Check out UEK-next, now updated to the 6.9 kernel

July 3, 2024 | 2 minute read
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The latest update to uek-next is ready to install, update to the 6.9 kernel! Read more at our Release Notes, which cover installation and configuration for the kernel.

Want to learn more about UEK-next's configuration and packages? Read more about the configs used to build the package on our blog, or browse them yourself at our live kernel-config browser tool.

UEK-next doesn't ship alone: we also include a number of userspace packages that help reveal the full functionality of upstream Linux like updated btrfs and xfs packages. Review the full set of userspace packages here at our new public instance of repowatch, the yum repository browser.

Browse the source changes in git to learn more about what Oracle Linux features are, well, featured in uek-next. It's all public in our git commit history.

What's Inside UEK-next 6.9

Oracle's Linux developers have been working on and tuning the Linux kernel's scheduler for many years. You'll see a number of commits to uek-next pertaining to the scheduler in our commit log, but not the bigger changes like Soft Affinity, which we tried to introduce in 2017 and 2019. Those larger changes aren't in uek-next because they aren't upstream, and we're still working with the community to find an acceptable way to introduce soft affinity.

We're very careful about what we put in our production UEK releases, especially when it comes to core elements of the kernel like the scheduler. The scheduler changes in UEK today are relatively small; many of our larger scheduler changes have been under discussion with the scheduler community for years. But we want to avoid having patches in UEK that are not compatible with upstream, and which could prevent us from being able to uptake a new version of upstream into uek-next. And so changes like soft affinity continue to be development projects and not yet available in production.

One change that isn't upstream yet, but is part of uek-next, is the pluggable scheduling framework sched_ext. Linus appears ready to pull that work into 6.11, we've been experimenting with sched_ext for a few release cycles now. UEK-next is our vehicle for getting previews out to our early adopters, therefore we have it in uek-next as well. (NB: uek-next has the pluggable framework, not necessarily the schedulers themselves yet)

If you haven't read about sched_ext yet, take a look at this article on LWN and David Vernet's (Meta) talk at Kernel Recipes from last summer. Sched_ext is a couple years old now, and has shown promise in a number of workloads. We're exploring how the availability of pluggable schedulers can enable rapid development of scheduler enhancements, and how pluggable schedulers may create a path for scheduler changes which introduce performance tradeoffs to be used only in cases where the tradeoffs would benefit the system's workloads.

Conclusion

There's a lot of new and exciting work in upstream Linux today. Download 6.9 uek-next from our yum repository and stay tuned for uek-next for 6.10, which will have a feature I'm personally excited about, XFS Online Filesystem Repair!

Greg Marsden


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