Wed. Nov 20th, 2019

Linux Kernel 5.4-rc8 releases

3 min read

The Linux kernel is an open source monolithic Unix-like computer operating system kernel. The Linux family of operating systems is based on this kernel and deployed on both traditional computer systems such as personal computers and servers, usually in the form of Linux distributions, and on various embedded devices such as routers, wireless access points, PBXes, set-top boxes, FTA receivers, smart TVs, PVRs, and NAS appliances. The Android operating system for tablet computers, smartphones, and smartwatches uses services provided by the Linux kernel to implement its functionality. While the adoption on desktop computers is low, Linux-based operating systems dominate nearly every other segment of computing, from mobile devices to mainframes. As of November 2017, all of the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers run Linux.

The Linux kernel was conceived and created in 1991 by Linus Torvalds for his personal computer and with no cross-platform intentions, but has since expanded to support a huge array of computer architectures, many more than other operating systems or kernels. Linux rapidly attracted developers and users who adopted it as the kernel for other free software projects, notably the GNU Operating System. The Linux kernel has received contributions from nearly 12,000 programmers from more than 1,200 companies, including some of the largest software and hardware vendors.


Linux Kernel

Larry Ewing, Simon Budig and Anja Gerwinski [Public domain or Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Linux Kernel 5.4-rc8 released. This version only modifies some minor issues, mainly in the following areas:

I'm not entirely sure we need an rc8, because last week was pretty
calm despite the Intel hw workarounds landing. So I considered just
making a final 5.4 and be done with it, but decided that there's no
real downside to just doing the rc8 after having a release cycle that
took a while to calm down.

But it *has* calmed down, and I expect the upcoming week to be quiet
too (knock wood).

In fact, considering that the week after that is Thanksgiving week in
the US, I'm hoping that most of the pull requests I get next week
aren't fixes for 5.4, but people sending me early pull requests for
when the merge window for 5.5 opens. That way those proactive
developers can then sit back and relax during that turkey-filled

Anyway, looking at the rc8 diffs, the bulk of it is for the intel hw
issues, both on the CPU side (TSX Async Abort, and the iTLB multihit
thing), and on the GPU side (GPU hang and invalid accesses). None of
the patches are big, and honestly, shouldn't affect anybody.

The other noticeable thing in the diffs is the removal of the vboxsf
filesystem. It will get resubmitted properly later, there was nothing
obviously wrong with it technically, it just ended up in the wrong
location and submitted at the wrong time. We'll get it done properly
probably during 5.5.

Outside of those two areas, there's some kvm fixes, and some minor
core networking, VM and VFS fixes. And various random small things.

Nothing really looks all that worrisome from a release standpoint, and
as mentioned I was toying with just skipping this rc entirely. But
better safe than sorry.

Please do go give the tires a final few kicks before the expected 5.4
release next weekend.