The delay of the next version of the Linux kernel is likely to shake user confidence in the operating system, but will have little effect on software development.
Linus Torvalds, the creator of the operating system, publicly admitted at the recent Linux World Conference and Expo that the final version of the 2.4 kernel is not likely to be ready for another two months.
The hiccup is the latest in a series of delays that have occurred as developers placed more high-end features into the final release, which had been due since last autumn.
However, distributors of open source software said the further delay will not have a significant impact on users because they had already planned for delays in release schedules.
Mark Baker, product specialist at Linux distributor Red Hat, said: "The delay doesn't make a great deal of difference to the product release. Red Hat 7.0 is 2.4-ready but not dependent on the latest version of the kernel, which may come next year. When it is released, users can upgrade automatically using Red Hat Network Services."
Jon Collins, technical director at analyst Sundial Consultancy, said the kernel is unlikely to be delayed by more than a few months, but that this will have repercussions.
"The knock-on effect is easy to bear compared with how this will shake end-user confidence," said Collins. "Enterprises are not gagging for [the 2.4 kernel] but the hold-up will delay acceptance."
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