Linus Torvalds releases Linux kernel 5.17 rc1 • The Register

The first release candidate for Linux kernel version 5.17 has rolled off the production line – despite fears that working from a laptop could complicate things.

Emperor penguin Linus Torvalds is currently on the road and, when announcing the Linux 5.16 release predicted that the 5.17 merge window would be “somewhat painful” due to travel and laptop use – something Torvalds said “I generally try to avoid “.

Torvalds’ dislike of laptops stems from the fact that he likes to do a lot of local testing on his beastly workstation powered by a 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper. Linus’ lappie doesn’t seem to fit his desktop, so he ends up using more automated build tests in the cloud.

“And so [i] I really hope everything cooked well in linux-next so that there are no unnecessary problems that arise when things hit my tree,” he wrote.

Torvalds’ fears do not appear to have materialized, as his announcement early version 5.17 rc1 states “Everything seems to have gone pretty well.”

The chief maintainer believes that 5.17 “doesn’t seem to be planned to be a huge release, and everything seems pretty normal.” Torvalds noted “a bit more activity than usual in a few corners of the kernel (random number generator and fscache rewrite stand out)”, but there was nothing else he reported as significant.

Others may be different: The register believes that the changes that allow RISC-V silicon to address 64 TB of physical memory set the stage for exciting future server developments. Also important is additional support for Intel’s Alder Lake processors, which combine performance and more modest cores.

Adding Real-Time Linux Analysis (RTLA) code Invoice making life easier for users and developers “to collect performance and plot data, help fine-tune their systems/algorithms” will also be helpful.

Torvalds’ post apologized to anyone who missed the close of the merge window for this release, as his travels meant he had created the release candidate a few hours ahead of his usual timing. While mildly scalding those who left him so late in the two-week window to submit their code, he added, “there’s still 5.18. Have no fear – we won’t be short of numbers.

Could this be a reference to his past thoughts on the meaning, or lack thereof, of version numbers? When Linux 3.19 appeared, Torvalds capped version numbers at x.20 in reaction to the culmination of 2.x at 2.6.39. As the 4.x series reached its teenage years, Torvalds again thought the version names were meaningless and said he disliked being predictable when it came to naming. We should know what nicknames he has in mind by the middle of the year if kernel development continues at its usual pace. ®

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