back to article Linux 5.0 is out except it's really 4.21 because Linus 'ran out of fingers and toes' to count on

Linus Torvalds has squeezed out version 5.0 of the Linux kernel and flung open the merge window for its follow-up, 5.1. In the post announcing the arrival, Torvalds was at pains to point out that feature-based releases really aren't a thing and the 5.0 "doesn't mean anything more than that the 4.x numbers started getting big …

  1. Hans 1

    As for the future, remember that Windows version 5.1 was also known as "XP". Hmmm, yes. The less said about that and anything newer, the better. ®


    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      I wonder if there will ever be a Linux 10? Maybe with an embedded GUI based upon tiles? (Shudders at the thought) No, just stick to the kernel please!

      1. Joe W Silver badge

        It will, if Torvalds kicks the bucket and Pottering takes over. Imagine a kernel that wants to be the window manager and the whole kaboodle...

        1. Andy Non Silver badge

          He'll call it SystemCC (Candy Crush)

  2. WonkoTheSane

    "unless something even newer is emitted over the coming weeks."

    I doubt it.

    Ubuntu 19.04 is due out April 18th, so will almost certainly be released with kernel 5.0.

    Linus won't even issue a 5.1rc1 until around March 18th, and usually goes to at least rc6 before declaring a kernel fully baked.

    By my mathings, that won't be until April 22nd at the earliest.

  3. Alister

    the 4.x numbers started getting big enough that I ran out of fingers and toes".

    So Linus has 21 digits? Or am I reading that wrong?

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      This WAS going to be 4.21, but he decided that 21 was not practical to count on fingers and toes (of which he has 20)

      In these days of gender equality, he decided to make it 5.0 rather than requiring the use of other *ahem* body parts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        This is clearly a case of hexaphobia as not everyone is born with only 5 fingers and toes on each hand/foot. I think this hexaphobe should be immediately outed and a twitter campaign lauched to get people to boycott Linux immediately.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        It's trivial to count to 99 on your fingers (The Thais have been doing it for centuries) but fair does to to Linus.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      10 fingers, 10 toes, and one other appendage... makes 21.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Doesn't seem that bizarre. I sometimes count using my nose too.

    3. Baldrickk

      What about binary?

      Surely he should be using binary? He could get to 31 on the one hand that way.

    4. Michael Habel

      10 Fingers + 10 Toes, + 1 8====> =21 XD

  4. Anonymous Coward

    ...and toes (of which he has 20)

    20 toes! What sort of freak-Lord is that man?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: ...and toes (of which he has 20)

      It's well known that when he joined the army he grew a couple of feet.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Well, as Windows fans will be well aware, 5.0 is ... the moment at which Microsoft abandoned such numbering for its server products. There is thankfully no sign of Torvalds adopting a similar approach with Linux."

    I should think not. In the Unix world we're made of sterner stuff. 5.0 is quite a modest version number.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Modest and to me "5.0" looks solid. Of course not as solid as how Microsoft does it with their clear cut r10.1808.4.w.2.4.777u3h.z-t5w8r79.1, but still 5.0 is clear enough.

      1. Hans 1

        He could also go Mozilla style, every daily build hikes the version number ....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        openSUSE 20190314-0

        Installed yesterday:

        Information for package kernel-default:


        Repository : Haupt-Repository (OSS)

        Name : kernel-default

        Version : 5.0.1-1.2

        Arch : x86_64

        Vendor : openSUSE

        Installed Size : 346.7 MiB

        Installed : Yes

        Status : up-to-date

        Source package : kernel-default-5.0.1-1.2.nosrc

        Summary : The Standard Kernel

        Description :

        The standard kernel for both uniprocessor and multiprocessor systems.

        Source Timestamp: 2019-03-11 06:36:03 +0000

        GIT Revision: 8c6a826d31764166517a04ee7f27ad52a71a6855

        GIT Branch: stable

  6. DJV Silver badge

    It reminds me...

    ...of the programme numbering of the Burkiss Way (with Burkiss spelt wrong) where they not only started a new series half way through one programme (which is referred to as episodes 31 and 32) but also had two episodes called "Repeat Yourself The Burkiss Way" one broadcast a week after the other where the first few minutes of each were identical and are both referred to as episode 39.

    For anyone not familiar, it was a sketch show that was the nearest equivalent to Monty Python on radio and is still often repeated on Radio 4 Extra. See:

  7. St33v

    ...and now the Arch faithful will spam 'pacman -Syu' until they get the new kernel.


    1. St33v

      Now running on 5.0.0. But it's just a number, right? #bleeding_edge

  8. czarnajama

    IIRC, the 5.0 meant for Windows 2000 was NT 5.0; at that point, NT became Windows and the old DOS-based Windows line (3.1, 95, 98) became extinct after Windows ME, when Windows XP with the NT 5.1 kernel came out. NT was a modern kernel, whereas DOS-based Windows did not make full use of the 386 architecture.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      DOS made no use of 386 as far as I know (though some DOS programs might have), but Windows 95 did have an odd mix of the 16-bit 286 code and 32-bit 386 code (a situation that was continued through to ME, of which the less said the better).

      The NT series was 32-bit from the very start.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "DOS made no use of 386 as far as I know"

        DOS started to exploit the 386 when EMM386.EXE was introduced. DOS programs were able to run in protected mode using DOS extenders (they required to be specifically written to use them), and some supported 386 features.

        Windows started to support some 386 features with version 2.1 (called Windows/386), not to allow for 32 bit applications, but to take advantage of those 386 features that made supporting some features easier - i.e. the Virtual86 mode, being able to switch to/from protected mode without a CPU reset, and improve memory management.

        When Win32s was released Win 3.1 got some support to run 32 bit applications.

        With Windows 95, the APIs and applications became fully 32 bit, even if the OS itself used some older 16 bit code for some tasks.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: "DOS made no use of 386 as far as I know"

          You are right, I had forgotten about those DOS extenders, possibly because they were often a real pain to get working OK.

          I think some worked with the 286 as it could use up to 16MB of memory (but as you pointed out with switching to protected mode and back which was a big pain until the 386, as the 286 designers never expected you would want to switch *back* to 8086 "real" mode so you needed to get they keyboard controller to generate an interrupt to pull it out of a halt and back on the real mode).

  9. Chronos

    Windows version numbering

    Windows 7 was and still is actually 6.1, AKA Vista+ despite it being, IMHO, the best OS Redmond ever produced, as evidenced by it reaching end of life with just 1½ service packs and them having to actively sabotage it with telemetry to get people off of it. Just shows you how much shit they have in the upstairs cupboard when it comes to version numbering, eh?

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: Windows version numbering

      XP (SP2 onwards) was as good as 7 and also had to be sabotaged to get people to leave.

      Both versions were the .1 kernel releases - coincidence?

      I'll just wait here for the 10.1 kernel....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows version numbering

        Windows 2000 was a good release as well - as it removed many of the limitations NT4 had compared to 95, as it supported more recent hardware - i.e. USB, laptop power management, DirectX, etc. Many kernel changes came because of that.

        With far less systems connected directly to the internet back then, security vulnerabilities were harder to exploit.

        XP had the issue that it didn't support 64 bit systems - XP 64 was a half-backed solution, unlike 2003.

        1. Hans 1

          Re: Windows version numbering

          Windows 2000 was a good release as well - as it removed many of the limitations NT4 had compared to 95, as it supported more recent hardware - i.e. USB, laptop power management, DirectX, etc. Many kernel changes came because of that.

          That made me want to upvote!

          XP had the issue that it didn't support 64 bit systems - XP 64 was a half-backed solution, unlike 2003.

          That made me want to downvote.

          XP was Windows 2000 + USB2 patch and a resource-hungry toddler ui, for the simple minded audience Windows has always targeted.

          XP64 and w2k3 64 were PITA's, driver support, anyone ???

          Compare to Linux ....

          WoW64 is a mess, 64-bit binaries in %windir%\system32 and 32-bit binaries in %windir%\syswow64, whoever came up with that idea should have been laughed out of the room.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "XP64 and w2k3 64 were PITA's, driver support, anyone ???"

            I used 2003 64 bit extensively - as our databases and applications no longer fit inside less than 4GB of memory.

            Good servers did have drivers for 2003 - we were using Dell and HP and never had problem with divers, as 2003 64 was fully supported and drivers made available.

            If you tried to install it on your desktop, laptop or DIY server, and hope to find drivers for consumer hardware, you would have been probably out of luck, as you were with XP 64.

            Anyway, Linux driver support is still one of its major issues too - especially for hardware that isn't mainstream.

            "XP was Windows 2000 + USB2 patch"

            No, it had far more changes, in the kernel too. It's always funny how much technical people just look at the UI - GDI+ was not the only new feature - and never know what changed under the hood. For example, XP introduced substantial memory manager changes as the RAM installed on PCs was rapidly increasing. IIRC, it was also the first MS OS to use the then new faster CPU instruction to call into kernel code.

            "64-bit binaries in %windir%\system32"

            That was again a move needed to ensure backward compatibility - even for badly code applications and installers, which Linux ensures only forcing users to keep on using very old and outdated code applying only minimal changes like RedHat does, otherwise mostly everything breaks.

            Not elegant, true.

        2. Michael Habel

          Re: Windows version numbering

          AFAIK Win2k NEVER supported someing as base, and plebian as DirectX. As Win2k was sold as a being the sophisticated Busnes orinated NT Client, to the more plebian class that wanted DirectX and, were seved Windows Me instead.

          Inb4: Ahh yes but, you could bodge DirectX onto a clean non DirectX copy of Win2k. I'm not even gonna argue the point. Yeah it could have been done, and I'm sure enough People did, back then. But, I think it only fair to point out that this was... Say unlike with the later WinXP, an unsuported setup.

          I mean you may as well say that MicroSoft sabotaged Win98SE (Or the whole of 9x, anf thus the reason for WindowsX), was eventually sabotaged by WindowsMe. Which had hardblocks in place to make you ditch your old DOS Software. Even though, being a 9x Kernel, and so fully able to perfectly run any DOS Software. You had to dig in deep to the registry service(s), to undo the vodo that, they done so well. That it only made sence to dual boot 98SE alongside a beta release of XP, and understand that DOS 's time was (as they say...), up.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "as evidenced by it reaching end of life with just 1½ service packs"

      Just because MS decided SP were no longer needed as updating through Windows Update/WSUS could have been enough. Some years before, 7 would have got more SPs too.

      Now, with Windows 10,m they don't release SPs, they just install a new copy of the OS.... it requires less effort and testing than upgrading an existing installation.

      1. Michael Habel

        Re: "as evidenced by it reaching end of life with just 1½ service packs"

        And everyone is required to attend the the mandatory (ßeta), testing seminar....

      2. Chronos

        Re: "as evidenced by it reaching end of life with just 1½ service packs"

        Granted, but I liked the implication. Agree with the Win2k comment upthread, too. I doubt 10.1 will be any better, though. The bits that make 10 brown and sticky are core features now, much like XP's Fisher-Price UI and bloody activation cock-ups.

  10. Michael Habel

    Sully themselves with nVidias Drivers? Ok could someone please explain why I would want to use the Nouveau over the ones by nVidia? Other than the pure joy there is to be possibly found in being fundamentalist open sauce zealot*?

    I mean is this like the only difference? How exaclty do the Nouveau Drivers hold up compaired to those from big, bad evil nVidia?

    *Not that there's nothing wrong with this of course, but some of us aren't as strong with the faith as other.

    1. damiandixon

      OpenGL implementation status & personal experience

      Personally I've had way too many problems with the nouveau drivers to even consider using them. I've still got one laptop that I need to sort out after an upgrade where everything points to this driver. I just can't get the desktop to start. Really need to find the time to do a backup and clean install.

      I'm having no issues with the i965 drivers with Mesa on my fallback laptop.

      I use the NVIDIA drivers on Linux when I need to do GPU debugging and performance analysis.

      The following is a great site to see the state of Mesa support for OpenGL version and the different drivers:

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Backward Compatibility

    I always thought that major number version increments meant that backward compatibility isn't actively maintained and may break... as aptly demonstrated by Microsoft on numerous occasions... (for Microsoft, though, read WILL break...)

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Re: Backward Compatibility

      Thou Shall Not Break Userland is one of the few strictly-enforced rules un Linux kernel dev circles, and the origin of much of the famed rants by Linus.

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