Brief: Linus Torvalds reveals the silly reason about why there will be a Linux Kernel 5 hopefully in the summer of 2018. He also discusses the need for new Linux Kernel maintainers.
In the recently concluded Open Source Summit in Prague, Linux creator Linus Torvalds discusses sits down with VP of VMware and discussed the issues surrounding the Linux Kernel. I attended the event in person and even covered it in a live video on It’s FOSS Facebook page but since not everyone is going to watch the video for over 30 minutes, I am going to list some of the key takeaways from his talk.
Linux Kernel requires new maintainers
Linux Kernel is 26 years old. And the Kernel maintainers are a lot older than 26. And that creates a problem because though there are many young contributors to the kernel development, the kernel maintainers (people responsible for reviewing the code commits to the kernel) are the people in their 40’s or 50’s. Part of the problem is the complexity of maintaining the kernel.
But Torvalds think the main reason kernel maintainers are ‘old’ because they need to understand the patches from the insane amount of inflow of mails. And this comes with experience.
The second reason is that a kernel maintainer should be around long enough to be considered reliable.
And there comes the problem when someone working on the kernel as a maintainer for a decade leaves. It’s not easy to fill the gap because one cannot just come in and handle the tasks like in a regular software project.
But this doesn’t mean that one should not try to be one as the project actually needs more kernel maintainers. If you can show that you are reliable, you are there (to handle the incoming commits) and you are responsive (to questions in mails), you are welcome to be a kernel maintainer.
I love (Kernel) maintainers... it may not always appear that way in my emails... it is a tough love --Linus TorvaldsClick To Tweet
There will be Linux Kernel 5.0 but don’t expect it to be a revolutionary release
Linus Torvalds reveals that most probably Linux Kernel 5.0 will be released in the summer of 2018. And if you are getting too excited about it let me break it to you, it’s just a normal release like the others before that.
Just because there is a major bump in the version number, it doesn’t mean it will have extraordinary features in it. It’s just a number.
But why call it 5.0 when there are no major changes in it? The reason is purely psychological or should I say purely numerical. Torvalds thinks that it is difficult to keep track when the numbers go in the 20s and 30s. It is easier to remember smaller numbers like 13 or 14.
This is the reason why there will be 5.0 instead of 4.20.
Considering that there is a new kernel release every 8-10 weeks, the Linux Kernel 5.0 should be coming around next summer but Torvalds thinks it might be sooner than that.
You can watch complete talk in the video below. If you like Linux related videos, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.