Tickless Linux Kernel

Aron Schatz
June 25, 2007

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Strange development in the Kernel camp. They have developed a tickless kernel to combat power usage. Normally, the kernel will check for work to be done. In this case, the kernel waits until the hardware says it has work. Interesting.


"The re-engineering has mostly been done," said Linux leader Linus Torvalds of the new kernel. And for higher-level software, PowerTop has been "invaluable, he added. "A lot of people and (Linux) distributions are actually interested in this, so the user applications do seem to be getting fixed." There's more work to be done, but the progress has been measurable, said Arjan van de Ven, a longtime kernel programmer now working at Intel. "What we see in our lab today is that Linux on a laptop consumes 15 percent to 25 percent less power during idle than a code base of about three months ago," he said.


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