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Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Wednesday 17/12/2003Fancy a new operating system? You can wait three years for Longhorn, which will have all sorts of fab things you never knew you wanted, or you can download the brand-new release of the Linux kernel, 2.

Wednesday 17/12/2003
Fancy a new operating system? You can wait three years for Longhorn, which will have all sorts of fab things you never knew you wanted, or you can download the brand-new release of the Linux kernel, 2.6.0, which became available today. That darn open source won't go away, and with Red Hat announcing healthy revenue growth, Novell's acquisition of SuSE seen as a very positive move, and a report from the Institute for Software Research saying open source is often a better way to produce fine code than closed proprietary methods, it's full steam ahead. The Standard Industry Naysayers at Microsoft and SCO grumble away about the GPL being cancerous and even against the US Constitution, but everyone else is too busy making money and having a good time to do more than pause, point, laugh and move on.

This has been a year in which open source really has proved itself capable of weathering concerted attacks by the increasingly desperate old guard. On every front -- technical, legal, even cultural -- it's stronger than ever. The true strength is exemplified by the Linux kernel, which has added lots of really useful features -- more 64-bit support, Bluetooth, extensive multiprocessor capabilities, hyperthreading, better networking. Tons of stuff. And because the development has been out in the open, the big Linux vendors are already familiar with all the new features: anybody else's major dot-zero release would need a long period of qualification and testing after it became available. There'll be a bit of that, of course, but in general Linux has lived up to every claim.