Introducing the 2.6 Kernel
The long-awaited merge of the advanced Linux sound architecture (ALSA) began in kernel 2.5.5. ALSA has a number of improvements over open sound system (OSS), the previous sound layer. Most importantly, ALSA provides a much more robust and feature-filled API than OSS. ALSA drivers and the accompanying user-space library (alsa-lib) allow for the creation of advanced audio applications with minimal effort.
ALSA supports a large number of sound devices and provides a backward-compatible OSS interface. For users who still require or prefer OSS, however, drivers most likely will remain through 2.6.
It may be a bit irresponsible to begin looking past 2.6 before it is even released. It is interesting, however, to consider what we may see (or at least want to see) in the 2.7 development kernel. With luck, we will see the long-desired tty (terminal) layer rewrite. The tty layer has grown into a large and confusing hack.
Also high on everyone's wish list is a SCSI layer rewrite. Currently, the SCSI layer is too dumb and its drivers are too smart. It also may be possible to unify parts of the IDE and SCSI layers into a generic disk layer. Whatever the case, the SCSI layer needs a bit of cleanup.
After these items, the rest is uncertain. It is risky to make any predictions; the above are mere observations on what we need today. As always, the actual work in 2.7 will depend on the itch the developers feel like scratching.
Regardless of the future, the 2.6 kernel looks great—excellent scalability, swift desktop response, improved fairness and happily cooperating VM and VFS layers.
Robert Love is a kernel hacker who works on various projects, including the preemptive kernel and the scheduler. He is a Mathematics and Computer Science student at the University of Florida and a kernel engineer at MontaVista Software. He hates fish.
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|Sharing Admin Privileges for Many Hosts Securely||Jan 28, 2015|
|Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 beta available on IBM Power Platform||Jan 23, 2015|
|Designing with Linux||Jan 22, 2015|
|Wondershaper—QOS in a Pinch||Jan 21, 2015|
- PostgreSQL, the NoSQL Database
- Sharing Admin Privileges for Many Hosts Securely
- HPC Cluster Grant Accepting Applications!
- Internet of Things Blows Away CES, and it May Be Hunting for YOU Next
- Ideal Backups with zbackup
- Wondershaper—QOS in a Pinch
- Designing with Linux
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 beta available on IBM Power Platform
- Slow System? iotop Is Your Friend
- January 2015 Issue of Linux Journal: Security
Editorial Advisory Panel
Thank you to our 2014 Editorial Advisors!
- Jeff Parent
- Brad Baillio
- Nick Baronian
- Steve Case
- Chadalavada Kalyana
- Caleb Cullen
- Keir Davis
- Michael Eager
- Nick Faltys
- Dennis Frey
- Philip Jacob
- Jay Kruizenga
- Steve Marquez
- Dave McAllister
- Craig Oda
- Mike Roberts
- Chris Stark
- Patrick Swartz
- David Lynch
- Alicia Gibb
- Thomas Quinlan
- Carson McDonald
- Kristen Shoemaker
- Charnell Luchich
- James Walker
- Victor Gregorio
- Hari Boukis
- Brian Conner
- David Lane