A small SNAFU in the Linux kernel meant that a notification about the stable release cycle for 5.16.3 didn’t reach everyone it should have.
For the first time in the 31-year history of the Linux kernel, there were over 999 commits on a stable release, which caused a very minor issue.
Greg Kroah-Hartman, lead maintainer of the
-stable branch, has a set of scenarios who CC various interested parties when there was a new release.
“Usually I split headlines into two versions during the week,” he said. The Reg. “This time I did everything at once to see what it would stress. The ‘bug’ of not copying certain people on an email is the only thing that broke that I noticed, so we did pretty well.”
He told the kernel development mailing list: “I found the problem, it was the first round of
-rc versions we have over 999 commits and the script was adding the cc: to
msg.0000. I will fix it.”
At any given time, there are several released of the Linux kernel – one in the prepatch stage, where it is actively being put together and has not yet been released; the main line kernel, which is the latest version to be released and assigned a version number; and one or more stable versions, older ones that predate the current major version. (There is also long term updates with major bug fixes for years.)
Contrary to their name, stable releases still receive frequent updates, usually about once a week. This is indicated by the third part of their version number. So, at the time of writing, the major release is 5.17-rc1 (release candidate 1), the stable release is 5.16.3 (the third stable kernel release 5.16), and the latest long-term release is 5.15.17 – a significant release that included an NTFS driver in the kernel for the first time.
The different versions, release dates and downloads are always visible on kernel.org. ®
Thanks to reader Alan Wylie for the heads-up.