Version 5.14 of the Linux kernel seems set to debut next week, after a very calm development process.
Linus Torvalds kicked things off for version 5.14 on July 11 when he announced rc1, and wrote, “I don’t think there are any huge surprises in here, and size-wise this seems to be a pretty regular release too.”
By the time rc2 was released a week later, he worried it was not “fairly small and calm” as is often the case for the second release of a new kernel cut, because candidate 2 was unusually large.
“At least in pure number of commits, this is the biggest rc2 we’ve had during the 5.x cycle. Whether that is meaningful or not, who knows,” he added. “But it’s not like anything looks super-scary, and it really is too early to start worrying about it, so let’s just say that rc2’s are usually smaller than this, and just leave it at that.”
Once rc3 was announced Torvalds was less concerned that the release could prove difficult: “Things seem to have calmed down and rc3 looks pretty normal.”
He hardly varied a week later, on August 8, when he revealed rc5, and stated: “Things are looking perfectly normal.
“Size is nominal, diffstat looks pretty normal, and the changes are all in the usual places, with just under 60% being drivers, and the rest the usual mix of architecture updates, core kernel, networking, and some selftests.
“Which is just how it should be by rc5. Let’s hope the trend continues.”
Torvalds got his wish. rc6 emerged after what the emperor penguin described as “another fairly normal week.”
“Go test,” he urged, “we should be getting pretty close to done with this release.”
By the time rc7 rolled around on August 22, Torvalds suggested only “last-minute panic” would derail the full release of version 5.14 of the Linux kernel.
There’s no obvious reason that kind of panic will emerge after such a smooth development process.
Which means that next week the world should be able to enjoy new features like mainline support for the Raspberry Pi 400, more work to support Intel’s new Alder Lake hybrid SoCs and their mix of fast and slow cores, plus enablement of the Microwatt soft CPU core, an OpenPOWER design.
While Linux 5.14 development has been calm, the Linux Kernel Mailing list has had its moments. One Torvalds post that caught The Register’s eye saw him dispense some medical advice in response to what he perceived as a request to add a badly worded warning about an issue that could be avoided.
“It’s a classic case of ‘Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I hit myself in the head with an ice pick,'” he wrote.
“The solution is not to take some Ibuprofen. The solution is DON’T DO THAT THEN.”