Earlier today, Linux announced the release of Linux 3.0 RC. This puts to rest the speculation over whether the next version will be 2.8 or 3.0 after Linus revealed that he is ending Linux 2.6.x series. According to Linus, he has ended the Linux 2.6.x series because the numbers has become too large. Linux 2.6.x has been in development for seven years and has seen 39 releases. However, there is a reason for choosing the version number 3.0 over 2.8 – Linux is entering its third decade of development.
I decided to just bite the bullet, and call the next version 3.0. It will get released close enough to the 20-year mark, which is excuse enough for me, although honestly, the real reason is just that I can no longer comfortably count as high as 40.
And thankfully, the feared features Linus planned for this release – “breaking absolutely everything and rewriting the kernel to be a microkernel using a special message-passing version of Visual Basic” – did not make it to this release. (Read this if you do not get it.)
Jokes aside, perhaps the biggest news with this release is that there is absolutely no big feature. Yes, that is right, Linus just had renamed Linux 2.6.40 to Linux 3.0. This release is as simple as that – no magical new feature or no breaking old stuffs. This does not mean that Linux 3.0 will have no new features. There will be only small incremental new features.
Explaining why he has decided not to make any major change to reflect the major change in the version number, Linus wrote that he does not want to do a KDE 4 or a GNOME 3 by introducing changes in the API and the ABI. So, instead of big changes, Linux 3.0 will be developed in the same was Linux 2.6 was developed – small incremental changes.
Although, nothing will break at the kernel level, some third part scripts and applications will break because of the change in the major number and the new versioning system. These should be very easy to fix though.
The final version of Linux 3.0 is expected later this summer.
You can read Linus’ announcement here.