2.6 Kernel to Push the Envelope

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-05-05 Print this article Print

The Linux 2.6 production kernel promises to be the most advanced open-source platform developed to date.

The Linux 2.6 production kernel promises to be the most advanced open-source platform developed to date, according to computer scientists who have been putting the 2.5 development kernel through its paces. Tim Witham

The 2.6 kernel, expected to be released by late next month, will move Linux further into the enterprise, though it will still have a ways to go to meet the demands of the largest enterprise database applications, said Tim Witham (pictured left), lab director for Open Source Development Lab Inc., here last week. "Right now, its an absolute no-brainer to use Linux in any of the infrastructure-type services and smaller databases," said Witham. "But the 2.6 kernel will move it up to bigger database applications. Thats the big one and the next real jump for Linux."

Specific features driving the forthcoming 2.6 kernel toward database services include an enhanced scheduler and a threading library, Witham added.

OSDL was established in 2001 as a global consortium dedicated to accelerating the adoption of Linux in enterprise computing.

Dan Frye
"If an enterprise is today running 24-way SMP [symmetric multiprocessing] and its large database, with failover for all its components, then, no, Linux cant do all that now," said Dan Frye (pictured), director of IBMs Linux Technology Center, also based here. "But in the future, it will be able to. But as very few customers run just that, they deploy Linux on other workloads."

The 2.6 kernel, which could make its way into commercial distributions in three to six months or less following its release, will support large amounts of memory and a large number of threads, Witham said.

It will also offer improved networking performance and increased storage and types of storage—all the things needed for databases and better performance, Witham said.

Frye said that IBM has conducted several multiweek tests of the 2.5 development kernel on a number of eight-way SMP systems under its Linux Test Project, a set of several thousand test cases and test suites against which the code was run.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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