The release of the 2.4 kernel marked Linux as an operating system ready for the enterprise. Three years and the next major revision later, the 2.6 kernel strengthens and expands on the merits of its predecessor with deep subsystem overhauls that yield improved scalability, performance and responsiveness across the full range of systems on which Linux runs.
The 2.6 kernel became available in December and can be downloaded for free at kernel.org. Most users, however, will want to hold off on running it until their chosen Linux distributor comes out with a release that includes the new kernel.
Fedora Core, Red Hat Inc.s community-supported Linux distribution, is slated to be among the first major Linux distributions to ship with the 2.6 kernel. Fedora Core 2 is scheduled for release April 19, and the first test release of Fedora Core 2 is currently available for download at fedora.redhat.com.
A similar community-supported release of MandrakeSoft SAs Mandrake Linux 10.0, also based on the 2.6 kernel, is set for release this month. An official version is expected to follow in April or May.
As for 2.6-based enterprise releases, Novell Inc.s SuSE Linux will likely be first with its SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9, set to ship in the late spring or early summer, and Red Hat has announced that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 will include the new kernel and will ship in the fall.