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Torvalds hits 'Go' button for Linux 3.15

Future 72-core Atom chippery now supported in Penguin-land

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Linus Torvalds has pressed the “Go” button on version 3.15 of the Linux kernel.

The new release will be welcomed by gamers and laptop owners, as the operating system is now said to suspend and resume operations rather more quickly. There's also support for Sony's DualShock 4 controller and improved drivers for some graphics cards.

On a more serious note, there's now support for the AVX-512 instructions expected to debut in Intel's 2015 “Knight's Landing” many core architecture chippery, which will bring up to 72 Atom cores onto a single board.

Knight's Landing's predecessor, Knight's Corner, was aimed at and became a success in the HPC market. But with ARM enthusiasts like Cavium now touting 96-core motherboards with miserly power slurping requirements as a way to run everyday workloads, Intel may need a rival in the small, dense server market.

With Linux ready to travel to Knight's Landing, Chipzilla can reassure its HPC customers and start to combat ARM-powered would-be-hyperscale operators.

Torvalds has already opened the merge window for Linux 3.16 and says he started that effort a week before 3.15 slipped out the door. It's unusual for the last week of work on a kernel release to overlap with a new version's merge window and Torvalds wrote on the kernel mailing list that “I'd want to necessarily do the overlap every time, without a good specific reason for doing so. It was kind of nice being productive during the last week or rc (which is usually quite boring and dead), but I think it might be a distraction when people should be worrying about the stability of the rc.”

But the Linux daddy has left open the possibility of future overlaps in the following request for feedback:

“Of course, maybe the overlap ends up meaning that we get less noise during the last week of stabilization, and it actually helps. It could go either way. I'd be interested to hear what people thought, although I _suspect_ most people don't feel strongly either way.”

Linux 3.16 is expected to add extra support for 64-bit ARM chippery and improved Xen-on-ARM performance. Samsung's Exynos SoCs will also get some love, as will plenty of audio and graphics drivers. ®

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