Tuesday, March 22, 2016

util-linux v2.28 -- what's new?

The release v2.28 does not contain any dramatical changes and huge improvements. It's another release to keep users happy and absorb new features provided by kernel. We all love this kind of release, right? :-)

The fdisk programs (sfdisk, cfdisk and fdisk) have been improved to wipe old filesystem, RAID and partition tables from the device before libfdisk writes a new partition table.

The fdisk-like programs traditionally care about begin of the device, but it's insufficient. This new feature has been introduced to avoid collisions between new partition table and old unwanted signatures and it's possible to control it by --wipe[=auto|never|always]. For backward compatibility on non-terminals (non interactive fdisk execution) the feature is disabled by default.

We have a new command lsns, see http://karelzak.blogspot.cz/2015/12/lsns8-new-command-to-list-linux.html and sfdisk provides new functionality, see: http://karelzak.blogspot.cz/2015/09/whats-cooking-in-sfdisk-for-v228.html
Linux kernel 3.14 is really not a hot news, but standard Linux userspace still does not support DEADLINE scheduler. chrt since v2.28 supports the DEADLINE scheduling class and the new options --sched-runtime --sched-period and --sched-deadline.

The command logger supports RFC 5424 structured data through the new options --sd-id and --sd-param. For example:
   logger --rfc5424 --sd-id zoo@123     \  
          --sd-param tiger=\"hungry\"   \            
          --sd-param zebra=\"running\"  \            
          --sd-id manager@123           \            
          --sd-param onMeeting=\"yes\"  \            
          "this is message"
 <13>1 2015-10-01T14:07:59.168662+02:00 ws kzak - - [timeQuality tzKnown="1" isSynced="1" syncAccuracy="218616"][zoo@123 tiger="hungry" zebra="running"][manager@123 onMeeting="yes"] this is message

The library libsmartcols has been massively improved (thanks to Igor Gnatenko for testing and reviews). Now it's possible to specify title for table, table supports multi-line cells, it's possible to print subset of table and the library supports continuous printing.

Igor works on Python binding, it's available at https://github.com/ignatenkobrain/python-smartcols.

The portability of the util-linux package is not our primary goal, but in many cases port code to the another libc or another operation system (if possible) is a way how to detect code disadvantages, obsolete functions etc. v2.28 is possible to compile on OSX and improved has been also support for kFreeBSD and GNU Hurd (of course you cannot compile Linux specific stuff, but build-system is smart enough to automatically disable utils irrelevant for your OS).

This is in connection with our regression tests suite, where many things have been improved to make the tests more stable in all random environments. (thanks to Ruediger Meier).

The complete list of all changes (~480 patches) is at

and in details at: http://ftp.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/util-linux/v2.28/v2.28-rc1-ChangeLog

Thanks to all (~40) contributors!