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.
Larry Ewing, Simon Budig and Anja Gerwinski [Public domain or Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons
Linux Kernel 5.5 RC6 released.
Things have picked up a _bit_ after the holiday season, but it's still pretty quiet. Not outrageously so: this could almost be a normal rc5, just slightly calmer than usual. Let's see how things go. I do suspect that this ends up being one of those "rc8" releases, not because things look particularly bad right now, but simply because the holiday season has meant that both the testing side and the development side have been quiet. But who knows? It's entirely possible that we'll just have a very quiet next two weeks, and I go "there is no point in delaying things". So nothing looks particularly worrisome, and normally I'd be very happy with a quiet rc6. I just suspect that there's some pent-up work still, and I'm left waiting for the other shoe to drop... Anyway, rc6 is dominated mostly by drivers. There's a little bit of everything there: networking perhaps stands out, but there's USB, GPU, HID, MTD, sound, gpio, block and misc other driver updates there. Outside of drivers, there's core networking, some minor arch updates (ARC, RISC-V, one arm64 revert), some tracing fixes, and a set of fixes for the clone3() system call But all of it is pretty small, and nothing really looks scary at all. Scan the shortlog below if you are into that, but otherwise just go forth and test it out all, Linus