As announced on the Heise newsticker (article in german) the linux kernel version 3.8 has been released. If you look closely on kernel.org though, you’ll find that the latest stable version is still 3.7.9, but I don’t know if that’s because of something about the 3.8 kernel, or just because I looked there too early.
There are several interesting things in that version:
On the server-side the most important new feature, in my opinion, is the possibility to create namespace containers as a regular user. Such a container can be understood similar to a chroot jail, or a virtual machine, so that regular users can run privileged applications inside a container and not endanger the integrity of the system as a whole. Also there’s now a Ballon driver for Hyper-V which means that a Virtual Machine with a linux guest running 3.8 can release memory to the Windows host that runs it, and reclaim that memory later.
Also, there is improved support for the modern NUMA architectures, and lots of improvements for btrfs and ext4fs.
On the desktop the most important changes are better 3d hardware acceleration support with the Nouveau driver, a driver for Phillips PSC724 “Ultimate Edge” sound cards, and several improvements for DMA handling in regard with video streaming.
For mobile devices (and of course, servers and desktops with SSD storage) there is a new filesystem, f2fs, which is specifically designed for flash storage.
The upcoming openSUSE 12.3 release, which is scheduled for around mid-March, is still using the 3.7.7 kernel, or at least was last time I looked, and I don’t think the openSUSE team is going to switch kernels just 3 weeks before the gold master.
If you want to read about the 3.8 kernel in greater detail the kernel log on heise open is quite good (but in german).