Being the result of a concerted effort of programmers around the world, wouldn't have been possible without the global network. So it's not surprising that already in early stages of development, several people started to work on providing it with network capabilities. A UUCP implementation was running on almost from the very beginning, and work on TCP/IP-based networking started around autumn 1992, when Ross Biro and others created what now has become known as Net-1.
After Ross quit active development in May 1993, Fred van Kempen began to work on a new implementation, rewriting major parts of the code. This ongoing effort is known as Net-2. A first public release, Net-2d, was made in Summer 1992 (as part of the 0.99.10 kernel), and has since been maintained and expanded by several people, most notably Alan Cox, as Net-2Debugged. After heavy debugging and numerous improvements to the code, he changed its name to Net-3 after 1.0 was released. This is the version of the networking code currently included in the official kernel releases.
Net-3 offers device drivers for a wide variety of Ethernet boards, as well as SLIP (for sending network traffic over serial lines), and PLIP (for parallel lines). With Net-3, has a TCP/IP implementation that behaves very well in a local area network environment, showing uptimes that beat some of the commercial PC . Development currently moves toward the necessary stability to reliably run it on Internet hosts.
Beside these facilities, there are several projects going on that will enhance the versatility of . A driver for PPP (the point-to-point protocol, another way to send network traffic over serial lines), is at Beta stage currently, and an AX.25 driver for ham radio is at Alpha stage. Alan Cox has also implemented a driver for Novell's IPX protocol, but the effort for a complete networking suite compatible with Novell's has been put on hold for the moment, because of Novell's unwillingness to provide the necessary documentation. Another very promising undertaking is samba, a free NetBIOS server for , written by Andrew Tridgell.