Kernel Log: Coming in 3.4 (Part 1) - Infrastructure

Information
2012-May-01 | Tags: centosdebianfedoralinuxmintubuntu

Start64!The x32 ABI promises to make the advantages of x86-64 CPUs accessible while avoiding the overhead that comes with 64-bit code. Version 3.4 of the kernel will improve the power-saving capabilities of Xen. The new Yama module prevents processes from examining the memory of other processes.

Last weekend, Linus Torvalds published the fifth release candidate for Linux 3.4; one to three further RCs will likely follow before the final release of this kernel version, which is expected to arrive in the second half of May.

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From Linux 3.4, kernels that are compiled for x86-64/x64 processors can offer an "x32" ABI (Application Binary Interface) to programs (1 and others). Programs compiled for this ABI can access the 64-bit registers and data paths of 64-bit processors, but they only use 32-bit pointers – which are sufficient for many typical tasks and use less memory than 64-bit pointers.

Broadly speaking, this allows programs which are compiled for the x32 ABI to avoid the overhead that comes with full 64-bit operation while enabling them to benefit from some of the major advantages of 64-bit x86 processors. The latter is not possible when 32-bit x86 programs (x86-32/ix86) are executed on x86-64 distributions, a capability Linux has offered since the early days of its 64-bit x86 support.


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