Updated 10:00 am PST — The Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), a global consortium of leading technology companies dedicated to accelerating the adoption of Linux, today announced that Linus Torvalds and production kernel maintainer Andrew Morton have released the 2.6 Linux production kernel.
The new operating system software — available on the Web as source code at www.kernel.org or ftp.kernel.org — is a major release of a new Linux production kernel. The last time this happened was with the 2.4 version of the kernel, the “And oh, btw…” release in January 2001. Torvalds released the original Linux kernel in September 1991 as a student in Finland.
“With the new kernel, I think we're getting closer to Linux for everyone,” Torvalds said. “I think this is the best yet and I had a lot of fun working on it. I want to thank all of the contributors who joined us.”
Torvalds, a Lab Fellow at OSDL, will now hand off ongoing maintenance of the new 2.6 Linux production kernel to Andrew Morton, whose Linux development work is also sponsored by OSDL. Torvalds, Morton and other key Linux developers are expected to start work in early 2004 on a new test and development Linux kernel to be called version 2.7.
Torvalds announced the new kernel in a post to the Linux kernel mailing list.
The new Linux kernel has already received broad support from some of the world's leading technology companies, including Dell, Computer Associates, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, Mitsubishi Electric, Miracle Linux, NTT Comware, NEC, Novell, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, SuSE and Turbolinux. In the embedded space, LynuxWorks has already released a public beta based on the 2.6 kernel and SnapGear has released a production implementation (available for free download), but MontaVista has said it would wait for a stable 2.6 kernel before releasing its first 2.6-based distribution. Comments from OSDL members regarding the 2.6 kernel and its significance are here.
With the new production Linux kernel, customers will see significant performance and reliability improvements in a wide range of computing uses for Linux, from embedded to desktop to data center and telecommunications applications. Improvements include scalability to 64-CPU systems and beyond, faster threading, added memory support, enhanced disk drive performance and storage access, broader embedded chip support, and bolstered desktop computer enhancements for plug and play, studio-quality sound, USB, firewire, and more.
“The new Linux kernel is an important milestone in the advance of Linux into mainstream computing,” said Timothy Witham, OSDL Lab director. “The 2.6 kernel is a big step in giving Linux users a reliable, thoroughly-tested foundation for a new generation of applications and services that promise to change the computing landscape forever.”
Considered by many experts to be the most stable initial Linux production kernel release ever, the 2.6 kernel has undergone extensive testing by OSDL and other industry experts. The Lab's Linux test infrastructure consists of OSDL's Scalable Test Platform (STP) and Patch Lifecycle Manager (PLM) systems, plus a compile regression test platform. The Lab publishes test results online.
In addition to a compilation of comprehensive kernel testing results, the Lab has also posted to its Web site information about the development of the new Linux kernel, including an illustration about how the kernel is created, a timeline on the history of the kernel () and a summary of the key features and functionality that have been added to the new 2.6.0 Linux kernel since the initial 2.4.0 kernel was released in 2001.
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