When the Linux kernel is working well, it should be almost invisible to the people using Linux. External devices should be detected and configured automatically. Applications should be able to read and write data from storage devices, communications cards or any other types of supported hardware. By most accounts, the new 2.6 kernel included with Fedora Core 3 does those jobs well and provides a solid foundation for continued growth of Linux.
The focus of this chapter is on improvements in the 2.6 kernel that relate to how you might use it in Fedora Core 3. For that reason, I've broken down descriptions of the 2.6 kernel in much the same way I divided up the book: desktop, server, and administrative features (in this case, represented by a section on supported hardware drivers). After that, I describe features in the 2.6 kernel that relate to how it can be used outside of Fedora Core 3.