Lately, most of the improvements in the Linux kernel have been for server users. In the latest release though, Linux 2.6.31, most of the best goodies are for Linux desktop users. Here’s my list of the top five improvements.
1) USB 3 Support. This is the big one. We’ve been connecting our devices to our PCs with USB ports instead of serial or parallel ports for some time now, and that’s been good. USB 2.0 has a maximum throughput of 480Mbps (Megabits per second). That’s fast, but these days, when you might want to move a gigabyte plus of movie from one device to another, it’s not fast enough. So, the USB vendors have been working on USB 3.0, which is almost 10-times faster than USB 2.
How fast? USB 3 can run at an effective throughput rate of 350MBps (Megabytes per second). USB 2.0 maxes out at about 32MBps. That’s faster than the SATA hard drive you are almost certainly currently using in your PC. USB 3 devices, which will go by the trade name of SuperSpeed USB, will start appearing by the year’s end.
What’s especially interesting about Linux supporting these new devices is that Linux is actually ahead of Windows and Mac OS X in supporting these super-speed hard drives, USB-flash drives and the like. Neither Windows 7 nor Snow Leopard currently supports USB 3.