The latest version of the Linux kernel, 2.6.16, has been released with updates supporting Sun's Niagara chips and a popular family of Broadcom Wi-Fi chipsets, among other changes.

The kernel was last updated in early January, a change which included improved support for InfiniBand.

The latest update, nicknamed "Crazed Snow-Weasel", is substantial, with two of the main improvements being Niagara support and support for wireless cards based on the Broadcom 43xx-series chipset, provided by the bcm43xx project. The chipset is embedded in many laptops and cards, including Apple's AirPort Extreme.

Other changes include improvements in support for the H.323 videoconferencing standard, on-the-fly RAID5 array resizing, user-space software suspend, and the addition of the splice(), vmsplice(), tee() and sync_file_range() system calls.

The update includes a new scheduler domain optimising CPU scheduling decisions for multi-core chips, which should further improve Linux's handling on modern hardware.

In May, Devicescape Software, a company with a history of developing Wi-Fi software for embedded devices, released its Linux wireless LAN driver software to open-source developers. The move may ultimately see native Wi-Fi capabilities integrated into the Linux kernel for the first time.

Currently, Linux's Wi-Fi support is patchy at best, depending on the goodwill of hardware makers such as Intel to release drivers for their own Wi-Fi chipsets.

The kernel changelog can be viewed here.