Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, has announced via e-mail that the Linux kernel 2.6, due for release in the fourth quarter of this year, will include a variety of features for enterprise applications.
There will be what he terms "the usual scalability stuff” – in other words, much better behavior across a lot of loads over lots of CPUs and huge amounts of memory. There will also be support for new hardware architectures, including the latest AMD 64-bit Opteron CPUs and PowerPC 64 CPUs.
What else? Torvalds promises improved scalability to 16 CPUs or more, using the new 0(1) scheduler; true asynchronous I/O for performance improvements in enterprise applications, including databases; improved file-system performance, four journaling file systems for real-time data backup and recovery capabilities; improved threading support for the new Posix threads library, with the ability to handle up to hundreds of thousands of threads, as well as full Posix compliance; enhanced high-bandwidth networking support, with TCP segmentation offload support and zero-copy network file system support; and support for USB 2.0.
Corporate IT managers will undoubtedly welcome the addition of these kinds of high-powered features, since that makes it more and more feasible for them to abandon proprietary flavors of Unix in favor of open-source Linux.