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Linus Torvalds Urges Enterprise Users of Linux: “Get Started Bug-Testing on the 2.6test Beta Release”

The Linux community begins the race to get 2.6 ready as a production kernel

In a meeting room below the main floor of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas yesterday, LinuxWorld Magazine was present to see history being made. Linux history. Because on the podium were gathered not just Linus Torvalds himself, fresh from releasing on Sunday night a test release of the new 2.6 kernel — “2.6test” as it’s officially called — but also a handful of the most influential Open Source collaborators in the entire world, such as the Chairman of VA Software Larry Augustin, the Director of Linux International Jon ‘maddog’ Hall, and the CTO of SuSE Linux AG Juergen Geck.

The topic of the session was “The Future of the 2.6 Kernel” and Linus Torvalds was naturally the one who was called upon to open the discussion, which he did with a brief explanation about “2.6test.”

“What I released on Sunday is a first beta test,” he said. “Called 2.5 while it was a development kernel, as it has been for the last 2 years, it’s now — as everyone here knows — called 2.6.”

The biggest changes most people in the enterprise will notice, Torvalds added, will be the huge increases in scalability. "There are great improvements too," he said, "to the desktop experience" - which is incidentally how Torvalds uses the kernel himself.

“When you have a desktop that does a lot of things at the same time, but you don’t even notice as a user that the machine is doing a lot of things at the same time, that’s ideal. Maybe it slows down slightly but it remains very smooth and you don’t even notice.”

Then Torvalds made the most important point of all, directing his comments specifically to the business community.

“I would say to people who already use Linux, including companies: if you don’t put this new release through its paces and test it for bugs, the problems that you’ll see in the release kernel will come as a nasty surprise to you, because this is going to be the next production kernel.”

“So have your MIS people see what the new kernel does for you under your particular load,” he advised, “and if there are any issues let us know and we’ll fix it for you.”

Asked whether the 2.6 kernel offers expanded hardware support (e.g. for USB), Torvalds said that all the USB development has always been done under 2.5 (the development kernel) including support for a lot of host controllers and support for external devices.

“Developers are working on drivers, testing them,” he said, “We’ve even back-ported these drivers to the old stable kernels, e.g. 2.5.”

LinuxWorld Magazine will obviously keep you posted on progress on the new kernel. It will be interesting to see whether it takes less (or more) time than the 7 months it took to finalize, for example, Linux 2.4.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Alexander van Dorn 07/17/03 04:54:13 PM EDT

What was this conference with Mad Dog and Linus? I got no notice -- in Las Vegas!!!???

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