Torvalds turns to Sir Mix-A-Lot for Linux versioning debate

Do you like 'em big and round, or would a slimmer version 4.0 excite you?


Linus Torvalds is “running out of fingers and toes” and therefore wonders if it might be a good time to tip the Linux Kernel over into version 4.0.

Torvalds has previously suggested version 4.0 could be set aside for a release dedicated entirely to bug fixes, but that idea didn't catch on.

The Linux Lord has also previously expressed frustration with large version numbers, which he finds distasteful and confusing. The fingers and toes quote above refers to the fact that Linux 3.19 recently emerged and work on 3.20 commenced. Torvalds' lack of digits is a reference to his worries about doing a version 3.21.

Got all that? Good, because we now need to direct you to this post in which Torvalds asks world+dog if it is time to go to version 4.0.

The options on offer are:

  • I like big versions, and I cannot lie (a riff on the lyrics of the rap classic Baby Got Back); and
  • v4.0, 'cause I get confused easily;

With just over 23,000 votes recorded at the time of writing, 56 per cent of responses favour going to version 4.0.

If those votes sway Torvalds, version 4.0 should emerge in late April or early May if the usual six-weekly period between kernel releases takes place.

There's nothing in the Linux roadmap The Reg is aware of that would make version 4.0 a milestone release in any way, other than setting a precedent that kernel versions now don't go beyond x.20. There's also no need for version 4.0 to mark a major transition: Torvalds runs Linux as he sees fit and that means putting technology first, as he's often stated. ®

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