The next version of the Linux operating system kernel will be released at least six months later than originally planned.
Linus Torvalds, the operating system's creator, admitted today that kernel version 2.4 would be released in "a few months". It would then have to be tested by the open source software community and product vendors with release possible around summer.
Speaking at the opening of the three-day LinuxWorld conference in New York, Torvalds said he had originally hoped it would take between nine and 12 months to develop the kernel, with the completion date about now. "It is slipping in that sense," he said.
Torvalds sought to reassure users that the delays are not serious. "We're ensuring that there won't be three-and-a-half years between releases again," he said.
Kernel version 2.4 will add high-end support, scaling to eight processors from the current two, support the USB and Firewire connectivity standards, offer improved graphics support, and introduce measures to work better with mobile devices. Version 2.2 was released last year.
Torvalds also attempted to reassure delegates about the long-term stability of the Linux initiative. He countered charges that Linux would fragment into competing and conflicting standards, as happened to Unix in the late 1980s and early 1990s, arguing that Linux's modular development allows a high degree of specialisation without dividing into incompatible approaches.
His most popular comments, however, were those directed towards Microsoft. Asked whether there was a technical opportunity to improve Windows to Linux porting because the Microsoft-trial made Windows less attractive, Torvalds won applause when he described Microsoft as a "company I don't care for that much".
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