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01 December 2008, 12:26

Linux officially supports IPv6

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The Linux kernel has had preliminary support for IPv6 since kernel version 2.1.8 in 1996, but only in the last week has the Linux Foundation officially stated that all major Linux distributions are now compliant with the US Department of Defense's requirements for IPv6 compatibility. This plan was set in motion in 2003 and specified that by mid-2008, all US government computing and networking equipment should be IPv6-capable.

The research was carried out by the Linux Foundation's IPv6 Working Group, led by Venkata Jagana from IBM, in association with HP, Red Hat, Novell and other companies. There are several different levels of IPv6 compatibilityPDF, from end-node through network server up to a router or Level 3 switch. "This is exactly the kind of work and collaboration that the Linux Foundation can facilitate, and which results in real technology advancements for the Linux operating system," said the Foundation's executive director Jim Zemlin.

The exhaustion of available IPv4 addresses has been delayed by the widespread deployment of Network Address Translation (NAT), but this has only postponed the move to the newer protocol. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) expects to run out of IPv4 addresses by 2011, after which time IPv6 will become a requirement. So far, 2008 has seen some important mileposts, including the DNS root servers becoming accessible over IPv6 in February and Google making its homepage accessible in March, but adoption is still estimated at under 1 per centPDF.

On the impending shortage of IPv4 addresses and the efforts and transition scenarios for IPv6, see also:



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