With the release of the much-anticipated 2.4 version of the Linux kernel still slipping, Linux vendors are previewing new versions of their distributions that are ready for the updated kernel.
One week ago, the Linux kernel developers, headed by creator Linus Torvalds, released Version 2.4.0-Test5.
In an e-mail interview, kernel developer Alan Cox said it was uncertain how many more "test" versions will be needed before the kernel is stable. "A lot of the major [Linux] authors certainly want more formal and planned freezing and debugging phases. That depends on the will of the community, and right now I think there is a lot of it," said Cox.
Meanwhile, Caldera Systems has started selling a "developer preview" operating system featuring a beta version of the 2.4 kernel, as well as Sun Microsystems's Java HotSpot technology and an early version of the new KDE 2.0 user interface.
A Caldera spokesman said the company expects the final kernel this fall and hopes to ship it as part of its distribution before the end of the year.
Linux market leader Red Hat in Research Triangle Park, N.C., is offering for download Red Hat Linux 7.0, which will initially use the current 2.2 Linux kernel but will support the 2.4 kernel when it becomes available.
The 2.4 kernel is of great importance to corporate Linux users because it addresses scalability, offering better support for symmetric multiprocessing, faster I/O and support for large file sizes and up to 64GB of RAM.