The next major upgrade to the Linux kernel, Version 2.6, edged a step closer with the release over the weekend of the test9 version of that kernel.
Linux founder Linus Torvalds and Andrew Morton, the maintainer of the upcoming 2.6 kernel, said test9 is now ready for enterprise testing.
The Open Source Development Lab (OSDL), where Torvalds is a fellow and where Morton was recently brought on board, on Monday called on all major Linux customers, ISVs and leading systems providers to test, validate and enhance the latest version ahead of the final release of the production code.
"We now want big companies and software vendors to step in and hammer on the kernel so we can get their ideas into the final production release of 2.6 Linux. This is their last big chance," Torvalds said in a statement on Monday.
The OSDL has been aggressively putting the test versions of the 2.6 kernel through its paces since July, performing a series of performance and regression tests on the kernel at its data center test lab facilities in Portland, Ore., and Yokohama, Japan.
The labs Linux test infrastructure consists of OSDLs Scalable Test Platform and Patch Lifecycle Manager systems, plus a compile regression test platform. The lab publishes testing results online at www.osdl.org/projects/26lnxstblztn/results/.
The OSDL also continuously performs tests on enterprise hardware configurations and publishes those results online at www.osdl.org/stp.
"The new 2.6 Linux kernel really broadens the markets where Linux can replace legacy platforms. It has key new features that allow Linux to scale dramatically up to support 32 or more processors and down to run in a wide variety of consumer and industrial devices, including hundreds of new low-cost embedded processors," OSDL Lab Director Tim Witham said Monday.
Witham also cited several major improvements in the new 2.6 kernel over the current production 2.4 Linux kernel, which was first released in January 2001. These include improved scalability.
While the code has been tested on up to 64-way systems, it is now ready for production use on 32-way machines. A new CPU scheduler has been added, as has new memory management and file system code. It also supports up to 8GB of memory on IA-32 systems, he said.
Users will also see faster threading, with the new Native Posix Thread Library for Linux, resulting in test times on 100,000 threads reduced from 15 minutes to 2 seconds for significantly faster system performance under heavy loads, he said.
In addition, the 2.6 kernel brings an enhanced driver layer, with I/O devices such as disks performing better and being easier to manage. "There is also support for many more embedded device applications as well as improved desktop features," Witham said.
"Hot plug devices, including firewire and USB, are dramatically improved. Mouse, video and sound are smoother and perform better. The new Advanced Linux Sound Architecture also brings professional music-studio quality audio," he said.
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