Torvalds’ 2.4 Kernel Was A Major Boon For Linux


Posted on 8th October 2015 by admin in Tech

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linuxfdFor almost a year now the Linux community has been abuzz with speculation about when Linus Torvalds will release the next version of the Linux core, the 2.4 kernel.

Analysts have said it would mark a significant advancement for Linux, taking it from PC environments to the enterprise OS with greater scalability.

The new kernel will be a major test of the credibility of Linux as an enterprise systems according to George Weiss, Gartner Group vice-president of research in the enterprise systems group in Stamford, Conn.

Expected improvements include symmetric multiprocessing and more speed and memory.

San Francisco-based services and support firm Linuxcare is already running a test version of the 2.4 kernel on Sun Microsystems’ high-end E10000 server, which runs 24 processors. But that doesn’t mean it is ready for prime time, according to Giga Information Group analyst Stacey Quandt in Cambridge, Mass. “I kind of look at that more as a marketing play for Linuxcare. Sun is not shipping that so there’s a difference between what can be done and what’s actually going to be in production.”

However, she said the kernel will improve capabilities for higher-end users when it is made available. This includes the ability to view and require seemingly “lost” data on hard disk drives within the system.

“When it’s released it will definitely enhance scalability and really a lot of it is due to a completely rewritten networking layer and a lot of other features,” Quandt said.

It’s a solid development, to be sure.

“The ability to recover data from RAID array drives is something we’re looking forward to,” says Ryan Mitchell, head data recovery technician at Hard Drive Recovery Group. “That’s something that will certainly make things better for us.”

But the actual release date may just mark the beginning of a long test period before general acceptance of the kernel occurs, said Weiss.

“What happens is they say 2.4 is available, then you wait for the distributors to bundle it into their packages, test it and make sure it runs with a certain number of applications. I’m looking at a nine or 12-month time frame for this thing to gain the credibility and acceptance in that market before it starts encroaching on the market share of Windows and Unix,” he said.

Quandt said the delays don’t bother Linux supporters. “It may not happen so soon. The way that the Linux community (works), at least as far as Torvalds is concerned, is you release something when it’s ready, not because of a marketing deadline. He’ll release it when it’s ready.”

Further releases should demonstrate how much enterprise capability and scalability the kernel will offer, said Weiss. Proof will will come when major ERP and customer relationship software vendors convert to Linux and when platform vendors provide service-level agreements approaching continuous availability.

Mitchell says data safety is always key to organizations, noting that its Dell PowerEdge and HP ProLiant recovery guides are particularly popular with corporate users.

In the meantime, some users are content to work with what they have, but they also look forward to the greater capabilities promised by the 2.4 kernel.

“We have a number of Web servers we use that will eventually be upgraded to the new version of the kernel,” said Mike Gifford of Ottawa-based Open Concepts Consulting, dedicated to stabilizing and securing Web sites.

“Any improvement will certainly be of benefit but it’s not something people are waiting for. It’s something that will happen but it’s not critical,” said Gifford. “I think there are things that will be easier to do when the new kernel is set up. There are still applications being developed and most users won’t get down to the kernel level.”

Even when it is released, Quandt said she questions if it will be powerful enough to play in the high-end marketplace. A lot will depend on how fast enterprise users adopt the new kernel, she added.

“There’s a lot of testing that has to take place for an enterprise to deploy a new kernel and especially with the potential release of Itanium and McKinley (Intel’s second-generation 64-bit chip). So, for a company deciding to implement the 2.4 kernel, it would be interesting.

“Releasing it doesn’t mean everyone will run out and deploy it. You’ll have the stable kernel release and then there could be a period of testing followed by an assessment of whether or not they want to deploy it,” said Quandt.

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