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Linux update has corporate appeal

Linux release 2.4.1 takes a step toward making the open-source operating system more friendly to the business crowd.

Mary Jo Foley
Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network.
Mary Jo Foley
2 min read
The keepers of the Linux operating system have made improvements to the core technology that should make it easier to find lost data.

The biggest addition to the release of Linux kernel 2.4.1 is the ReiserFS, which is a journaling file system. Journaling file systems are key to operating systems and applications used over extended corporate networks because they allow administrators to more quickly recover data in the event of system failure.

The 2.4.1 release, which became available for download Monday on the eve of this week's LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in New York, also includes the various fixes and patches made by the core Linux kernel team since 2.4.0 was released earlier this month. The kernel contains the essential elements of the OS and is used as a foundation for full-blown operating systems.

Although Linux is gaining CNET's Linux Centerin server market share as compared with its competitors, its strongest base currently is among tech-savvy systems administrators, developers and Internet service providers. The companies that sell commercial versions of Linux are hoping to expand Linux's appeal to large, medium-sized and even smaller corporations by making it more business-ready and user-friendly.

ReiserFS isn't the only journaling file system that Linux developers and customers are experimenting with. Last year, IBM contributed its Journaling File System (JFS) to the open-source community. There is no word yet on if and when JFS also will become a default part of the Linux kernel.

Deepak Advani, vice president of IBM's Linux strategy, called journaling file systems "key to developing the enterprise capabilities of Linux."

Linux 2.4 and its various "dot" upgrades are the base upon which Linux distributors are building their next releases of Linux. Late last week, German Linux company SuSE said it will deliver on Feb. 8 a new version of its Linux product that uses the 2.4 kernel. The other major Linux distributors are planning to upgrade their Linux releases to use the 2.4 kernel over the next several months.

Linux 2.4, which Linux creator Linus Torvalds delivered to the open-source community a year later than expected, includes numerous improvements over the 2.2 release. Among the 2.4 improvements aimed at businesses are upgraded symmetric multiprocessing support (up to 32 Intel processors), the ability to address up to 64GB of physical memory on Intel machines, expanded peripheral support, and support for new architectures, such as IBM's S/390 mainframe and Intel's IA-64 Itanium processor family.

In other Linux news, the investment banking arm of Dresdner Bank is releasing to the open-source community the programming toolkit technology it developed. The bank's investment arm also announced that it is building some of its money-transfer systems on Linux and the open-source Apache Web server.

Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein is teaming with open-source provider CollabNet to build an online community around the so-called open adaptor toolkit technology.