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Linux 2.6.26 brings embedded improvements

Jul 15, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

A new stable kernel is out. Three months in the making, Linux 2.6.26 boasts read-only bind mounts, “big-iron” KVM ports, USB webcam support, 802.11s mesh WiFi, built-in support for remote kernel debugging, and a host of embedded architecture improvements, among other enhancements.

(Click for larger graphical view of Linux 2.6.26)

The newest stable kernel release was announced by Linux originator Linus Torvalds last Sunday. It brings 330MB of source code, via a 48.3MB bzip2-compressed download. Salient for embedded developers are a host of chip- and board-specific improvements, along with several interesting “big ticket” feature additions, such as built-in support for remote kernel debugging using KGDB.

Kernel Hacking options in make menuconfig
(Click to enlarge)

As usual, Kernel Newbies has published a detailed list of new features, here. Some of the more interesting items for embedded developers include:

  • Built-in support for remote debugging using KGDB
  • Ports of KVM to Itanium (IA64), S390, and PowerPC 440, plus lots of new KVM features such as x86 hardware task switching
  • USB Video Class driver for better webcam support
  • 802.11n improvements, and 802.11s mesh networking support via Open80211s
  • Read-only bind mounts (story)
  • Better documentation for real-time scheduling options
  • Improvements in EXT4 (still an “experimental” feature)

In addition, the new kernel boasts a bevy of architecture-specific enhancements, including:

  • Explicit board support for:
  • Frequency scaling, NO_HZ on Blackfin
  • Kernel preemption on ColdFire
  • Tons of driver additions and improvements
  • Radeon r500 initial support
  • PXA3xx audio and NAND controller drivers
  • Asus EEE PC power management features (backlight, hwmon fan control)
  • Atmel AT25DF641 SPI flash support
  • Hardware ECC controller on Atmel AT91SAM9263 and AT91SAM9260

As usual, the latest version of the kernel can be found by fingering linux at, i.e. finger [email protected]. The 2.6.26 kernel can be downloaded via ftp here (sig file here.) A complete changelog is here.

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