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Linux 3.0 announced

by Hugo Jobling on 31 May 2011, 11:18

Tags: Linux

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Magic number

Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel, has declared that the next release of the core of the open-source GNU/Linux operating system will bump it to version 3.0.

The decision to move from the current 2.x.x series of version numbers isn't driven by any major change or addition of features, but rather, simply Linus' decision that it is time for the kernel to get a new major version number: "It will get released close enough to the 20-year mark, which is excuse enough for me," adding: "what's the point of being in charge if you can't pick the bike shed colour without holding a referendum on it? So I'm just going all alpha-male, and just renumbering it. You'll like it."

The changes in version 3.0 will be minor at best, akin to any other kernel release - bug fixes, stability improvements. Big changes, on the other hand, will comprise: "NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. Sure, we have the usual two thirds driver changes, and a lot of random fixes, but the point is that 3.0 is just about renumbering, we are very much not doing a KDE-4 or a Gnome-3 here. No breakage, no special scary new features, nothing at all like that. We've been doing time-based releases for many years now; this is in no way about features. If you want an excuse for the renumbering, you really should look at the time-based one ('20 years') instead. "

The long-running major version number of the Linux kernel has put it in some contrast with the many distributions built of GNU/Linux built top of it. Ubuntu, for example, sticks to a six-monthly release schedule, with the major version number determined by year, the minor by month (11.04, the latest, denotes an April 2011 release, for example) and other distributions have progressed their revisions at a similar rate leaving the kernel looking a little long in the tooth. It's a welcome 20th birthday present, then, for the Linux kernel to have its own progress acknowledged - even when that acknowledgement doesn't actually change anything.


HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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I wonder how many badly written scripts will fail when they don't see a version that is 2.6.x :P
And there was me getting a little excited about major revisions and cool new features on the existing kernel.
What exactly are ‘random fixes’?
And there was me getting a little excited about major revisions and cool new features on the existing kernel.
Hmm, new features on a kernel I'm kinda cool about - prefer stability in my core OS.
What exactly are ‘random fixes’?
Obviously the patch mechanism selected by the dumb bozo's who wrote the software I'm currently swearing at! :censored:
Seriously, what LT means is that there's no great assault on the feature set, instead the usual collection of miscellaneous fixes that you would normally see for a kernel release. So if they decided to target (for example) memory management then that'd be “non random fixes”.

Think LT is probably right - the numbering is getting silly, e.g. the Ubuntu system I'm running at the moment is 2.6.32-32. However, given there's no new shiny features, perhaps his original suggestion of “2.8” would have made more sense?

And I guess that at some point, some doofus going to say that you need “kernel 3.0” to run “Gnome 3.0”… sigh.
But don't you need “kernel 3.0” to run …. oh wait….


I have no problem with this overall, it's Linus' right and if it draws a focus on the kernal then it can't be bad.
Certainly having a new whole number that doesnt scare everyone silly seems like a solid move to me.