Originally Published: Friday, 19 November 1999 Author: Scott Nipp
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Good Things on the Horizon

There seems to be a lot going on in the Linux world right now. The upcoming release of the 2.4 kernel, major headway in the area of DVD support, expanded support for hardware in general, especially my favorite sound card the Sound Blaster Live, and much more. This is very exciting for the Linux community. The new features in the 2.4 kernel along with the ever-expanding hardware support will continue to make Linux a more attractive platform for both home and business....

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There seems to be a lot going on in the Linux world right now. The upcoming release of the 2.4 kernel, major headway in the area of DVD support, expanded support for hardware in general, especially my favorite sound card the Sound Blaster Live, and much more. This is very exciting for the Linux community. The new features in the 2.4 kernel along with the ever-expanding hardware support will continue to make Linux a more attractive platform for both home and business.

The biggest news in the world of Linux at the moment is the upcoming release of the 2.4 kernel series. This is the next "stable" series of the Linux kernel, and while not as big a jump as the 2.0 to 2.2 change, this new kernel series has some very exciting and promising changes in store for all of us. This kernel version will present a large number of driver updates, and new drivers all together. This hardware support includes new and updated IDE chipset support, more support for USB devices, more frame buffer support, some new sound chipsets, and more. Another very exciting new hardware development in the kernel is the integration of PCMCIA support directly into the kernel. What does this mean for all of you laptop users? That you will no longer have to obtain, compile, etc., a separate software package to get your PCMCIA cards working.

The 2.4 Linux kernel will also have some wonderful new software-level changes which many will find useful, and some absolutely essential. This new kernel series will support some new filesystems, such as the IRIX filesystem EFS, the IRIX disklabel, read/write support for OS/2 filesystems, and improvements to the UFS driver. Additionally, the kernel will now be able to detect SMB problems and apply the necessary fixes automatically. Support for more than 1024 processes will be included in the 2.4 kernel which will help Linux further penetrate the enterprise class environments. A new "wake one" feature of the network code will help to improve performance of some network applications by "waking up" only the process for which the incoming data is for rather than every process using that socket. These hardware (driver) and software improvements to the Linux kernel are going to further improve the performance and flexibility of Linux which we have all come to rely on.

In addition, and aside from the kernel, the other exciting device support projects will be bringing more of your favorite hardware to Linux quickly. Creative Labs has recently released their Sound Blaster Live driver under the GPL public license. Aureal, another sound chip developer, has also announced that they will be releasing the drivers and source for all of their chips in the near future. Creative Labs has also released the drivers for their older DxR2 DVD decoder card, which means we are one step closer to being able to play DVD movies under Linux. These hardware driver releases are great, especially for the home users who want to enjoy sound, games and movies on there computers.

Linux, in constant development, is keeping up the pace right along with the rest of the operating systems. This development leads to exciting new features and capabilities, some of which we are beginning to see coming to completion now. The continued development of the Linux kernel, along with the rapidly growing support from hardware vendors will help to bring Linux to the desks of many more people. This ongoing development has been the heart of Linux from the beginning, and with the more recent trend of hardware vendors to support Linux the future of the little OS that could is looking brighter everyday.

Scott Nipp is a Technical Solutions Consultant at Sprint Paranet. He spends his time there fighting the good fight, advocating Linux to his managers and customers.





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