Linus Torvalds Releases Linux 1.2.0

And other fast-breaking news stories...
What Is Left to Do?

Linus and others are working on support for multiple platforms, including DEC's Alpha, Sun's Sparc, MIPS' R3000 and R4000 series, and IBM and Motorola's PowerPC. Support for Amigas and Ataris with the Motorola 680x0 CPU has become relatively stable recently, and work is progressing on merging that work into the standard development kernel. DEC has funded a small team of programmers to work on porting Linux to the Alpha, and has loaned an Alpha machine to Linus. They are working in parallel. The DEC team has already released a 32-bit version of Linux that can run some programs, and Linus has released a 64-bit version that can run some Alpha OSF/1 binaries, and has successfully run GNU Bash.

Many Linux developers have been working behind the scenes on more performance enhancements and additional functionality that they would like to add to Linux 1.3.x. Linus has indicated that disk-space quotas, considered essential by many people who use Linux to run public-access systems, will probably be added during 1.3.x development. Further improvements to networking are being designed by Alan Cox, the main networking developer. Donald Becker, the developer of most of the Linux ethernet drivers, is working on some 100MB/s ethernet drivers that are likely to be added to 1.3.x. Work on wide SCSI support has already been started. More “intelligent” (or co-processing) serial adaptor drivers will be added. New hardware devices are being added all the time, and it is reasonable to expect that quite a few new supported devices will be added during 1.3.x development.

Not necessarily in version 1.3.x, but at some point in the not-yet-determined future, Linus has mentioned support for systems with multiple CPU's, such as the dual Pentiums being sold by many vendors now.

Of course, all the exact predictions here are the predictions of the author, and should be “taken with a grain of salt”. We can expect that the Linux developers have more nice surprises in store for us, some of which they haven't yet thought of.

In Mostly Unrelated News...

The Linux dosemu development team reported that their current development version of dosemu (runs DOS, and DOS programs, from within Linux) runs the 32-bit Borland C/C++ compilers. They also report being able to run several 32-bit DOS-only games that they had been told would be impossible to run in dosemu. The list of games posted included: DOOM, DOOM2, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2, OMF 2097, Raptor, Wacky Wheels, and Rise of the Triad. (Note that Id software has also made native versions of Doom available for Linux.) Of course, common DOS applications like WordPerfect still run, too.

The team intends to have a public release of dosemu ready within a month or so; hopefully dosemu 0.60 will be available for ftp from tsx-11.mit.edu in /pub/linux/ALPHA/dosemu/ by the time you read this. They are currently looking for volunteers to help them write documentation, and they will probably still be looking for volunteers to help with this large task by the time you read this; if you are interested, download dosemu and contact the team leader, James MacLean, jmaclean@fox.nstn.ns.ca.

—Phil Hughes, Publisher

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Phil Hughes

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