Zack's Kernel News

Firmware Git Repository

Following up on a general effort to remove binary-only firmware from the kernel sources, David Woodhouse announced a new git repository for firmware, which will include not only the firmware that has been distributed with the kernel sources, but also any firmware that vendors want to make readily available to Linux users.

New FireWire Wiki

Stefan Richter has also been active on the documentation front. He created a new FireWire wiki on to replace the old one from after that one had become overrun with spammers posting their own URLs on the site.

The new wiki is better maintained and, by now, more up to date than the old one.

New Snapshotting Filesystem

Ryusuke Konishi announced the NILFS2 filesystem, a new versioning filesystem that snapshots all data continuously. This makes it possible to immediately recover files that have been accidentally deleted or altered. Ryusuke did a lot of work on this project earlier, but because of problems with the coding style, it required a lot of rewriting before he was ready to submit it for inclusion in the main tree.

Although Ryusuke points out that the code is still fairly immature, Andrew Morton is enthusiastic about the project and has included it in his own tree for wider testing. The filesystem is very fast, although as Andrew points out, its speed might diminish over time because it has to handle more and more snapshotted data. Time will tell on that score.

In the meantime, a bunch of other folks started reviewing the code. Andi Kleen asked how stable the on-disk data format was. Presumably the filesystem would only be accepted into the main tree after its format had stabilized; otherwise, Linux would have to support the old format as well. Ryusuke's reply to Andi was that the disk format was "almost stable." He was hopeful that he wouldn't have to make any changes that would harm compatibility with itself. But this too would depend on the feedback he got from other kernel developers and users.

Overall it looks like quite a useful project, with a bunch of interested folks already working on getting it into a mergeable state, although probably it will stay in Andrew's tree for quite awhile before migrating over to mainline.

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