Most notable have been the extensive SMP enhancements and work to provide fine-grained multi-threading/locking in the network stack. This was spurred, even Linus admits, in response to the Mindcraft survey, finding NT running IIS on a multi-CPU machine serving static content faster/more scalable than Linux running Apache.

As some of the more informed laymen might imagine, this has involved rewriting a fairly significant amount of the kernel, and has been a monumental effort, taking much longer than folks guessed. Of course, the reason why you want to run Linux, faster than NT or not, is because unlike Microsoft, the linux guys won't release it 'till it's finished. It's nice not to have to reboot every day to keep from crashing.

Anecdotally, the enhancements have been extremely effective. Especially anyone with a multi-CPU machine should find the new kernel well worth the time to upgrade.

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