Linus Torvalds has suggested that the next Linux kernel could earn the number “5.0”.
Torvalds’ suggestion came in his announcement of the first release candidate for version 4.17, which he said “does not seem to be shaping up to be a particularly big release, and there seems to be nothing particularly special about it.”
Unless you count the fact it is shrinking, which Torvalds liked because by removing support for eight architectures, and a bunch of other “removal and clean-ups … we actually removed more lines than we added.”
Torvalds declared the reduction “probably a first. Ever. In the history of the universe. Or at least kernel releases.”
He also said the “most special thing that happened” in 4.17 rc1 was “purely numerology: we've passed the six million git objects mark, and that is reason enough to call the next kernel 5.0.”
“Except I probably won't, because I don't want to be too predictable. The version numbers are meaningless, which should mean that they don't even follow silly numerological rules - even if v3.0 and v4.0 happened to be at the 2M and 4M mark respectively.”
“But v5.0 will happen some day. And it should be meaningless. You have been warned.”
At this point it seems sensible to ask if using riddles and taunts like this is any way to oversee the development of the world’s most widely used operating system kernel. But we won’t because the fact Linux is the world’s most most widely OS kernel clearly shows Torvalds is doing just fine, taunts and all. ®