The delay of the next version of the Linux kernel is likely to
shake user confidence in the operating system despite having little
effect on software development.
Linus Torvalds, creator of the open source operating system,
publicly admitted at the Linux World Conference and Expo last week
that the final version of the 2.4 kernel is unlikely to be ready
for another two months.
The hiccup is the latest in a series of delays that have
occurred as developers placed more high-end features into the final
release, which it was first hoped might be available last
However, distributors of open source software said the further
delay will not have a significant impact on users because they had
planed for it in release schedules.
Mark Baker, product specialist at Linux distributor Red Hat,
said: "The delay doesn't make a great deal of difference to the
product release. Red Hat 7.0 is 2.4 ready but not dependent on the
latest version of the kernel, which may come next year. When it is
released, users can upgrade automatically using Red Hat Network
Jon Collins, technical director of analysts Sundial Consultancy,
said the kernel is unlikely to be delayed more than a few months
but that nonetheless this will have a knock-on effect.
"The physical knock-on effect is easy to bear compared to how
this will shake user confidence," said Collins. "Enterprises are
not gagging for it [the 2.4 kernel] but the hold-up will delay
acceptance by the enterprise."
"The delay, next to bugs in the latest Linux release, bring
things back down to Earth and reminds people that it's just
Red Hat has been hit by criticism of the quality of Red Hat 7.0
that even prompted calls on the Bugzilla mailing list for the
recall of the product. It now appears that reports of 2,500 bugs
were wildly exaggerated.
Red Hat's Baker said that the true figure, when duplicate
reports were excluded, amounted to more like 320, for which patches
and updates will be made available. Many of these problems involved
incompatibilities with older applications or difficulties with a
new compiler, said Baker, who added that Red Hat welcomed customer
feedback but felt "in this case, things have been blown out of
Dave Fisher, commercial analyst at ecommerce consultancy
GBDirect, said many of the problems with Red hat 7.0 were not
specific to the distribution but connected to either fundamental
design issues or people not reading the manual. Earlier reaction
that the product had not been tested wasn't fair, he added.