It only seems like yesterday that the long awaited 2.4 Linux kernel came out, with a host of improvements in ACPI, USB and many other technologies which had been a dog's dinner in Linux before then.
Now its emerged that the new stable kernel version, 2.6, may be out by Q2 next year! However many of the improvements to this new kernel are aimed more at enterprise level customers, with improved scalability and support for silly amounts of RAM. But its also likely that Linux will be able to support a "device manager" of sorts and a logical volume manager as well. This could be just the sort of thing that Linux needs to start competing with MS on a more open playing field.