The latest version of the Linux production kernel has been released by its key developers Linus Torvalds and Andrew Morton, with new developments including scalability to 64-way systems, faster threading and additional memory support.
The new 2.6 version of the kernel should make Linux more stable and scalable for mission-critical enterprise applications. It is the first major release of the open source operating system kernel since January 2001.
With the new kernel, I think we are getting closer to Linux for everyone, said Torvalds in a statement. I think this is the best yet and I had a lot of fun working on it. I want to thank all of the contributors who joined us.
Torvalds’ statement was in contrast to his announcement of 2.6’s availability on the Linux kernel mailing list. The beaver is out of detox, he wrote there, alluding to the codename for version 2.6, which was recently changed from stoned beaver to beaver in detox.
With the latest production kernel now generally available, its maintenance will pass in to the hands of Morton, while Torvalds and other Linux developers are expected to start work on the next test and development kernel, 2.7, early in 2004.
Products based on Linux kernel 2.6 are not expected immediately. The two major Linux distributors, Red Hat Inc and SuSE Linux AG, are not expected to ship version of the 2.6 kernel until the next major releases of their enterprise Linux products, due in 2005 and 2004 respectively.
Some of the 2.6 code enhancements have already found their way into current Linux distributions, however, and more will be added as the code stabilizes. Improvements in version 2.6 include support for 64-processor systems, improved multithreading, added memory support, enhanced disk drive performance and storage access, and embedded chip support.
For desktop Linux usage there are also key improvements in the areas of plug and play, studio-quality sound, USB, and fire wire connectivity.
This article is based on material originally produced by ComputerWire.