Linux developers on Friday unveiled a major new version of the Linux kernel, or operating system core. Kernel 2.5.0 (also known as 2.4.15) adds support for two new file systems that should add crash protection and easier laptop synchronization.
Ext3 is what is called a journaled file system, which keeps track of changes as they are made, so that if the machine crashes its former state can be recovered more easily. Several Linux distributions ship already with the Ext3 file system, but this is the first time it has been built into the kernel itself.
It is included in the new kernel along with InterMezzo, a "distributed" file system designed for networks. InterMezzo is aimed at making it easier to manage files located across networks. It includes several features designed specifically for networks, such as allowing users to browse network files while they are disconnected, automatic recovery from network outages and management of home directories on different computers. But it is also useful for laptop users, making it easy to synchronise files between portable and desktop PCs.
The kernel is primarily aimed at developers but will ultimately be built into commercial Linux distributions from the likes of Red Hat, SuSE and MandrakeSoft. It is available from the Linux kernel development site at www.kernel.org, and various mirror sites.