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The End Of The Road For Linux 2.6 Looks Likely

Linux Kernel

Published on 23 May 2011 09:53 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
15 Comments

It was just a few hours ago that we were the first news site to point out the message by Linus Torvalds on the kernel mailing list about his desire to end the Linux 2.6 kernel series and move future releases to the Linux 2.8 or even Linux 3.0 series. While efforts to change the Linux kernel versioning have been voiced in the past and ultimately failed, it looks like the effort this time around is building momentum and the change could very well happen.

What seems to be the latest idea expressed by Linus and carried by other kernel developers would involve bumping the kernel version to Linux 3.0 for the next release (what would have been Linux 2.6.40 or some other release in the near future) and then succeeding kernel releases would be tagged as Linux 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, etc. The third version number (e.g. Linux 3.0.1) would denote the stable point release. The versions wouldn't consist of both even and odd numbers.

Obviously then at some point in the future it will raise the question about bumping to be the Linux 4.0 kernel. Linus already notes in a few years time he'd probably look at declaring the Linux 4.0 kernel around the time of Linux 3.40, but this "Linux 3" isn't simply to denote the Linux kernel now entering its third decade of development.

There's some still interested though in having the Linux kernel version be date/time oriented, like was proposed by Greg KH in 2008, but he's on board with any change, including this Linux kernel 3.x naming proposal.

Some developers and users also don't see a need to change from the current Linux 2.6.xx versioning, but overall there's more people that seem positive about the effort this time around. With the blessing of Linus, this is likely to take place.

There's also some that would have liked to see the Linux kernel versioning change upon the BKL (Big Kernel Lock) having been removed, but that's already after the fact now (that milestone was hit in Linux 2.6.37). Another developer has proposed that Linux 3.0 not be tagged until the ARM architecture code has been cleaned-up, but so far that proposal doesn't have any following.

There's even now some developers submitting their merge window pull requests as being for Linux v3.0-rc1 (example) in hopes of this fundamental change going through and being done for this 2.6.40 development cycle that's already under-way.

We'll keep monitoring the highly-active mailing list to see what is reached... This is also really great timing because, errr, just wait and see. ;)

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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