Linux has moved closer to maturity as a robust datacentre platform, with the release of a major refresh of the kernel software.
The latest version of the Linux kernel - kernel 2.6.14 - which is at the core of many enterprise Linux products, is designed to make it a stronger alternative to the Windows operating system. Enterprise Linux suppliers such as Red Hat and Novell said they expected to adopt the kernel in their Linux distributions to improve the datacentre capabilities of their products.
A Novell spokesman said, "By using the new Linux kernel, Novell can create a mature, datacentre-ready, Linux enterprise server."
Linux kernel 2.6.14 features many enhancements to improve usability, the main one being native support for Wi-Fi (broadband wireless) running on Intel's mobile Centrino platform. However, suppliers must still obtain the Intel driver firmware separately from the kernel due to Intel's licensing restrictions.
The kernel also has better support for technologies such as InfiniBand, USB and SCSI.
The kernel was originally scheduled to be completed on 7 October, two months after release 2.6.13, which followed two months after the previous version. Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, said, "It was delayed twice due to some last-minute bug-reports, some of which were false alarms."