back to article Linux reaches the big five (point) oh

Penguinistas, take heed. The kernel of your beloved OS has rung in the new year with a brand spanking new version number because... Linus felt like it. Linux fans will be relieved to know that while 2019 should feature a gentler, softer and less sweary Torvalds, the man's ability to make arbitrary decisions remains …

  1. Velv

    "I ran out of fingers and toes to count on."

    10 fingers allows you to count to 1,024 (2^10). If you count toes as well then its 1,048,576

    You'd have thought such a kernel orientated person would understand binary.

    1. Teiwaz

      3.23 & 4.21

      Obvious pattern is obvious

      Arbitrary or major upgrade, seems once a release gets some way into the point twenties Linus wants to progress the big hand on the clock.

      Probably something pskologicaly in that, but I can't be arsed....

      1. Velv

        Re: 3.23 & 4.21

        "Linus wants to progress the big hand on the clock."

        Ever seen the Dave Allen piece about teaching a child to read a clock.

        When the minute hand gets to the 1, that's five

      2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: 3.23 & 4.21

        He's channelling Benford's Law

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: 3.23 & 4.21

          "He's channelling Benford's Law"

          Wouldn't there be more "buy in" if he channelled Retail Law with 4.99?

      3. HandleAlreadyTaken

        Re: 3.23 & 4.21

        >3.23 & 4.21

        Personally, I prefer 25 Or 6 To 4

    2. Pseudonymous Howard

      You can't count to 1024 with ten fingers. Two fists are 0, all fingers stretched on both hands is 1023. I could think of one way to show the 1024, but that is only possible for male persons and you shouldn't do that in public (...and you won't come back). Also be careful with 4, 128 and 132, those can easily be misunderstood.

      1. herman Silver badge

        I guess the OP concentrates so hard, that he sticks his tongue out while counting. That extra little bit will enable a lot more than a 1024 count.

    3. Waseem Alkurdi

      I'm being left out of the party here. What are you guys exactly doing? Counting the phalanges as well as tips?

      1. Tom 38

        I'm being left out of the party here.

        Bits. Each finger is a bit location, with n bits you can express numbers up to 2^n - 1. Ten fingers, ten bits, 1023. As the OP said...

      2. Charles 9

        Counting in binary. Each digit represents one of ten bits, so say the right pinky is 1 if raised, the right ring is 2, the right middle is 4. Different digits up add up to different numbers, up to 1023 (all ten digits raised, with the left pinky being 512).

  2. Anonymous Coward

    I asked him nicely.

    He saw my handle and was so impressed that he couldn't resist.

  3. Steve Button Silver badge

    Guess he's from Norfolk then?

    And he's lost a digit.

    High Six!

    1. WarwickHunt69

      Re: Guess he's from Norfolk then?

      No, Dave Allen's Irish - and he lost his digit by sticking his hand in a water wheel when he was a kid.

  4. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    As Torvalds observed, there are a ton of changes in the new kernel with toys aplenty. Raspberry Pi fans get touchscreen support ...

    Why the hell is support for individual hardware a kernel thing?

    1. AndyS

      > Why the hell is support for individual hardware a kernel thing?

      Because that's how a macrokernel system works - drivers are sucked into the kernel.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      "Why the hell is support for individual hardware a kernel thing?"

      I don't think it is. I think you can happily build a Linux kernel with most of that hardware support chopped out and then load the drivers you want separately as modules, but the normal development practice is to include all those drivers in the kernel-space source tree (so that they can agree on interfaces) and so they get released together.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        That's the first thing I do with the kernel, stripping out all the useless cruft for this hardware. A bit of reducing the attack surface as well is a plus.

      2. DrXym

        It's normal development practice because Linux kernel doesn't have an ABI. Changes to the kernel source can and do break modules including drivers.

        The easiest way to mitigate that is to ship the module / driver source code as part of the kernel package so that when you build the one, you build the other and they remain compatible.

      3. Dave Bell

        It suddenly doesn't seem so crazy to suggest that HTML5 support can be included in this process so that we can have some confidence that an update to a web browser, or other program using video, has a consistent, mostly working, place to look. As it is, there are a whole bunch of different media codecs, all supposed to be doing the same thing, except when they don't.

    3. MyffyW Silver badge

      @Ian_Johnston I think you ask a fair question. RasPi touchscreen support had struck me as a pretty specialist requirement.

      The great thing about Linux is you can compile your own kernel excluding support for things that are not relevant to your use case.

  5. Starace

    If only...

    ...they didn't have to build so much driver shit straight into the kernel they wouldn't need to do so many releases...

    1. AndyS

      Re: If only...

      ... And if only my Ford Focus was a Ferrari F1, it would go a lot faster.

      Maybe we should all jump ship and start installing GNU/HURD systems?

      1. Teiwaz

        Re: If only...

        Maybe we should all jump ship and start installing GNU/HURD systems?

        It'd be nice to have the option - but Linux has much better hardware support for the pic 'n mix lucky bag modern PC space most of us are kinda stuck with...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If only...

      "they didn't have to build so much driver shit straight into the kernel they wouldn't need to do so many releases..."

      Sure, and the latest Windows version is 5 better than this. I'll glee in glory at my Windows 10 as soon as my machine applies the 12 update releases since yesterday.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: If only...

        "I'll glee in glory at my Windows 10 as soon as my machine applies the 12 update releases since yesterday."

        So, sometime next week, assuming it all works ok, otherwise, after the next patch update to fix any broken patches, maybe sometime in June? :-)

        1. shawnfromnh

          Re: If only...

          The way it is now it'll take till next week to reboot fully back into the desktop with the super fast windows update installs. I love my Antergos 3 minute update and if I have to 4 minutes including the reboot time. I don't miss the Windows wait times.

    3. Charles 9

      Re: If only...

      If only context thrashing wasn't so costly in performance, or do we recall what happened in the old Windows NT with its userland video drivers?

  6. pavel.petrman

    Although an arbitrary versioning decision, not the worst one - it still could be Linux Kernel V or Linux Kernel XP.

    1. caffeine addict

      Based on the big boys, I'm surprised it's not Linux 6.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        Or Linux X (a la OS X, Windows 10, ...)?

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Like it

    Apart from all the new toys, it's nice to see a lead dev. who still has a sense of humour.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >The reason version 4.21 became 5.0 is because

    he had already reached 420

    My coat, yes.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Behold, the evil Pentaguin was released unto the wereold.

    1. shawnfromnh

      It wouldn't be evil if nicknamed pentaquam. I know dumb and not flippers related.

  10. Snowy Silver badge

    but we get better Linus V

  11. JohnFen

    Par for the course

    The kernel's version numbering has always been more of an arbitrary counter rather than providing useful information about the scope of changes. It's ungood, and unfortunately is something that has become much more common across the industry.

    I want meaningful version numbers!

    1. ammabamma

      Re: Par for the course

      > I want meaningful version numbers!

      Certainly. Consider a version number of the form A.B.C.D

      A: Increment this number when you release an update that intentionally breaks existing workflows.

      B: Increment this number on a slow day.

      C: Increment this number when you release an update that does not break any existing workflows.

      D. Increment this number when you release a hotfix for an update that unintentionally breaks existing workflows. (Optional: add a "_rc2" suffix if you can't be arsed to test the hotfix before releasing)

      1. Teiwaz

        Re: Par for the course

        (Optional: add a "_rc2" suffix if you can't be arsed to test the hotfix before releasing)

        Dashed good idea...

        Can we have 'rc' attached to unproven MPs too....?

        But of course that would probably be all of them except the deceased ones.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flag Day

    I hope Linux 6.0 is planned more in advance and has all the old and disused interfaces ripped out along with library junk like strfry. It would probably mean 2 years of parallel development to pass the scream test as legacy systems are identified. And this is important since removing the junk will reduce the attack surface and also make the kernel smaller, very useful for embedded work. Over time it will also mean less maintenance work and less work to port to new architectures.

    I notice Redox-OS aims for some Linux compatibility but without problems in dropping interfaces they do not like, a luxury they have when the OS is not much deployed.

  13. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Make up your own reason 50th birthday yesterday. :)

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Make up your own reason

      Happy birthday!

  14. john fisher 1

    It's Iconic

    Ever put the hammer down in a supercharged high horsepower Mustang 5.0??

  15. Blade9983

    Here's to another 4!

    So we will reach 7 by 2027?

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