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Linux 4.12 Kernel Debuts New Schedulers in Big Release

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted July 3, 2017


Linux creator Linus Torvalds officially released the Linux 4.12 kernel on July 2, providing improved capabilities that will help improve the scalability and performance of Linux operating systems.

The 4.12 kernel is the third major Linux kernel release of 2017, and it follows the most recent April 30th Linux 4.11 kernel release. In his 4.12 kernel announcement, Torvalds commented on the large size of the Linux 4.12 release.

"As mentioned over the various rc announcements, 4.12 is one of the bigger releases historically, and I think only 4.9 ends up having had more commits," Torvalds wrote. "And 4.9 was big at least partly because Greg announced it was an LTS kernel. But 4.12 is just plain big."

The Commits That Make Linux 4.12 'Just Plain Big'

In terms of where the bulk of 4.12 code is coming from, Torvalds identified new header files for the AMD Vega GPU.

Linux 4.12 also introduces a pair of new scheduling systems for Linux, including the Budget Fair Queuing (BFQ) I/O scheduler.

"BFQ grants exclusive access to the device, for a while, to one queue (process) at a time, and implements this service model by associating every queue with a budget, measured in number of sectors," developer Paolo Valente wrote in his commit message.

The other new scheduler is the Kyber I/O scheduler.

"The Kyber I/O scheduler is an I/O scheduler for fast devices designed to scale to multiple queues," Facebook developer Omar Sandoval wrote in his commit message. "Users configure only two knobs, the target read and synchronous write latencies, and the scheduler tunes itself to achieve that latency goal."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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