenty of faults, but it was the best one of the crop. Now, without a single great email app, how can an IT manager decide to go with linux over the desktop? What would be the advantage to Mac?

I wish Linus could give an edict and convert some kernel developers to app developers and to app integration, but it doesn't work that way, technical people will always enjoy more working on the kernel than on apps, and linux over the desktop will always be poor.

I am now switching all my group (10 people?) from linux to Mac, and I have only good things to say about it.

Re:Great! In other news, RIP linux for the desktop (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922207)

You're using POP for email it would seem. There is an option to leave messages on server...

Re:Great! In other news, RIP linux for the desktop (1)

poliopteragriseoapte (973295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922247)

No, I am using IMAP over ssl, and configured correctly, it was a Kmain bug. And no thanks -- I won't want to reproduce it! Thankfully I had a backup. Most likely Kmail choked at the huge amount of email (many folders with over 20,000 messages). It may have improved by now, but no, I am not trying that experiment again.

Another software troll (1)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922373)

You would have problem with getting a fix for your issue with any software company. First, you don't know what happened. Second, you cannot give steps to reproduce the problem. So, the developers are left with,

  "whaa whaaa whaa.!!!! Software broke! Erased stuff! Fix it!!! Fix it or I switch!"

Good luck with the switch. Be this commercial or free software, you are likely to get the same type of support if you are unwilling to help with the debugging of your problem.

Re:Great! In other news, RIP linux for the desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20922275)

it looks like linux is going on without a single decent desktop (non-terminal) email app.

Kmail? Evolution? Claws mail? Those are just off the top of my head. And it's not like losing developers is going to make the current release of Thunderbird worse. Just keep using it. POP3 and IMAP aren't going to change any time soon.

Kmail, the one time I tried it, promptly erased all my email folders, and in any case is not very flexible.

As I have never had that problem nor have I ever known anybody who had that problem, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you just didn't know what you were doing, erased your folders by accident, and blamed it on Kmail. How would you know whether it's flexible or not, anyway, since you've only used it once, and apparently you weren't even using it right?

Re:Great! In other news, RIP linux for the desktop (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922555)

More likely scenario is this - copied mails to kmail's folders, then tried to open them. Doesn't work that way, at least if you don;t give it time to re-index - kmail will craxh. Your email is still there, but its not indexed, so you won't see it.

That being said, anyone know a better/cleaner way to import email into a newer version of kmail?

Re:Great! In other news, RIP linux for the desktop (1)

imemyself (757318) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922329)

Have you ever heard of Evolution? I've not used Linux on a desktop/laptop for about a year, but I found Ev to be the best email client by far. Honestly, I'd much rather use Evolution than Mail.app or Entourage.

Re:Great! In other news, RIP linux for the desktop (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922389)

funny, my thunderbird still fetches, reads and moves mail, and will continue to do so for a couple more years or more, and likely development will continue on it too. but you just threw up your hands and ran out and bought macs on the assumption that thunderbird would immediately explode. wow, if the manufacturer of your car laid off its chief engineer, would you immediately have it crushed and buy some competitor's car that only could take 98 octane gas sold at two stations within 100 miles?

Re:Great! In other news, RIP linux for the desktop (2, Informative)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922405)

Thunderbird is not dead, and David and Scott are leaving Mozilla, but retaining their roles as module owners of Thunderbird.

http://robert.accettura.com/archives/2007/10/08/thunderbird-in-crisis-no [accettura.com]

http://standblog.org/blog/post/2007/10/08/The-future-of-Thunderbird [standblog.org]

So (1)

Mr. Pibb (26775) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922421)

Posts like this make me feel like I'm not a nerd. Just like going to a political rally in Berkeley makes me feel like a centrist.

just in (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20922437)

I just upgraded, and I'm already seeing a 122% increase in throughput for my entire server farm.

great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20922481)

i was looking for some masturbation material, and now i have found it!

Userspace drivers? (2, Interesting)

NereusRen (811533) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922545)

a userspace driver framework
I have a question for someone better-informed than myself: Does this mean we are a step closer to not having to recompile nvidia's video drivers after installing a new kernel?

Re:Userspace drivers? (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922619)

Short answer: no.

Long answer: if NVIDIA ever makes open source drivers, they will almost definitely be kernel space drivers. Apparently this is in the works, same with ATI, but I'll believe it when it happens. It would be possible for some bored hacker to take the NVIDIA binary blobs and make a userspace driver from them. This driver could be legally distributed with the NVIDIA binary blobs (probably). And yes, this would mean that recompiling the drivers for a new kernel would not be necessary.. and it would also mean that the kernel wouldn't be "tainted" by using this driver (maybe).

I, personally, think the stability and security advantages of running binary blobs in userspace drivers outweighs the possible performance hit (no-one has measured the performance hit, yet), so it's a good idea. But, ya know, I've got some other stuff to do...

The real Linux news today. (5, Interesting)

ubiquitin (28396) | more than 6 years ago | (#20922607)

An exploit with feature-complete proof of concept [milw0rm.com] was released for x86_64 linux kernel ia32syscall emulation by cliph at isec in Poland. Exploit code was wildly popular on milw0rm [milw0rm.com] , indicating that this local exploit has lots of potential.
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