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Old 05-01-2017, 11:13 AM   #1
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The 4.11 Linux kernel has been released

So after that extra week with an rc8, things were pretty calm, and I'm
much happier releasing a final 4.11 now.

We still had various smaller fixes the last week, but nothing that
made me go "hmm..". Shortlog appended for people who want to peruse
the details, but it's a mix all over, with about half being drivers
(networking dominates, but some sound fixlets too), with the rest
being soem arch updates, generic networking, and filesystem (nfs[d])
fixes. But it's all really small, which is what I like to see the last
week of the release cycle.

And with this, the merge window is obviously open. I already have two
pull request for 4.12 in my inbox, I expect that overnight I'll get a
lot more.

From LWN:
The 4.11 kernel has been released. "So after that extra week with an rc8, things were pretty calm, and I'm much happier releasing a final 4.11 now." Some headline features in 4.11 include: a new perf ftrace command restarting the work of better integrating the perf and ftrace subsystems, I/O scheduling support for the multiqueue block subsystem, journaling for device-mapper RAID 4/5/6 volumes, SipHash support, some swapping scalability improvements, a new LZ4 compression implementation, the new statx() system call, and more. As always, see the KernelNewbies 4.11 page for lots of details.
As always, KernelNewbies has a great overall summary:

1. Prominent features
1.1. Pluggable IO schedulers framework in the multiqueue block layer

The Linux block layer is know to have different IO schedulers (deadline, cfq, noop, etc) with different performance characteristics each one, and users are allowed to switch between them on the fly. In Linux 3.13, the block layer added a new multiqueue design that performs better with modern hardware (eg. SSD, NVM). However, this new multiqueue design didn't include support for pluggable IO schedulers.

This release solves that problem with the merge of a multiqueue-ready IO scheduling framework. A port of the deadline scheduler has also been added (more IO schedulers will be added in the future)

Code: merge, commit
1.2. Scalable swapping for SSDs

Modern storage devices such as SSDs are making the usage of swapping attractive not just as a way to deal with excessive memory load, but also as a performance enhancement technique. Cloud providers, for example, can overcommit memory more aggressively and fit more VMs to a platform with a fast swap device. However, the swapping implementation was designed for traditional rotating hard disks, where the performance and latency of the swap did not matter as much as it does with modern storage. This release makes the swap implementation more scalable, making it more suitable for use with modern storage devices.

Recommended LWN article: Making swapping scalable

Code: commit, commit, commit, commit, commit, commit, commit, commit, commit
1.3. Journaled RAID5 to close the write hole

Based in work started in Linux 4.4, this release adds journalling support to RAID4/5/6 in the MD layer (not to be confused with btrfs RAID). With a journal device configured (typically NVRAM or SSD), the "RAID5 write hole" is closed - a crash during degraded operations cannot result in data corruption.

Recommended LWN article: A journal for MD/RAID5

Blog entry: Improving software RAID with a write-ahead log

Code: commit
1.4. statx(2), a modern stat(2) alternative

Due to several shortcomings in the stat(2) system call (like not being y2038 ready or not playing well with networking filesystems), a new system call has been worked through the years, with the final result being statx(2), a new system call that has been added in this release.

Recommended LWN article: statx() v3

Code: commit
1.5. New perf ftrace tool

A new tool has been added to the perf toolkit: perf ftrace. This tool intends to be a simple perf front-end for the already existing ftrace interface. In this release, it only supports two tracers, function_graph or function (default tracer is function_graph, it can be configured in the ftrace.tracer config key). Only single thread tracing and the tool just reads trace_pipe in text and then write it to stdout. More features are expected in future releases.

Code: commit, commit, commit
1.6. Support for OPAL drives

The Opal Storage Specification is a set of specifications for features of data storage devices (such as disk drives) that enhance their security. For example, it defines a way of encrypting the stored data so that an unauthorized person who gains possession of the device cannot see the data. That is, it is a specification for self-encrypting drives.

This release adds Linux support for Opal nvme enabled controllers. It enables users to setup/unlock/lock locking ranges for SED devices using the Opal protocol.

Code: commit, commit
1.7. Support for the SMC-R protocol (RFC7609)

This release includes the initial part of the implementation of the "Shared Memory Communications-RDMA" (SMC-R) protocol as defined in RFC7609. SMC-R is an IBM protocol that provides RDMA capabilities over RoCE transparently for applications exploiting TCP sockets. While SMC-R does not aim to replace TCP, it taps a wealth of existing data center TCP socket applications to become more efficient without the need for rewriting them. A new socket protocol family PF_SMC is introduced. There are no changes required to applications using the sockets API for TCP stream sockets other than the specification of the new socket family AF_SMC. Unmodified applications can be used by means of a dynamic preload shared library.

SMC-R uses RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) to save CPU consumption. SMC-R inherits TCP qualities such as reliable connections, host-based firewall packet filtering (on connection establishment) and unmodified application of communication encryption such as TLS (transport layer security) or SSL (secure sockets layer). Since original TCP is used to establish SMC-R connections, load balancers and packet inspection based on TCP/IP connection establishment continue to work for SMC-R.

RFC: RFC7609

Code: merge
1.8. Persistent scrollback buffers for all VGA consoles


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