Jon Corbet Mulls Linux Kernel Changes

What features will we find in the 3.9 kernel?

We’ll get support for the ARC and Metag processor architectures. The “dm-crypt” subsystem enables the use of a fast (solid-state) drive as a front-end cache for slower storage. The ARM architecture now supports virtualization with KVM. User namespaces now work with almost all filesystems, making it possible to enable this feature in almost any kernel (though that may not yet be a wise thing to do).

What other new features are coming down the pike this year?

Some of the more interesting work on the horizon may be the various solutions to the problem of scheduling on ARM big.LITTLE systems. The Linux scheduler was never written with asymmetric processors in mind, so it currently does not know how to schedule tasks to take advantage of the big.LITTLE architecture. The two existing patch sets try to solve this problem in very different ways; the “big LITTLE MP” work, in particular, will be the beginning of a new push to make the scheduler more power aware.

We will see the continuation of the ARM architecture cleanup work and, probably, true multiplatform ARM kernels for the first time. The integration of the Android code into the mainline will also continue.