Enterprise Linux Log

Jun 12 2007   7:51AM GMT

A short history of Linux

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IBM DeveloperWorks is running an in-depth look at the inner working of the Linux kernel today, so all you Windows admins who sneak over here to SearchEnterpriseLinux.com on your lunch breaks should go check it out. Virtual file systems, drivers, system call interfaces, and a host of other Linux kernel subsystems are yours for the viewing. And according to the article, Linux currently boasts 6 million lines of code. At which I say, just code? How about six million lines of fun?!

Perhaps the most interesting bit of information over at DeveloperWorks however, are some of the new features now found in the most up to date stable version of the Linux kernel.

Linux, being a production operating system and open source, is a great test bed for new protocols and advancements of those protocols. Linux supports a large number of networking protocols, including the typical TCP/IP, and also extension for high-speed networking (greater than 1 Gigabit Ethernet [GbE] and 10 GbE). Linux also supports protocols such as the Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP), which provides many advanced features above TCP (as a replacement transport level protocol).

Linux is also a dynamic kernel, supporting the addition and removal of software components on the fly. These are called dynamically loadable kernel modules, and they can be inserted at boot when they’re needed (when a particular device is found requiring the module) or at any time by the user.

A recent advancement of Linux is its use as an operating system for other operating systems (called a hypervisor). Recently, a modification to the kernel was made called the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM). This modification enabled a new interface to user space that allows other operating systems to run above the KVM-enabled kernel. In addition to running another instance of Linux, Microsoft Windows can also be virtualized. The only constraint is that the underlying processor must support the new virtualization instructions. See the Resources section for more information.

Flexible. Open. KVM and hypervisors. Sounds pretty good to me.

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