Linux 4.0 is nigh! Or not?

Linux penguins

Linus Torvalds, father of Linux Kernel and benevolent dictator for life of its son, is pondering the new release number for Linux. Will it be 3.20 or 4.0?

Update: and 4.0 it shall be

And so the populus has spoken, 4.0 shall be it. With my greatest displeasure.

Linux 3.20 or 4.0?

It’s been 4 years since Linux 3.0 (2011) and much more since Linux 2.0.0 (1996), but we might just be near Linux 4.0. In 2011 Linus Torvalds decided to move from 2.6.39 to 3.0 also removing the third number from the version (which still exists but only for security and important updates). Next release so will either be 3.20 or 4.0, but the interesting fact is that Linus decided to publicly open a poll on Google+. At the time I’m writing this article Linux 4.0 is winning (55% against 45%) with about 2500 votes. So, yes, Linux 4.0 might be nearer than we think. But aside from version numbers, what will 3.20/4.0 bring?

Live Patching

In the last year Red Hat and Novell started working on each own live patching solution creating kGraft (Novell) and Kpatch (Red Hat). These two huge Open Source companies, however, didn’t know each other was working on its own solution until they unveiled their projects. Later, kernel developers decided to provide a solid base to support both solutions, and to address the problem. But what is Live Patching? Live patching means patching on top of running software, meaning you will be able to update the kernel without rebooting your machine, thus avoiding downtime. Live patching is probably the greatest feature of the next release, placing a milestone in Linux history.

Various changes

Aside from Live patching, the other changes are not quite exciting.

  • Better support to F2FS, XFS and OverlayFS.
  • TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module) is going to be supported.
  • KVM improvements.
  • Improvements to Intel DRM drivers.
  • AMD R9 290 Hawaii dynamic clocking fix.
  • Input/HID/Media drivers improvements.
  • Sound improvements for HP laptops.

Not much meat on the grid, right? I think not enough to call the next release Linux 4.0, so I’d rather see 3.20, but odds are against it; what do you think? 3.20 or 4.0?

Image courtesy of Liam Quinn

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