New Linux Kernel 2.6.6 Hits the Net

Developers this week have released the new Linux Kernel 2.6.6 — a development that observers and participants in the open-source process are calling good news.

The story about the new kernel first emerged this morning on an Internet bulletin board, where bare details about the software were posted, including the fact that it is a patch for version 2.6.5 and is about 2.8 MB in size.

“The 2.6.6 release is a very good maintenance release, which takes in a lot of the maintenance that has come in from the 2.6.1 kernel all the way up to the 2.6 kernel,” Sam Greenblatt, senior vice president and chief architect of Computer Associates’ Linux technology group, told LinuxInsider.

This new release has cured some of the problems in personal Linux, he added.

Moreover, the software “significantly corrected the vulnerabilities that were discovered,” said Greenblatt, who is also on the board of directors for the OSDL.

‘It’s Important’

“It is important for all Linux users,” said Greenblatt. Other experts agreed with that assessment.

Ross Brunson, director of Unix and Linux education at The Training Camp, and author of Linux and Windows 2000 Integration Toolkit, is using the new Linux Kernel 2.6.6 on Fedora and Knoppix 3.4.

Brunson believes the new kernel “makes Linux more enterprise-friendly and removes limitations that kept it from competing directly with Solaris and Windows.”

The Training Camp offers Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC) and Linux+ certification, boot-camp style, and is an LPI-US Approved Training Partner (LATP), the company said.

Organic Development

The new kernel will also help Astaro, and other open-source developers. “Of course it will” help, said Jan Hichert, chief executive officer of Astaro, in an interview with LinuxInsider. “Linux kernel development is like all open-source projects — an organic, forever-evolving process that gets more refined over time.”

Hichert — whose company combines open-source software with proprietary software — said the new developments with Linux give him the “best” of two worlds.

“Combining open source with proprietary stuff gives Astaro the best of two worlds,” the CEO said. “A huge community supports OS projects and it’s not a free-for-all as some will have you believe; it’s actually a highly structured process with a hierarchy of leaders in place. And because the Linux community is so strong, our company bulletin board acts like a surrogate tech-support center, with users exchanging tips and offering product development suggestions.”

But, he added, on the proprietary side, his company has incorporated technology from vendors like ISS and Kaspersky Labs.

Benefit to End User

“We can still offer the market a low price point because of the amount of Linux we use,” said Hichert. “We take some of those saved dollars and use them to sponsor our favorite open-source projects. We sponsor in the five-digits. A competitive advantage translates to a benefit for the end user and the Linux community.”

The company, Astaro, has 20,000 networks using Astaro Security Linux, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield, eBet, National Background Data, Salem Hospital in Oregon, Stanford University, Sharp Labs and Watsco.

Astaro was founded in 2000 by German students working for an ISP.

“They basically cobbled together a whole bunch of open source technologies, threw in the Linux operating system, and glued it all together with their own coding so that what you have is an integrated package that contains everything a small- to mid-size or branch office needs for its network security — firewall, VPN, antivirus, antispam and URL blocking,” said a spokesperson for the company.

“And now with version five, just released and shipping today, they added intrusion protection, a feature that is based on the open source project called Snort,” said a spokesperson for the company.”

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