Thu. Aug 6th, 2020

Linux Kernel 5.8 releases

2 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 5.8 released.

So I considered making an rc8 all the way to the last minute, but
decided it's not just worth waiting another week when there aren't any
big looming worries around.

Because despite the merge window having been very large, there really
hasn't been anything scary going on in the release candidates. Yeah,
we had some annoying noise with header file dependencies this week,
but that's not a new annoyance, and it's also not the kind of subtle
bug that keeps me up at night worrying about it.

It did reinforce how nice it would be if we had some kind of tooling
support to break nasty header file dependencies automatically, but if
wishes were horses.. Maybe some day we'll have some kind of SAT-solver
for symbol dependencies that can handle all our different
architectures and configurations, but right now it's just a manual
pain that occasionally bites us.


Aside from silly header file noise, the last week was mostly dominated
by the networking pull, which accounts for about half of the changes
(mellanox drivers and selftests stand out, but there's other smaller
things in there too). Some RCU fixes stand out.

Outside of the networking stuff, it's mostly various small driver
fixes (gpu, rdma, sound and pinctrl being much of it), and some minor
architecture noise (arm, x86, powerpc). But it's all fairly small.

So there it is, a shiny new kernel. Give it a whirl before all you
people start sending me the pull requests for the merge window, which
I'll start handling tomorrow..