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Linux 3.2 goes bigtime on file systems, improves thin provisioning
Jan. 06, 2012

Linus Torvalds announced the release of the Linux 3.2 kernel, featuring file-system enhancements such as support for Ext4 block sizes up to 1MB, and faster Btrfs scrubbing. Linux 3.2 also adds some process scheduler improvements, better thin provisioning support, and new Wi-Fi, graphics, and DSP drivers.

Linux 3.2 refocuses on a central concern of kernel enhancements: the file-systems. One of the most prominent new features is the addition of large file support on the mainstream Ext4 file system. Ext4 now supports block sizes larger than 4KB and as big as 1MB. The Btrfs file system, meanwhile, has been updated with faster scrubbing, manual inspection tools, and other improvements.

Elsewhere, the process scheduler now offers a process bandwidth controller that provides support for setting upper limits of CPU time. In addition, desktop responsiveness has been improved for heavy data write-back applications, using a technique called "I/O-less dirty throttling," according to the changelog.

In networking, the TCP stack now includes an algorithm that speeds the recovery of the connection after lost packets. In addition, the Linux 3.2 kernel's Device Mapper has added support for thin provisioning of storage, providing for greater flexibility and efficiency in provisioning storage capacity to multiple users.

A more complete report on Linux 3.2, including new driver changes, may be found at LinuxDevices.

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