Here is a paper from MIT that discusses scalability of Linux OS to multicore CPUs.
This paper analyzes the scalability of seven system applications (Exim, memcached, Apache, PostgreSQL, gmake, Psearchy, and MapReduce) running on Linux on a 48-core computer. Except for gmake, all applications trigger scalability bottlenecks inside a recent Linux kernel. Using mostly standard parallel programming techniques—this paper introduces one new technique, sloppy counters—these bottlenecks can be removed from the kernel or avoided by changing the applications slightly. Modifying the kernel required in total 3002 lines of code changes. A speculative conclusion from this analysis is that there is no scalability reason to give up on traditional operating system organizations just yet.