Linux Kernel 2.6 Preview

Feature written by James Baughn on Friday, November 23, 2001

from the hack-compile-reboot-crash-repeat dept.

The time has come. Kernel hackers from across the globe will now have the opportunity to show off their programming talent with the opening of the 2.5 development branch of the Linux kernel. A lucky few will get their kernel patches approved by Linus Torvalds so that they may join the elite grandmasters of geekdom. Everybody else will remain condemned to work on yet another mediocre half-finished game with a Freshmeat vitality rating of 1e-12.

The Humorix Vast Spy Network(tm) set its new time machine to March 15, 2005 (the date when 2.6.0 will finally be released) to see what new innovations the next-generation Linux kernel will contain. [Editor's Note: Oops, we meant "features". The word "innovations" is a Microsoft registered trademark. Sorry about that.]

No more VM flame wars

The kernel hackers will finally agree on an appropriate replacement for the Virtual Memory system. After years of intense flame wars and the loss of many innocent Linux Kernel Mailing List bystanders, Linus will decide to recreate the VM subsystem from scratch. Instead of storing virtual memory to disk, the system will store excess data directly into the user's brain via a USB-to-cranium hardware adapter, available at finer retail outlets for US$19.95.

"Hard drives are slow," Linus will say in an interview with SlashMeatKayfiveSalonToday (Slashdot + Freshmeat + Kuro5hin + Salon Magazine + LinuxToday; Salon will be acquired for a total of 10 dollars and 32 cents as part of a hostile takeover in 2002).

The Benevolent Dictator will continue, "But the human brain can quickly store and retrieve an almost unlimited amount of data. Why waste our time with virtual memory algorithms when we can just let the brain do all the work?"

Of course, those old-fashioned users who don't wish to have gigabytes of raw data transferred to their grey matter will have the option to use the old VM subsystem.

Crash stashing

Linux has always had a reputation for stability and long uptimes as compared with Microsoft offerings. However, kernel panics and X Window crashes, though rare, still occur. Thanks to the new VM subsystem, kernel 2.6 will be able to completely reboot in 3.2 microseconds, eliminating the many inconveniences that crashes typically cause.

"All of the machine's state information and memory contents will be backed up into the user's brain using either 'ext4' or 'reiserBrainFS', two new journaling grey matter filesystems," one prominent kernel hacker will explain. "When a crash occurs, this data can be quickly transferred back into RAM and the system will proceed normally without any hiccups. The user won't even know a kernel panic occurred or that Netscapeozilla 8.4 crashed for the billionth time. Let's see Microsoft innovative this!"

Meta-anti-piracy tools

By 2005, Congress will be extremely close to passing the SSSCA bill (renamed the "It's For The Children Of Rock Stars Act") and effectively outlawing any software without built-in anti-copyright-infringement tools. Linus Torvalds will see the corrupt handwriting on the wall and decide to include a new feature in 2.6 that will hopefully teach Sen. Fritz Hollings and his MPAA and RIAA cronies a lesson.

Get ready for "Attackster", a module that implements Digital Rights Management protocols and detects any attempt to copy or use unauthorized material. Upon detection, the kernel will send a barrage of e-mails to RIAA or MPAA World Headquarters informing them of the violation.

But this is a Good Thing! First, the messages will say "A copyright violation has occured at [date/time]" but won't reveal the identity of the user. More importantly, the trillions of messages sent per day will act as a Distributed Denial of Service Attack against the bad guys, sending their computer systems to a grinding halt.

Linus will say, "This is exactly what Hollywood wants. If they can't handle the strain of Linux's new DRM features, then tough!"

Boss key

One group standing in the way of Linux World Domination(tm) are Pointy Haired Bosses. Kernel 2.6 will address this Achilles heel by including a "boss key" that automatically switches the kernel to "Fake Windows Mode". In this mode, Linux will simulate the Windows XP-2005 environment, complete with Dancing Paperclips, bluescreens, and incessant reminders to sign up for a Microsoft Passport.

Now, geeks will be able to install Linux on their company workstations without the knowledge of their PHBs. Productivity will skyrocket, hopefully earning them a fat raise.

[Editor's Note: We've received word that some Linux zealots have already created a similar program for Windows. When a Microsoft lawyer shows up for a surprise license inspection, users can hit the "Linux Key" and the system will simulate a Linux box, complete with cryptic boot messages and incompatible window managers. The Microserfs won't be able to tell the difference (unless the underlying Windows kernel happens to crash at the wrong time).]

Conclusion

Unfortunately, during their foray into the future, the Humorix Vast Spy Network(tm) learned that Microsoft will still be in business in 2005. I suppose we can't expect miracles all of the time, but this is still a major letdown. However, we can rest assured knowing that progress on Linux will continue and the path to World Domination will have fewer obstacles. Or something like that.

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