Linux LogoFor all the geeks out there following the evolution of the Linux kernel, there is a lot of work coming the last few months with desktop optimisations which really make the Desktop Systems 10-60 times more responsive. More responsive means faster for real time applications.

The source of those speed gains is actually patch than only has 200 lines of code as described by the phoronix article here. The wonders of that patch are not unoticed by the father of Linux, Linus Torvalds, which he praised on an e-mail:

[div3 class="quote" class2="quote-l" class3="quote-r"][blockquote]Yeah. And I have to say that I'm (very happily) surprised by just how small that patch really ends up being, and how it's not intrusive or ugly either.

I'm also very happy with just what it does to interactive performance. Admittedly, my "testcase" is really trivial (reading email in a web-browser, scrolling around a bit, while doing a "make -j64" on the kernel at the same time), but it's a test-case that is very relevant for me. And it is a _huge_ improvement.

It's an improvement for things like smooth scrolling around, but what I found more interesting was how it seems to really make web pages load a lot faster. Maybe it shouldn't have been surprising, but I always associated that with network performance. But there's clearly enough of a CPU load when loading a new web page that if you have a load average of 50+ at the same time, you _will_ be starved for CPU in the loading process, and probably won't get all the http requests out quickly enough.

So I think this is firmly one of those "real improvement" patches. Good job. Group scheduling goes from "useful for some specific server loads" to "that's a killer feature".



Just watch the following videos or read the article of Phoronix to understand the importance og this patch:

Latest kernel without the patch

Latest kernel with the patch

Some people may wonder if there is any relevance of Linux with Mobile OS's like Symbian and Maemo/MeeGo.Most of the mobile OS's on the wild including Google's Android, Samsung's Bada, Palm's WebOS, Nokia's Maemo as well as the follow up MeeGo use a Linux Kernel either modified or just stripped down. So any changes on the kernel may make an impact on the mobile OS's that are out there.

Symbian on the other hand is not using the Linux kernel but the successor of the Epoc OS, an OS that was made specifically for ARM processors and was infamous for it's efficiency and excellent power management and till now, even as Symbian, the power efficiency is superior but the memory management is lacking behind Linux.

The changes of the above patch will be available on the next kernel release, version 2.6.38. Considering that the latest stable distributions are on 2.6.37 and that the latest versions of Android and MeeGo are using the 2.6.35 we calculate that we will see this kernel used on the new versions of MeeGO and Android in about a year from now. The question that rises is actually how much of an impact will this patch make on Android, as Android is not actually using any of Desktop technologies other than the kernel. Also how will this affect the power management of the OS and how well will be against Symbian?

We either have to wait for that to see or maybe the community of Maemo will do some work in porting that patch on N900!