Kernel Korner - What's New in the 2.6 Scheduler?

When large SMP systems started spending more time scheduling processes than running them, it was time for a change. The new Linux scheduler works well on systems with many processors.

The 2.6 scheduler offers some strong improvements over the 2.4 scheduler. It scales better on larger machines for most workloads without giving up the performance demanded by the one- and two-processor users that make up much of the Linux market. Recent changes allow the scheduler to handle kernel builds smoothly at the same time as it plays your favorite songs. The 2.6 kernel is available now to adventurous souls at Full distributions from Linux vendors that utilize 2.6 kernels will lag as vendors complete their own testing and add their own support features; you should contact your favorite vendor directly for release information.

Rick Lindsley has worked with UNIX and Linux for 20 years. He's currently working on Linux scheduler improvements in IBM's Linux Technology Center and can be reached at