Linus Torvalds Announces Linux 4.0

Feb 24, 2015

But what do the big numbers really mean?

Linus Torvalds has announced that the next release of the Linux kernel will have the name Linux 4.0. This release will mark the end of the Linux 3.X series, which began in July, 2011, and will mark the beginning of a new 4.X series. The announcement comes after Linus polled kernel developers to see if they were ready to start a new series. (If the developers had voted down the 4.0 name, the release would have been Linux 3.20.)
The next release has received some significant attention for adding live kernel patching. Still, the casual attitude of Linus and the other developers regarding the release number is strangely comical--seemingly a parody of the commercial software industry, where a new "major release" is accompanied with vast explosions of fanfare and hype. As Linus says in his message to the kernel mailing list, "Because the people have spoken, and while most of it was complete gibberish, numbers don't lie. People preferred 4.0 and 4.0 it shall be. Unless somebody can come up with a good reason against it."
According to the Torvalds, the strongest argument for some people wishing for the start of the 4.X series was "..a wish to see 4.1.5, because that was the version of Linux skynet used to the T-800 Terminator," an android played by Arnold Schwartzenegger in the Terminator film series.
He goes on to the report that "...moving to 4.0 does not mean that we somehow changed what people see. It's all just more of the same, just with smaller numebrs so that I can do releases without having to take off my socks again." Torvalds plays down the argument that it is better for a major number change to match a major feature release, stating "We don't break compatibility, and we haven't done feature-based releases since basically forever."
The current version of Linux 4.0 is a release candidate. The kernel team will wait for feedback and bug fixes before posting the final release.

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