Linux Kernel Turns Over

New version 4.0 release promises stability and live kernel patching.

Linux godfather Linus Torvalds has announced the availability of Linux kernel 4.0. Kernel watchers have known this new “major” release has been on the way, so the announcement was no surprise. For many products and projects, a new major version number is timed to mark major feature enhancements,  but Linus downplayed the significance of change from the 3.X to 4.X series, stating “… we’ve had much bigger changes in other versions.”

Torvalds has been quoted in the past as saying Linux would need to roll over to a new major version before getting past 3.20 because he wanted to be able to count the minor release numbers on his fingers and toes. Perhaps more to the point, he says he is “… personally so much happier with time-based releases than the bad old days when we had feature-based releases.” According to the announcement, 4.0 does not come with a trove of experimental new features but is a very stable release.

One new feature that has drawn some excitement from the Linux community is the new live kernel patching infrastructure.

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