The Linux kernel 3.1 has been officially launched by project founder Linux Torvalds, and there’s one particular feature that should cause a stir in maker and hacker circles: support for the OpenRISC architecture.
As of Linux 3.1, support for the OpenRISC family of open source GPL-licensed processors is now built-in to the kernel, making it significantly easier to get software up and running on the chips.
While the OpenRISC hardware doesn’t rival processors from the likes of ARM, Intel or AMD for performance – current implementations of an OpenRISC 1200 design with 32KB of cache on a Xilinx ML501 achieve around 67 points on the CoreMark benchmark at 50MHz – it’s a promising project for anyone interested in microprocessor design.
In addition, support for Near-Field Communications – NFC, short range radio chips designed for inter-device communication in mobile applications – has been baked in, along with the ability to address a Nintendo WiiMote controller as a human interface device.
The new kernel is available now from Kernel.org.