Linux Kernel 3.3 Re-Integrates Android

Linus Torvalds has released version 3.3 of the Linux kernel, which includes added networking and hardware support and also re-integrates Google’s Android code.

The decision to merge Android back into the mainstream Linux kernel was taken at the Kernel Summit in December of last year, and is expected to be a significant improvement for developers looking to support or build on Google’s Android code base.

Code merger

Android includes extensions designed particularly for mobile devices and some believed Google’s approach could not be reconciled with that of mainstream kernel developers.

The fact that this has been achieved means developers can now create non-Android Linux-based devices using Google’s modifications. It also means that an Android device could boot from Linux 3.3 with no modifications to the code, Linux developers have said.

The kernel adds Open vSwitch, a virtual switching package, which is intended to replace the existing Linux bridge in cases where more complex switching is needed, such as in virtualised server environments.

TI hardware support

Support for Texas Instruments’ TI C6X hardware architecture has been added, as well as EFI boot support, improvements to the way network traffic is handled, and updates for memory management, cryptography and security.

In October Torvalds released Linux 3.1, adding advanced virtualisation features, support for the open source OpenRISC processor architecture, near-field communications (NFC) and support for Nintendo Wii motion-control devices, among other features.

Last week Oracle announced the general availability of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 for Oracle Linux, including performance and scalability enhancements that allowed Oracle to achieve record database benchmark results, the company said. Based on the 3.0.16 mainline kernel, Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 also includes improved memory and resource management, and is optimised to be deployed as a virtual guest.

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Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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