LINUX FOUNDER Linus Torvalds has announced availability of the Linux 3.1 kernel, which offers improved support for AMD, Intel and Nvidia GPUs and the OpenRISC processor architecture.
Torvalds announced the availability of Linux 3.0 just three months ago but the pace of Linux kernel development is relentless. Yesterday Torvalds announced Linux 3.1. Among the highlights are support for OpenRISC, Nintendo's Wii and near-field communications, along with improved support for AMD, Intel and Nvidia GPUs.
In Torvald's release statement he mentioned that the merge window for Linux 3.2 is now open. Traditionally the 'odd minor version numbers', such as Linux 2.1, 2.3 and 2.5 used to serve as proving grounds for features that ended up in the production oriented 'even numbered' releases. However that won't stop some distributions from using Linux 3.1 in order to get the benefits of the leading edge, and it's not entirely clear that Torvalds will maintain the tick-tock cadence.
For most Linux users the availability of Linux 3.1 won't mean much until their favoured distribution decides to integrate it into a release. With Canonical releasing Ubuntu 11.10 earlier this month, it will be at least five months before that company considers shipping a major kernel update to its users, while Red Hat's Fedora 16, which is expected to be released early next month could be the first major Linux distribution to ship with Linux 3.1.
Nevertheless, talking about Linux 3.1 is likely to keep Torvalds busy while he is at Linuxcon from tomorrow. µ
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