Last Sunday, Linus Torvalds announced the release of the latest Linux 4.14 kernel. Although the release was made with a lack of fanfare(Linus's usual way), the aftermath of the release has raised a lot of speculation among the Linux users.
He opened by saying “it is probably worth pointing out how the 0day robot has been getting even better (it was very useful before, but Fengguang has been working on making it even better, and reporting the problems it has found).” Said robot is an automated vulnerability-checker that scours kernel code for issues. With version 4.14 slated to be the next kernel version to receive Long Term Support, and that support now running for six years instead of two, a more secure release will be widely welcome.
Also in version 4.14 you'll find: Heterogeneous Memory Management, which will allow GPUs to access an application's memory space. The addition should make Linux a far better platform for GPU-intensive applications like machine learning; No kernel firmware in the tree, as the powers that be feel it doesn't belong there; Improvements from Red Hat to make Linux a better Hyper-V guest; Preparation for Intel's forthcoming Cannonlake processors; A vibrator driver. No. Not that sort of vibrator! This one's for the buzzer in Motorola's forthcoming Droid 4 phone;
That changes everything for Linux device developers. As Google senior staff engineer Iliyan Malchev recently said, "All Android devices [...] are based of the LTS kernel. The problem with LTS is it's only two years. And so, by the time the first devices on a SoC [System on a Chip] hit the market, you have maybe a year, if you're lucky, of LTS support. And, if you're not, it's over." Now, Internet of Things (IoT), smartphone, and embedded Linux device developers can build gear knowing that it's operating system will be supported until 2023.
Linus also shared an interesting information on how the Kernel had to undergo a last minute change which involved the reverting of the code that showed a good MHz value in /proc/cpuinfo even for the modern 'CPU picks frequency dynamically' case. Since it was considered expensive when tens or hundreds of CPU cores were to be in picture, it was changed.
Torvalds has declared this release “painful” and urged kernel devs to get their pull releases for version 4.15 in sooner rather than latter. Stragglers will be told “tough luck, you were late to the merge window, and I felt more like being out in the sun than taking your second-week pull request.”
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