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Btrfs, Squashfs, and Tuz, oh my!

Mar 24, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Linus Torvalds announced that Linux 2.6.29 is available and ready for service, with a temporary new mascot in the Australian Tuz (pictured). The updated mainline kernel offers numerous driver and header updates, WiMAX support, the embedded-oriented Squashfs filesystem, and a preliminary new… Btrfs filesystem.

(Click for larger view of Tuz)

The official Linux mascot, Tux, is taking a vacation while its Australian cousin, Tuz (pictured above), fills in for awhile, reports Torvalds. The temporary mascot switcheroo was made to raise awareness (and money) for the cause of saving the endangered Tasmanian devil. In addition to the usual problems, such as loss of habitat, the marsupials are suffering from a cancer called devil facial tumor disease (DFTD). Tuz, the Australian version of Tux, was a hit at last year's conference in Australia, which was attended by Torvalds.

Some 13 weeks in development, and featuring eight pre-release versions, Linux 2.6.29 offers a wide variety of changes from everything from WiFi management to filesystems. Torvalds notes that the release is “nothing really exciting,” yet if nothing else, it heralds the debut of a development-stage version of what could be the filesystem of the future. Developed by Chris Mason, Brtfs is said to offer better fault tolerance, while providing easier administration, than Ext, which it should eventually replace.

Ext4, meanwhile, has been updated to run without a journal, and version 4.0 of the Squashfs filesystem has been added. Popular in embedded device development, Squashfs is a compressed read-only filesystem targeting general read-only use, archival use, and embedded systems where low overhead is required.

New features and major updates in Linux 2.6.29 include:

  • Brtfs debuts (preliminary version)
  • Squashfs 4.0 filesystem added
  • Ext4 non-journal mode added
  • Kernel-based Mode Setting (KMS) for improved graphics hardware handling and enhanced displays
  • m68k header updates, such as “fixing headers_install after the merge of non-MMU/MMU,” writes Torvalds
  • Filesystem freeze support
  • Tree RCU, a more scalable RCU
  • WiMAX 802.17 subsystem and drivers
  • Improved WiFi, with the Mac80211 stack now able to act as an access point
  • eCryptfs filename encryption

Soon, work on 2.6.30 will begin, reports Torvalds in his announcement. “I'll probably wait a day or two before I start actively merging,” he writes, so that people can test 2.6.29 a bit more “before all the crazy changes start up again.”


Linux Torvalds's announcement of kernel 2.6.29 and shortlog should be here, and the full changelog is here. The kernel download page should be here.

More information on the Tasmanian devil may be found at the Save the Tasmanian Devil site, here.

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