2.6 Kernel to Push the Envelope

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.