"Btrfs is a fully featured file system and I think the consensus will be that it will be the future default file system for Linux," Leunissen said.
With regard to memory usage, the Linux kernel now can automatically organize memory blocks in larger segments, which, in turn, reduces the amount of processing needed for memory management. This version of the kernel is also the first with built-in support for the Xen hypervisor, which should speed performance of virtual guests using that hypervisor.
In addition to these updates, Oracle's version of the kernel will feature two notable technical previews of technologies being planned for future editions of the software. While neither technology is ready for production use, both can be tested by administrators who want to plan for the future.
One new feature is a built-in DTrace module. DTrace is a tool for dynamically tracing program threads as they run. Long available for the Oracle Solaris operating system, this highly regarded debugging tool has been coveted by Linux developers, who have long wished for a version of the software for Linux.
Also borrowing from Solaris is another preview technology called Linux Containers. Like Solaris Containers, Linux Containers allow multiple isolated Linux deployments to run, in a low-overhead virtualized mode, on the same kernel. The administrator can set the amount of resources each virtualized deployment, or container, may use.
This new kernel, based on Linux 3.0.16, can be installed on version 5 or 6 of Oracle Linux. Oracle Linux is based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution. This version of the kernel provides all the same RHEL functionality to end-user applications. Oracle also maintains a version of its kernel that is 100 percent internally compatible with Red Hat's own kernel.
Oracle is not alone in updating its Linux distribution with the latest mainline kernel. Last month, Suse updated its Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), which also takes advantage of the many new features in Linux 3.0 as well.
Once Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 has been installed on a server, administrators can apply future security updates using the Oracle Ksplice software, eliminating the need to reboot the server.