Linus Torvalds has announced the first release candidate for version 6.0 of the Linux kernel, but it’s not much different than the current 5.19.
In the software development industry, major jumps in numbers often denote significant feature additions, improvements, and more. Torvalds doesn’t espouse that view, choosing to jump from 5.19 to 6.0 because it’s easier to remember.
“Despite the major number change, there’s nothing fundamentally different about this release – I’ve long eschewed the notion that major numbers are meaningful, and the only reason for a ‘hierarchical’ numbering system is to make the numbers easier to remember and distinguish,” writes Torvalds. “Which is why when the minor number gets to around 20 I prefer to just increment the major number instead and reset to something smaller.”
It’s definitely a unique approach but, then again, when you’re the creator of an operating system kernel that’s used in everything from Android smartphones, to IoT devices, to desktops, to servers, well…you can pretty much version it however you want.
At the same Torvalds makes it clear there’s still plenty in version 6.0, even if it’s not to the degree many would otherwise expect.
“‘Nothing fundamentally different about this release’ obviously doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of changes, though. There’s about 13.5k non-merge commits in here (and 800+ merges), so 6.0 looks to be another fairly sizable release.”