By Colin Browne
The latest kernel of this operating system has shipped, and now the challenge is to convince enterprise customers that it is hardy enough for HP-UX and Solaris sites.
It’s here! Late last Thursday night, Linus Torvalds, the key developer of Linux, said that the long-waited Linux 2.4 is complete. The latest version of the kernel, which Torvalds had pushed hard to finish by year's end, is now available to Linux distribution vendors and solution providers. "In short, 2.4 is out there," Torvalds wrote in a note posted to an Internet bulletin board. "And don't bother reporting any bugs for the next few . . . days. I won't care anyway." The latest version of Linux is viewed as the open-source community's best bet against Unix vendors and Windows 2000 because it incorporates many enterprise features such as improved support for databases and enhanced SMP support. Although the kernel is now final, it may take weeks before vendors begin shipping updates to their Linux distributions to allow for testing. New features include USB support, enhanced SMP support, improved memory support and better support for large databases.The trick may be to convince users of HP-UX and Sun Solaris, that Linux is a contender in their space, where typically it has been perceived as a lower-lever solution.Torvalds faced increasing pressure to hit the milestone of the end of 2000 to ship the next level of the freeware operating system. In an online posting on December 31, Torvalds said the Linux 2.4 kernel was in pre-release status, but promised it would be finished soon. "OK. I didn't make 2.4 in 2000. Tough. I tried, but we had some last-minute stuff that needed fixing and the best I can do is make a pre-release," Torvalds wrote. "There's a 2.4 pre-release out there, and this is basically it. I want people to test it for a while—but read my lips: no more recounts. There is no 'pre-release 1,' to become 'pre-release 2' and so on," he added.