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The Heart of Linux

  • September 9, 1999
  • By Mike MacCana

We should be running Kernel 2.4 by the year's end. Major new features include USB support, improved SMP [up to 8 processors!] and better plug and play. The groundwork has also been laid for supporting Winmodems, but don't hold your breath--incompatibilities between individual Winmodems means support for your particular model may still take some time. The usual round of bugfixes, speedups and better foreign file system support are also expected. Another cool technology which might become part of a future kernel is DevFS, a new and dynamic way of addressing the /dev directory.

SGIis contributing the SMP code and journaling file system from Irix [their Unix variant] to Linux. This is a good thing, because the SMP code in Irix is pure gold. Irix has scaled up to 256 processors before, and while this may be a while coming for Linux, it's more than most systems will likely even need. A journaling file-system basically tracks changes as they are made, and provides better safeguards against file-system corruption. They've also developed a comprehensive set of Performance Management Visualization tools that may be released open source (if they get enough interest from the Linux community). Yaay! We love SGI, even if they did dump their previously �ber-cool logo in favor of their new boring one...

Intel is also developing a 64-bit kernel for use on its new Merced Processor, expected around the end of 2000.

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