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Linux fans still waiting for new kernel

Linus Torvalds acknowledges he was unable to make good on his commitment to deliver a final release of the 2.4 kernel by December.

There was no Linux 2.4 kernel under testers' Christmas trees in 2000.

Linus Torvalds and the other keepers of the Linux kernel delivered what is anticipated to be the first and only 2.4 prerelease kernel to testers on Dec. 31. The final release of the long-awaited 2.4 code is expected to follow in relatively short order.

In a note sent to testers on New Year's Eve, Torvalds acknowledged he was unable to make good on his commitment to deliver a final release of 2.4 by December.

"OK. I didn't make 2.4 in 2000. Tough," Torvalds wrote. "I tried, but we had some last-minute stuff that needed fixing (i.e. the dirty page lists), and the best I can do is make a prerelease."

Torvalds offered no guidance as to when Linux enthusiasts might see the final release of the 2.4 kernel, but said he wanted to give people time to test the prerelease "for a while."

"But read my lips: No more recounts," Torvalds added. "There is no 'prerelease1,' to become 'prerelease2' and so on."

Linux 2.4 is running about a year behind schedule.

Torvalds said in June 1999 that Linux 2.4 would be done by last fall. In May 2000, Torvalds acknowledged that likely it would be October 2000 before 2.4 saw the light of day, since developers were attempting to cram more new, high-end features into the final release. On Oct. 6, at Frankfurt's LinuxWorld, Torvalds was quoted as saying Linux 2.4 wouldn't be launched until December at the earliest.

Linux distributors have CNET's Linux Centerbeen counting on including the 2.4 kernel in versions of their products starting in the first half of 2001.

Red Hat has been planning to make the 2.4 kernel the heart of its next release, code-named Florence, due out in the first quarter of 2001.

Caldera Systems, for its part, has been planning to upgrade to the 2.4 kernel for both its eDesktop and eServer Linux releases in the second quarter of 2001.