The Bullet Points: Linux 2.4

A look at what's new in the next kernel release.
Parallel Ports

Although many users may not notice it, Linux 2.4 includes a complete rewrite of the parallel-port system (again). Like 2.2, Linux 2.4 includes modular support for parallel-port devices including printers and disk drives. Additionally, Linux 2.4 includes “generic” support which would allow for easier support of parallel-port scanners and other devices. Linux 2.4 will also support more parallel ports, including those which require DMA. Many existing systems have this disabled by default in the BIOS; however, it can be reenabled. Also, Linux 2.4 supports using parallel ports as the console. This feature allows some Linux users to use the printer as a debugging tool or keep a hard record of console output.

That's my “Top 8” bullet points of Linux 2.4. Opinions vary greatly as to what features or additions are the most important to each new version of the Linux kernel, and you may have a favorite feature not mentioned here. Linux 2.4 is another great milestone along the path to acceptance and usefulness in a wide variety of markets, and I am positive we will be sharing the “most important features” debate again soon for Linux 2.6. Until then—happy hacking.

Joseph Pranevich ( is an avid Linux geek, and while not working for Lycos, enjoys all kinds of writing and working with a number of open-source projects.