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New version of Linux posted

Linux leader Linus Torvalds releases the latest incarnation of the OS, which includes features that may entice more business customers.

The final version of the new Linux kernel was posted last night, 20 minutes before an informal deadline set by Linux leader Linus Torvalds.

Version 2.2.0 of the kernel--the heart of the Unix-like operating system--was posted at LinuxHQ at about 11:40 p.m. PT last night. Last week, Torvalds said he hoped the new kernel would be posted yesterday, barring major problems.

The new kernel gives Linux new features that could make the operating system appeal to businesses with higher-powered hardware such as multiprocessor systems, disk arrays, and firewalls to protect networks against intrusion.

Torvalds initiated the Linux project, but countless others across the Internet have contributed to the development of the Unix-like operating system, and even Microsoft has taken notice of the advantages of collective programming. Although the Linux community is famed for its decentralized nature, Torvalds still has control over deciding when the next version is polished enough to be released.

The upstart operating system is on a roll lately. It has benefited from a series of moves by some of the largest companies in the computer industry, feeding the perception that it may provide a serious alternative to the dominant Microsoft Windows franchise.

The new version of the kernel--the core features of the operating system--is able to wring more work out of multiprocessor systems, has more sophisticated features for managing multiple hard disks, and makes setting up protective firewalls easier.

In addition, the new kernel adds support for Silicon Graphics' new Intel-based Visual Workstations, which came out earlier this month.

The new kernel will make Linux more appealing for business customers for a variety of reasons. See related story for more on what's new with this latest version.