Software

Linux 4.15 becomes slowest release since 2011

It needs a ninth release candidate, thanks in part to Meltdown and Spectre

By Simon Sharwood

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Linus Torvalds has decided that Linux 4.15 needs a ninth release candidate, making it the first kernel release to need that much work since 2011.

Torvalds flagged up the possibility of an extra release candidate last week, with the caveat that “it obviously requires this upcoming week to not come with any huge surprises” after “all the Meltdown and Spectre hoopla” made his job rather more complicated in recent weeks.

Fast-forward another week and Torvalds has announced “I really really wanted to just release 4.15 today, but things haven't calmed down enough for me to feel comfy about it”.

He is also waiting on some extra networking fixes, and said “a very subtle boot bug introduced this development cycle” had been found and fixed by Laura Abbott this week. Together, those two sets of changes led him to decide that giving the world a new Linux kernel would be premature.

“So I'm doing an rc9 instead,” he wrote. “I don't particularly like to, but I like it even less releasing something that doesn't seem baked enough.”

“I really expect no more delays after this,” Torvalds added. “We've had rc9's before, but they have been pretty rare (the last one was 3.1-rc9 back in 2011 - that release went all the way to rc10, and I really don't think we'll do that this time _despite_ all the CPU bug mitigation craziness).”

If Linux 4.15 debuts next week, it will bring with it support for Radeon RX Vega displays, the Raspberry Pi seven-inch touchpad and the usual round of driver updates and tweaks to subsystems galore. ®

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