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New Year, New Linux Kernel

Fifteen years to the day since Linux creator Linus Torvalds bought the machine that started it all, the first new Linux kernel of the year has hit the street only two months after its predecessor hit.

In a mailing list posting, Torvalds said the changes in 2.6.15, "are really pretty much all over the place, with over four thousand commits merged in the two weeks since 2.6.14."

Linux on PowerPC users will notice a significant change in that the 32-bit and 64-bit PowerPC kernel development trees have been merged into a generic PowerPC development branch. The new generic tree allows for kernel compilation on either 64- or 32-bit PowerPCs.

IPv6 support is also given plenty of attention in Linux 2.6.15, with no fewer than 12 commits. One the IPv6 fixes an address deletion issue where, "if you add more than one IPv6 address belonging to the same prefix and delete the address that was last added, routing table entry for that prefix is also deleted."

Other IPv6 fixes and enhancements include a fix to a dead lock issue, MLDv2 reports, temporary address generation and route lifetime.

The 2.6.15 kernel went through seven release candidates before being issued, with the seventh appearing on Christmas Eve.

"Now, most of you are probably going to be totally bored out of your minds on Christmas day, and here's the perfect distraction. Test 2.6.15-rc7," Torvalds wrote in a mailing list posting. "All the stores will be closed, and there's really nothing better to do in between meals."

In total four major point releases of the 2.6 Linux Kernel were released in 2005.