Linux is a free and open source operating system. However, Linux (and another open source operating system) can use and load device drivers without publicly available source code. These are vendor-compiled binary drivers without any source code and known as Binary Blobs. Die hard open source fans and Free Software Foundation (FSF) recommends completely removing all proprietary components including blobs. In this post, I will list seven best Linux distribution that meets the FSF’s strict guidelines and contains no proprietary components such as firmware and drivers.
Linux kernel version 2.6.28 has been released and available for download. The new version includes following stable and new features:
a] ext4 file system – The ext4 filesystem can support volumes with sizes up to 1 exbibyte and files with sizes up to 16 TiB. ext4 removes ext3 64-bit storage limits and adds other performance improvements.
b] Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) – It is a a modern memory manager specialized for use in device drivers for graphics chipsets. It manages graphics memory, controls the execution context and manages the Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) environment on modern graphics chipsets. The “xf86-video-intel” device driver will feature GEM integration.
c] Other features – Stable USB drivers, KVM, bug fixes and other stuff.
=> Download Linux kernel 2.6.28 here. You may also find our kernel compile tutorial useful.
The latest beta of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution offers updated features and good support for new Linux user. It appears that Ubuntu is getting ready for masses. From the article:
If there is a single complaint that is laid at the feet of Linux time and time again, it’s that the operating system is too complicated and arcane for casual computer users to tolerate. You can’t ask newbies to install device drivers or recompile the kernel, naysayers argue.
Of course, many of those criticisms date back to the bad old days, but Ubuntu, the user-friendly distribution sponsored by Mark Shuttleworth’s Canonical Ltd., has made a mission out of dispelling such complaints entirely.
Read from sockets to device drivers Linux networking stack:
One of the greatest features of the Linux operating system is its networking stack. It was initially a derivative of the BSD stack and is well organized with a clean set of interfaces. Its interfaces range from the protocol agnostics, such as the common sockets layer interface or the device layer, to the specific interfaces of the individual networking protocols. This article explores the structure of the Linux networking stack from the perspective of its layers and also examines some of its major structures.
Anatomy of the Linux networking stack
A device driver is computer program allowing other computer programs to interact with a computer hardware device. Writing a Linux device driver is considered as a black art by many. If you ever been tempted to try writing a device driver, this howto will serve as a kick start guide:
For many seasoned Linux developers, device drivers still remain a bit of a mysterious black art practiced by a select few. While no single article could possibly attempt to covered everything there is to know about writing drivers, Valerie Henson gives us a brief taste of what’s involved, by implementing a device to return “Hello World” using all the major driver frameworks.
On a related note if you just want get a comprehensive overview of kernel configuration and building, a critical task for Linux users and administrators, try Linux Kernel in a Nutshell
/dev/hello_world: A Simple Introduction to Device Drivers under Linux (linuxdevcenter.com)
A question from my email bag – How do you find out all drivers loaded by FreeBSD kernel?