Linux 2.4 Scorecard

Joe Pranevich – Originally printed Linux Journal Magazine, Issue #77 (Sep 2000)


I have been asked many times whether Linux 2.4 would be the “Desktop” Linux or the “Enterprise” Linux. In all honesty, I’ve referred to it as both at different times in the development process. In order to finally put this debate to rest, I have put together a “Linux 2.4 Scorecard”. This document attempts to categorize many of the major changes in Linux 2.4 in “Desktop”, “Enterprise” and “Embedded/Misc.” categories. Some changes appear in multiple columns. Other changes have been put in the “Embedded/Misc.” category, since they don’t really fit anywhere else in the table.

This table is only a guess as to how the features will be used. While a particular feature might be categorized for the “Desktop”, it may be equally useful in some server configurations, and vice versa. The category of many items is debatable, but this is where they typically fit.

Every one of the many changes that went into Linux 2.4 makes Linux a better operating system as a whole. Dividing features into groups in this way makes for a nicely organized list, but not one firmly anchored on technical specifics. Only some of the major bullet points are listed; Linux 2.4 includes many more changes across almost every subsystem.

And the result: “Enterprise” gains more features, by a nose.


  • Itanium (ia64) Support
  • Improved MTRR/MCR Support
  • Better Resource (DMA, IRQ) Management
  • ISA PnP Support
  • Lighter VFS
  • Device File system (DevFS)
  • I2O Support
  • PC Card (PCMCIA)
  • USB (Universal Serial Bus)
  • Firewire (IEEE1394)
  • Improved DVD Support
  • Improved CD-ROM Changer Support
  • UDF (DVD) File system
  • Read/Write HPFS (OS/2) File system
  • Better SMB (Windows Share) Support
  • Digitizer Pad as Mice Support
  • Rewritten Parallel Device Layer
  • Direct Rendering Manager
  • Speech Synthesizer Cards
  • Rewritten PPP LayerTotal: 20


  • Itanium (ia64) Support
  • Multiple IO/APICs Support
  • Configurable Process Limit
  • More Efficient Scheduler
  • 32-bit UID/GID Support on i386
  • Max RAM increased to 64GB
  • >16 Ethernet Cards
  • 10 IDE Controllers
  • Files >2GB on i386
  • Logical Volume Manager (LVM)
  • RAW I/O Devices
  • EFS File system
  • Better UFS Support
  • NFS Version 3 support
  • Wake One
  • VFS subsystem more scalable
  • “Soft Net”–Improves Network Stability/Scalability
  • Rewritten Firewall/NAT Layer
  • 64-bit MIPS Support
  • Partial DECNet Support
  • Partial ARCNet Support
  • ATM Networking
  • Kernel web dæmonTotal: 23


  • S/390 Support; SuperH Support
  • Keyboard initialization fixes for embedded devices
  • Reduced memory for VFS layer
  • POSIX Shared Memory
  • Block/File API CleanupTotal: 5

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