Getting Linux 2.6 Into the Enterprise

The Linux distributors detail their plans on when they'll be introducing Linux 2.6 into their commercial releases, while the analysts consider what 2.6 will mean to Microsoft and users.

Like an early holiday present, Linux 2.6 arrived on Thursday. The new software made Linux distributors happy, but analysts disagreed on how the new kernel will affect the marketplace.

Chris Stone, vice chairman of Provo, Utah-based Novell Inc., said in a prepared statement, "The Linux industry is rapidly accelerating and the 2.6 kernel will add to the momentum. With this new release comes enhancements that will benefit customers from the desktop to the data center. Solutions based on this new kernel will allow Linux to fulfill its promise as an end-to-end enterprise-computing platform."

Novell in November acquired SuSE Linux AG in a deal worth $210 million. The company Thursday released its Novell Nterprise Linux Services 1.0, software that provides Linux support for a set of services and applications available on Novells NetWare operating system.

/zimages/3/28571.gifFor more information on the Novell-SuSE deal for Linux, click here.

Others in the Linux community focused more on the updates advances in technology, rather than the business side. Chris Mason, a Linux kernel software developer for SuSE Linux, looked forward to better performance when handling large files.

"Linux 2.6s improved I/O and CPU scalability combined with file size limits ranging from terabytes to exabytes depending on the file system will make it much better for DBMS uses," Mason said. "Some of this functionality, such as improved block device handling, has already been back-ported into our current Linux 2.4 server for our users."

SuSE wasnt the only vendor that has borrowed from the updates features to improve its current Version 2.4-based offerings. Red Hat Inc. spokeswoman Leigh Day mentioned that Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 3 already has some 2.6 processor enhancements.

Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat, though, will not be pushing out a 2.6-based version of RHEL quickly. "Red Hat will take significant time to harden and test 2.6. Its the responsible thing for us to do for our customers and partners," Day said. "It will though be available in the next release of Fedora, in the second quarter of 2004, to be followed by RHEL 4 in the fall of 2004."

SuSE spokesman Joe Eckert said SUSE will be aggressive with Linux 2.6. "We expect to have the first commercially available Linux with a 2.6 kernel by the summer of 2004. Since several of our developers work closely with the kernel team, we feel Linux 2.6 is ready now," he said.

While SuSE may turn out to be the first major commercial distributor to get Linux 2.6 out the door, Indianapolis-based Progeny Linux Systems Inc. looks to be the first business-focused Linux distributor to put the Version 2.6 kernel in operation in multiple sites.

Garth Dickey, Progenys CEO, said, "We think that it is a wonderful step forward for Linux, and it underscores part of our business logic. It will take months in some cases and years in others for 2.6 to be adopted by the mainline distributions; meanwhile we look forward to integrating it into custom distributions for clients of our Platform Services as soon as they ask for it."

Next Page: Analysts and SCO sound off on Linux 2.6.