2.6.26 at last
Linus Torvalds released the 2.6.26 kernel on July 13 - somewhat later than most people had expected. At a full three months, this development cycle took longer than some others; that is especially surprising given that the number of patches merged and new features added is somewhat less than we have seen in recent development cycles. Still, at over 10,000 changesets, this is not a small release.
As always, I recommend that people wanting to know all about what’s in this release head on over to the KernelNewbies 2.6.26 page.
The new feature list for this kernel is huge. But there is a lot of good stuff there. One of my favorites is the incorporation of the kgdb debugger for the x86 architecture. Linus has been resisting the addition of an interactive debugger almost since the very beginning; he believes that such tools lead developers to focus on symptoms rather than understanding the underlying problem. But one of the things that makes Linus who he is is that he can, with effort, be convinced to change his mind. And so the developers who have long patched in kgdb from outside have finally gotten their point across: development tools help to make a better tool. Don’t expect Linus to use kgdb anytime soon, but he has at least let it into his kernel.
Now attention turns to the 2.6.27 development cycle; Linus has already started merging patches for this release. One of the more interesting things to watch will be whether the merge window process goes more smoothly this time around. 2.6.27 will be the first kernel cycle for which the linux-next tree was in full operation, so, in theory, much of the integration work has already been done. If linux-next has done its job, this merge window should come together with relatively little pain. See this article and this one for more information on the evolving role of linux-next.
And stay tuned: I’ll be back in about two weeks with a summary of what will be in the 2.6.27 kernel.