back to article Eight release candidates later and it's out: New hardware and more AMD in Linux 5.9

Linux 5.9 has been declared stable, with Linus Torvalds observing "there doesn't really seem to be anything particularly scary in here" despite the number of tweaks in the last week. Although more lines had been changed than he would have preferred, the chief maintainer saw little reason for delay so version 5.9 is upon us. …

  1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

    I love how articles on new Windows builds attract lots of (often negative) comments, while a note on a new Linux kernel version has nowt in over 12 hours. Business as usual, looks good, nothing to worry about, no need to comment. Related: the vast majority of web-facing servers and almost all supercomputers, where stability and predictability are vital, run Linux. Maybe MS should start using the Linux ker... uh oh...

    1. RichardBarrell

      A fairer comparison would be the comments on a new GNOME or KDE release. All the changes people are likely to dislike happen way further up the stack. Perhaps if MS did Windows releases that touched only the kernel and a few bits of libc, you'd see similar levels of "sounds fine, nothing to worry about".

    2. Unicornpiss
      Meh

      Comparison

      Not to make it political in any way, but perhaps you could compare a Linux release vs. Windows to our current administration in the USA vs. previous ones. One is known for being generally stable, reliable, and consistent, the other... well, less so. I'll leave the marketing, popularity amongst the masses, and perhaps how they deal with viruses out of it.

      Now that I've insulted two or possibly even 3 different factions in as many sentences, I suppose I should get ready to begin counting downvotes. lol

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Comparison

        "One is known for being generally stable, reliable, and consistent, the other... well, less so."

        I'm going to quote a lovely reply from Ezzy Black, originally posted on ExtremeTech, in relation to this:

        "It's kind of like a Microsoft update. 1.5Billion computers, 750 million hardware configurations, 1 million drivers from 100,000 vendors and people are constantly surprised when every last PC on Earth doesn't work right."

        I wish Linux supporters would see the truth of this. Linux on the Desktop has never been able support every hardware configuration out there, simply not even bringing a large number of configurations up to functionally, but somehow that is never really held against it; "It's a great OS!". In the meanwhile, Windows is responsible for keeping a practically mathematically-infinite number of hardware configurations running, some with hardware decades old, but when some unforeseen event occurs in even but a few of the untold millions of possible user configurations out there utilizing drivers Microsoft doesn't even make, "What a terrible OS!".

        Let's just take my own configuration into account. Your 'stable Linux web server' doesn't have to support:

        a 7-year-old scanner; web cam; Quadro GPU acceleration API support;; multifunction printer; pro inkjet; digitizing tablet, wireless mouse and keyboard; docking station with extended port support; fingerprint scanner; color-calibrated 4k display; built-in hardware color calibrator; external hardware color calibrator; calibration software; two NVMe SSD's plus a SATA SSD, the latter being accelerated by the OEM-supplied RAM cache driver; proprietary power and thermal manager; multi touch trackpad, plus pointer stick; tethered MILC camera capable of supplying Live View; SMB1 support enabled to allow talking to older SMB devices, most Linux-based but will never see a kernel update to enable SMB2; support for a device connected via a USB-to-Ethernet bridge

        plus more, never mind the myriads of software installed, some of which Linux simply and flatly does not support. And that's just my own configuration, never you mind what Windows is expected to support in my office!

        It's complete apples and oranges. A Linux web server is built around the hardware that Linux will support; a desktop is built around the hardware that the user likes, wants, or expects to use to get a job done. But Windows is just expected to swallow it all and just work. Yet Windows is 'junk!' when it breaks because some company's drivers or software does nott work in this unimagined combination, a combination that Linux will *never* need to support in the first place.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Comparison

          "... Windows is responsible for keeping a practically mathematically-infinite number of hardware configurations running"

          Whaaaaat...? If we pretend Microsoft is the actual party responsible for "hardware configurations", then actual hardware for things like CNC, diagnostics, facility controls, PoS, medical equipment, etc. have been abandoned being left on, at best, Win7 (but realistically WinXP or WinCE).

          On tangent, if anyone cares, LinuxCNC has come a long, long way and you can finally put down your Win7 32bit machine running MACH3.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: Comparison

            "Whaaaaat...? If we pretend Microsoft is the actual party responsible for "hardware configurations", then actual hardware for things like CNC, diagnostics, facility controls, PoS, medical equipment, etc. have been abandoned being left on, at best, Win7 (but realistically WinXP or WinCE)."

            That is EXACTLY right - you're pretending. I actually *am* responsible for the maintenance of three 3D printers and one CNC milling machine, and it is COMPLETELY on the manufacturer to continue driver and support updates on these machines. Which they DON'T. Indeed, one company, the milling machine, was bought out by one of the major players in the industry...and then quickly discontinued, even the supplies! We're now on our own to acquire supplies that include the bits, but luckily the machine was common enough in my industry to gain enough third-party interest that some of these third-party companies are willing to pick up the now-discontinued supply chain.

            Microsoft NEVER wrote the drivers for the CNC, nor the communications interface software for (2) of the 3D printers. Yet folks like you take Microsoft to task when these programs break, or even fail to update to keep up with the latest in OS technologies.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Comparison

          >Let's just take my own configuration into account...

          This why you have standards and stick to them.

          Provided MS don't mess around with the Win32 API then lots of stuff will continue to work. However, Ms have messed around with Windows Installer over the years, so whilst a driver may continue to work (eg. W7/W8 upgraded to W10), reinstalling the said driver may not.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: Comparison

            Are you actually positing that Windows should stick to Win32 *for the rest of its days*??!! Are you actually listening to yourselves whilst you try to justify your replies under the guise that Linux is superior, if only Windows did this...??

            Exactly how is Windows supposed to stick with Win32 in a 64-bit world?? Simply forget AMD64 like it is an inconvenience, memory management be damned?

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Comparison

              >Are you actually positing that Windows should stick to Win32 *for the rest of its days*??!!

              No, you misread; One of the key reasons why you are able to run all the stuff you list is because of standards, one of which is the Win32 API.

              If MS maintain the Win32 API in their OS offer and honor the backwards compatibility caveat then in principle anything written for the Win32 API since it was set should run...

              >Exactly how is Windows supposed to stick with Win32 in a 64-bit world??

              Well an implementation of the Win32 API has existed on Win x64 since Windows XP Professional x64...

              The point which I think you are trying to make is whether it makes sense for MS to limit a 64-bit OS to just supporting the Win32 API to which the answer is no, just create a new standard - the Win64 API and maintain that in the same way they have maintained the Win32 API (and the Win16 API before it), which is what they have largely done todate...

              >whilst you try to justify your replies under the guise that Linux is superior

              Don't make any claims here, but I fully get the issues you have with migrating your Windows desktop set up to Linux and hope that the Linux community continues to also honour the backwards-compatible API convention so that in time it too supports the multitude of desktops that Windows now does - which in some ways is a direct result of the long stability of XP/W2K3....

        3. Lars Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: Comparison

          Why compare, and of course there is Windows software that doesn't run on Linux and vice versa. Hove surprising. I have installed Linux on some 15 different pre Windows hardware during more than 20 years. I have always got it working although it was more fun in the beginning with linix conf and similar, these days I would claim it's easier, safer and faster than installing Windows from scratch. Who cares, use whatever you like and whatever you are given.

          As for "a desktop is built around the hardware that the user likes, wants, or expects to use to get a job done", that's a bit thick, they are built for the OS that is preinstalled on them. And quite frankly I have a feeling the build quality has gone down no matter what you like or want.

          Jobs was smart enough that he understood he had to do it all, including building the shops to compete with Windows.

          Linux on the desktop is the day you do it, for me it was 1998.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: Comparison

            Does Linux support ALL the hardware that Windows supports? And, since it doesn't, do you even consider buying any of that unsupported hardware for your Linux system or do you change your hardware desires to suit your OS support??

            Your honor, the defense rests.

            1. fishman

              Re: Comparison

              And there is hardware out there that Linux supports yet the current Windows release doesn't any more.

            2. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Comparison

              >do you even consider buying any of that unsupported hardware for your Linux system or do you change your hardware desires to suit your OS support??

              Well I suggest you only purchase hardware that has Windows drivers, over the years more and more devices come with Windows support out-of-the-box(and with MS's adoption and bundling of MOPRIA many printers which previously didn't have Windows drivers are supported), so you probably don't think about it until on those - increasingly rare occasions, it hits you between the eyes.

              But as Mac users will tell you, they do limit their hardware desires to those with MacOS support and then to those with drivers for the relevant release.

              Currently, Linux support is not a given, so yes you do have to change your hardware desires to suit your OS.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Comparison

                "Currently, Linux support is not a given, so yes you do have to change your hardware desires to suit your OS."

                While I agree, hmmmm... OS...? At this point, Windows is more of a dependency layer than a OS. Seriously, who's really going to choose Windows 10 based on pure OS design? I know, I'm bringing in off topic crazy talk, but... OS...?

            3. Binraider Silver badge

              Re: Comparison

              It's not perfect by any stretch, but everything in my main PC is working on one flavour of linux or another. The most difficult thing to get working was an LTO5 drive of all things - which given it's usually server-deployed use case is perhaps a little surprising.

              Windows in recent years has been more of a pain. Server 2019 won't accept the motherboard's network port without an unofficial hack of the drivers. Win 10 thinks a graphics card change qualifies the system as a new PC too, so "go buy a new license". Bugger that. The only way for MS and Windows to improve is for the competition to be actively used.

              Don't get me started on the dreadful audio implementation in Win10 that has seen a very decent 24bit/192khz soundcard that worked perfectly with negligible latency on 7, to a scratchy horrendous mess. On the grounds one of the few reasons for me to boot Windows at all is pro audio software, that's a pretty damning indictment of the system. New OS? Here, have a free upgrade. BTW it will screw with your hardware so you need new hardware too.

              Honestly, I've utterly had it with MS and I cannot for one moment fathom anyone that even vaguely attempts to defend them. Last MS product I actively liked was DOS6.22. Endured Windows through to 7 for games compatibility; and in recent years I now refuse to buy games without linux support (or some sort of compatibility bodge known to work; WINE/Proton/Lutris, etc.)

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Comparison

          7-year-old scanner - yep

          web cam - yep

          Quadro GPU acceleration API support - Yep, vendor and Noveau I believe

          multifunction printer - yep

          pro inkjet - yep

          digitizing tablet -yep

          wireless mouse and keyboard - yep

          docking station with extended port support; -yep, and handled the dreaded TB16 better than Windows too.

          fingerprint scanner - Some do, now both Dell and Lenovo are selling Linux laptops this is coming for those that aren't supported yet.

          color-calibrated 4k display - Standards be standards.

          built-in hardware color calibrator; external hardware color calibrator; calibration software - Never tried two NVMe SSD's plus a SATA SSD - yep.

          the latter being accelerated by the OEM-supplied RAM cache driver - Probably, or it does it itself anyway.

          proprietary power and thermal manager - I've not found one that it couldn't talk to yet, nor IPMI.

          multi touch trackpad- yep.

          plus pointer stick - yep.

          tethered MILC camera capable of supplying Live View - Web says it can.

          MB1 support enabled to allow talking to older SMB devices, most Linux-based but will never see a kernel update to enable SMB2 - Been SMB3 since Kernel 3.12.

          support for a device connected via a USB-to-Ethernet bridge - Connected to a switch I'm working on like that right now.

          In fact, running both Linux and Windows on the desktop I've found that most stuff will work in either quite happily, and the stuff that doesn't (like some fingerprint readers) is being ported as Lenovo and Dell sell more Linux based laptops.

          There's plenty to like and dislike between the two, but the argument that Linux is just for servers has not been true for many years, and let's face it, there's a a good probability that Windows is going to become just another desktop manager running on a Linux Kernel like KDE or Gnome in the next decade! :)

        5. Unicornpiss
          Meh

          Re: Comparison

          Let me just point out two things:

          1. Linux seems to do as good a job as Windows IMO in supporting all kinds of hardware, including legacy stuff long since abandoned by MS. And this is all the more impressive considering Linux's footprint in the world vs. Windows.

          2. Linux is free. Windows may get ragged on for every failure or aggravation, but individuals and businesses pay a lot of money for it. So I think a lot of the resentment is deserved. MS is an enormous multinational corporation. You tend to expect better things from a company with the resources that MS has. And their developers are well paid. Most Linux development is done as a labor of love and in people's 'free time'.

  2. Binraider Silver badge

    The fact of the matter is the change process for Linux Kernel and downstream ecosystem that has to account for is is rather better understood than the opaque, if not deliberately obtuse closed-source world.

    As a developer, you're left testing-and-retesting applications for every dependency change. Doing this on a mis- or under-informed basis is the entire ethos of the Microsoft ecosystem; and why people flock to .NET etc. absolutely boggles the mind.

    For simple throwaway applications; it's fine, easily debugged. For complex applications it's hopeless. This is why Windows gets news on every minor patch update.

  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Angel

    Justa minnit

    Look folks, can't we agree that some peeps like apples, some like oranges, and a few, really bizarrely, enjoy sucking lemons.

    {make your own arrangements as to which you think is which}

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