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Linus Torvalds Debuts First Linux 4 Release Candidate

  • February 23, 2015
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

The Linux 3.x kernel family is no more. Long Live Linux 4!

The Linux 3.x kernel family first officially debuted on July 22, 2011. Linux 3.0 was the first major version change for Linux since the 2.6 kernel debuted in December of 2003. While Linux 2.6 was a major milestone that signified a break with the past, Linux 3.0 really was just the renumbered Linux 2.6.40 kernel. In the same manner the Linux 4.0 kernel is the continuation of Linux 3.x and is the renamed Linux.320.

"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," Torvalds wrote in an LKML post. "Unless somebody can come up with a good argument against it."

One reason suggested why Linux 4.x is a good idea is to align with the future, as told by Hollywood.

"The strongest argument for some people advocating 4.0 seems to have been a wish to see 4.1.15 - because "that was the version of Linux skynet used for the T-800 terminator"," Torvalds wrote. "So on the whole, I wouldn't read too much into the number."

Overall though, Torvalds noted that the Linux 4.0 rc1 was a relatively small release. The biggest change that most people have noticed so far is the inclusion of live patching, which is a joint effort combining prior efforts from both Red Hat and SUSE Linux.

Torvalds commented that his favorite features in Linux 4.0 so far are virtual machine (VM) code cleanups. He explained that LInux 4.0 rc1 gets rid of non-linear remapping code and unifies the NUMA and PROTNONE handling for page tables.

"Moving to 4.0 does *not* mean that we somehow changed what people see," Torvalds emphasized. "It's all just more of the same, just with smaller numbers so that I can do releases without having to take off my socks again."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at LinuxPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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