June 19, 2018

.comment: Visiting the Kernel - page 3


  • September 13, 2000
  • By Dennis E. Powell

Beginning with Linux 2.2, the kernel expanded into sound card support. This has grown in 2.4, and I haven't gotten it to work, though that's probably my fault. My ancient Sound Blaster (the floppy that came with it has a test recording of a scratchy someone saying what sounds like "Mr. Watson, come here, I want you") went with my old motherboard, replaced by an onboard VIA Codec. I built in the support, but so far I haven't heard a peep out of it. This may well have to do with a world of unexplained BIOS possibilities for the thing, though. Much of the rest of the sound support seems straightforward, not unlike that in 2.2. But if the person who knows the secret for getting the VIA audio codec to produce sound would send it to me, I'd very much appreciate it.

My sense is that the kernel is a little more involved in parallel port printing than before, though I can't point to any proof of it. Likewise, it includes IPv6 support, the new and interesting dev file system, and a multitude of things that are likely to have a greater effect on us a year or two down the road than they do right now. There is no shortage of new toys for serious hackers in the new kernel.

Oh, and for those who have amused themselves with IPChains--Linux 2.4 includes a new way of providing that functionality at kernel level.

Okay, So When?

First, let me restate that the above is not comprehensive. I've compiled versions of 2.4 maybe a dozen times, and each time I've found something new, or have come to understand something I missed before. Each time, I've been more impressed than before.

And let me also restate that I don't know when the new kernel will be released, nor could I hope to guess. If the determining factor were how well it works on my machine, doing what I do, today, then I'd say that it's very close. But of course there are a lot of other considerations, ranging from other chipsets to other architectures. Remember: Linux is not just an operating system for x86 clones. And the Powers That Be, meaning the personable blonde Scandinavian fellow in California and those close to him, are driven more by excellence than by market share.

So what I can say, based on having not just played with it but having used it on a production machine for awhile now, is that when they say it's ready, it will be.

And you're gonna love it.

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