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.