Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Industry leaders react to kernel 2.4

Database makers will likely tweak their products to use improved disk access

The long-awaited release of the 2.4 Linux kernel occurred January 4 without any of the hoopla that typically accompanies a major software release. Even vaporware announcements in the proprietary OS market include more banging of the drum. Linus Torvalds simply sent a short note (see Resources for a link) to the kernel mailing list, which was picked up by LinuxToday, saying he'd released the kernel. No rock band, no professional wrestler on stage, no laser lights. But even without the fireworks and glitter, the release generated a lot of excitement. By Monday morning following the release late Thursday afternoon, the LinuxToday page carrying Linus's note had been viewed almost 100,000 times. That's an order of magnitude greater than most "big" stories for the publication.

Even after its official release, the 2.4 kernel may not be included in major distributions for weeks or perhaps months. Between now and then, however, early adopters will continue to download and compile the latest version from kernel.org.

Henry Hall, head of Linuxcare's research group, described the 2.4 kernel as an evolutionary release, not a revolutionary one. He said some of Linuxcare's corporate customers have been experimenting with the 2.4 kernel for some time, particularly those with a need for the vastly improved scalability in SMP (symmetrical multiprocessor) machines and in networking that kernel 2.4 promises. Linuxcare employees have contributed code to handle gigabit network cards in the new kernel. The 2.4 kernel fixes the networking problems (spotlighted by the now infamous Mindcraft "benchmarks") experienced in the TCP/IP stack when using multiple network cards.

Bruce Perens, Hewlett-Packard's new Linux lightning rod, views the release as a big step for Linux toward the high end of the enterprise market. Applications like HP's Open Mail, which Perens describes as basically sitting atop sendmail, do not get so intimately involved with kernel code that they need to be tweaked to move from a 2.2 kernel to the 2.4. Perens noted that major-league database makers will probably tweak their products to take advantage of real raw access to disk drives that the new kernel offers. That means faster disk access than with previous releases. Debian is the most popular distribution in use internally at HP, and once a 2.4 package is made available, Perens expects widespread adoption by HP developers.

Perens also said that HP will build machines that take advantage of the improved SMP scalability of the new kernel. He said there are no plans at the moment to provide Linux on the HP 9000 Superdome, which HP claims can scale to 256 processors, though those plans will change eventually. Like Linuxcare, HP has employees who have been intimately involved with 2.4 development, particularly in the area of SMP scalability.

Speaking of Linux in the enterprise, Daniel Frye, director of IBM's Linux Technology Center, said that all of IBM's applications available on Linux will be tested on 2.4. As beta versions of distributions built around the new kernel begin to appear, IBM will vigorously test its applications on them. He added, "If there are problems, we will find them and fix them."

So when will the new distributions appear? Preston Brown, lead Red Hat 2.4 kernel developer, said the Red Hat version will debut "when it's ready." After its own testing period, Red Hat plans to make the 2.4 kernel available as an RPM so that Red Hat Network customers can upgrade their existing Red Hat 7.0 systems to the new kernel. Red Hat does not prerelease its distribution releases, so Brown could not tell us when the next version will appear.

Just can't wait? Join the crowds downloading the 2.4 kernel source code from kernel.org. But know that there may be a few bumps in the road if you do. Some people have reported problems with PCMCIA network card drivers. You can circumvent such hitches by downloading the latest source code from the PCMCIA project and building the drivers yourself (see Resources for a link). So far, I've heard of no applications breaking with the new kernel.

More Stories By Joe Barr

Joe Barr is a freelance journalist covering Linux, open source and network security. His 'Version Control' column has been a regular feature of Linux.SYS-CON.com since its inception. As far as we know, he is the only living journalist whose works have appeared both in phrack, the legendary underground zine, and IBM Personal Systems Magazine.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...