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Three years in the making, the kernel was developed by Linux inventor Linus Torvalds, who now works at the Open Source Development Lab (OSDL).
The OSDL said the new kernel was ready to be deployed on 32-processor machines and was being tested on 64-bit machines.
The 2.6 version provided further performance optimisation with new memory management and improved file-system code, the OSDL said. It supports up to 8Gbytes of memory on 32-bit Intel-based systems, an increase on the previous limit of 4Gbytes.