Linus Torvalds and Andrew Morton Release Linux Kernel 2.6 Test9 Version

Call for broad industry testing of pre-production Linux kernel in enterprise environments and by independent software vendors

BEAVERTON, Ore - October 27, 2003 - The Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), a global consortium of leading technology companies dedicated to accelerating the adoption of Linux, today announced the release of a new 2.6 Linux test kernel version from Linux creator Linus Torvalds and 2.6 kernel maintainer Andrew Morton that is ready for enterprise testing.

The software release - available on the Web at or - is called the test9 release version of the Linux 2.6 kernel. It is a significant milestone in the development of the final production version of the new 2.6 Linux kernel. OSDL is calling on major Linux customers, independent software vendors (ISVs) and leading systems providers to target the test9 release version for testing, validation and enhancement to prepare for the next production release of Linux.

"Now is when we want big companies and software vendors to step in and hammer on the kernel so we can get their ideas into the final production release of 2.6 Linux," said OSDL Fellow Linus Torvalds. "This is their last big chance."

When Torvalds and Morton released the first 2.6 kernel test version in July, they established stable APIs, including Posix and thread interfaces. OSDL has performed a non-stop series of performance and regression tests on the kernel at its data center test Lab facilities in Portland, Oregon and Yokohama, Japan.

The Lab's Linux test infrastructure consists of OSDL's Scalable Test Platform (STP) and Patch Lifecycle Manager(PLM) systems, plus a compile regression test platform. The Lab publishes testing results online at .

The OSDL testing infrastructure automatically tracks the progress of kernel development, checking new patches when they are released. OSDL has created a set of database workload tests based on Fair Use implementation of key Transaction Processing Council (TPC) tests, and provides source code for other test suites, including an updated version of the AIM7 and AIM9 tests. All OSDL test code is freely available under an open source license. OSDL is continuously performing tests on enterprise hardware configurations and publishes those results online at . The Lab encourages users of the Linux-2.6.0-test9 to take advantage of OSDL test workloads, available online at OSDL or on Sourceforge, and to report back on their experiences and results.

"The new 2.6 Linux kernel really broadens the markets where Linux can replace legacy platforms," said Timothy Witham, OSDL Lab director. "It has key new features that allow Linux to scale dramatically up to support 32 or more processors and down to run in a wide variety of consumer and industrial devices, including hundreds of new low-cost embedded processors."

Among the major improvements in the new 2.6 kernel compared to the current production 2.4 Linux kernel released in January 2001 are:

  1. Improved scalability. It has been tested on up to 64-way systems. It is ready for production use on 32-way machines. Added new CPU scheduler, memory management and file system code. Supports up to 64Gb of memory on IA-32 systems.
  2. Faster threading. New Native Posix Thread Library for Linux (NPTL) results in test times on 100,000 threads reduced from 15 minutes to 2 seconds for significantly faster system performance under heavy loads.
  3. Enhanced driver layer. I/O devices such as disks perform better and are easier to manage. New features include: Logical Volume Management (LVM), sysfs, device mapper, reduced lock contention.
  4. Support for many more embedded device applications. uClinux integration brings new support for low-cost, low-power CPUs without memory management units which are commonly used in embedded devices.
  5. Improved desktop features. Hot plug devices, including firewire and USB, are dramatically improved. Mouse, video, and sound are smoother and perform better. New Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) brings professional music-studio quality audio.

About Open Source Development Labs (OSDL)

OSDL - home to Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux - is dedicated to accelerating the growth and adoption of Linux in the enterprise. Founded in 2000 and supported by a global consortium of IT industry leaders, OSDL is a non-profit organization that provides state-of the-art computing and test facilities in the United States and Japan available to developers around the world. OSDL members include Alcatel, Cisco, Computer Associates, Dell, Ericsson, Force Computers, Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, Linuxcare, Miracle Linux Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric, MontaVista Software, NEC Corporation, Nokia, NTT DATA INTELLILINK, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, Sun Microsystems, SUSE LINUX, TimeSys, Toshiba, Transmeta Corporation, Turbolinux, Ulticom, Unilever and VA Software. Visit OSDL on the Web at .

OSDL is a trademark of Open Source Development Labs, Inc. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds. Third party marks and brands are the property of their respective holders.