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Next Linux kernel, v2.5, is born

Last chance to get a stable* '2.5' kernel before development spanners it? * Er, no...

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Two days ago the next version of the Linux kernel, v2.5, was quietly born over at kernel.org. At the moment (or possibly, given the way Linux develops, at that moment) the move is/was a purely administrative one, but it means that the 2.5 kernel will now be developed as a separate entity from 2.4.

Kernel 2.4, which forms the basis of the latest commercial (can we say that? - Ed) Linux distributions, has parted company from 2.5 at version 2.4.15. So although 2.4.15 and 2.5 are currently the same thing, they are now housed in different directories at kernel.org, and will develop separately as 2.4.x and 2.5.x.

Got that? So 2.4.x are the stable kernels for general release, while 2.5.x are beta, for development work. If we understand it correctly, this is therefore your last opportunity for some considerable time to get a stable 2.5 kernel.* So you can be the first on your block by getting it here now, while it's still identical to 2.4.15, or you can wait a little until it's possible to get something that's more likely to make an awful mess of your system. But from little acorns... ®

* It turns out it's the other way around. A list lurker tells us:
"Marcelo Tosatti, the new maintainer of the 'stable' 2.4.x branch of the Linux kernel, has a chance to prove himself just a day after assuming his new duties. It turns out that Linux 2.4.15, appropriately named the 'greased turkey' release, contains an embarassing bug that causes file-system corruption during shut down."

So depending on how it gets handled, the stable/developer strands could diverge immediately. We'll have quick update to 2.4.16 to fix the bug, then if they didn't do the same with 2.5, it'd magically be unstable, because it was still 2.4.15, right? We're going to go lie down now...

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