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Latest Linux Hits Networking Flaws - InternetNews.
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Latest Linux Hits Networking Flaws

The latest Linux 2.6.27 kernel release is out with support for Webcams as well as a new file system for SSDs (solid state disks) among its improvements.

The continued evolution of Linux overall is about pushing the envelope of technology capabilities as it battles for mind and market share against Windows and Unix.

"The 2.6.27 kernel changes for the most part encompass bug fixes and driver updates, and continue the Linux tradition of performance and stability," Fedora Project Leader Paul Frields told InternetNews.com.

"One update that is quite important and timely for advanced users is the bug fix for the Intel e1000e network interface driver," he added.

"This particular bug is fairly pernicious because it can result in corruption of the interface's EEPROM [electrically erasable programmable read-only memory] data, making it impossible for the user to restore network connectivity for the system."

The e1000e network interface flaw appeared during the release candidate stage of the 2.6.27 kernel release process. Frields noted that systems requiring this driver are fairly numerous, so the affected population is significant.

Novell openSUSE community manager Joe Brockmeier explained his take on the e1000e flaw.

"It was a bit more serious because it involved hardware corruption, whereas typical bugs only cause crashes or security problems, which are not trivial in a production kernel. But those kinds of bugs are what we are looking for in testing kernels," Brockmeier told InternetNews.com. "It's very rare for bugs to actually cause hardware damage of any sort."

Brockmeier added that in his view the distros and kernel community moved very quickly and responsibly on this issue and it seems to be addressed at this point. Neither Novell nor Red Hat expects that the e1000 flaw will affect any users of the final release.

The Linux 2.6.27 kernel also introduces some new user visible features that will make Linux more usable for desktop users. Linux kernel contributor Jonathan Corbet told InternetNews.com that one such feature is the inclusion of new Web cam drivers.

"With those in place Linux now supports just about every webcam that's out there which traditionally has not been the case," Corbet told InternetNews.com." That's going to be a big user visible feature that a lot of people will like."

Corbet is also the author of the Linux Foundations' Linux Weather Report, which details upcoming events in the kernel. He authored a recent Linux Foundation report on how to contribute to the Linux kernel.

Users of Solid State Disks (SSDs) may want to check out Linux 2.6.27, as it includes a new file system for SSDs. Corbet noted that the new file system is really important because SSD storage is growing and increasingly getting to the point where it will be displacing traditional disk drives.

"SSD storage has different requirement in terms of how you drive and operate it, so we're now coming around to being able to do a really good job with that kind of media," Corbet said.