Linus Torvalds launches Linux kernel 5.10, warns devs not to send 5.11 code too close to Christmas

New long-term support edition of Linux knocks off year 2038 bug, ends support for Power PC 601, and much more


Linus Torvalds has released version 5.10 of the Linux kernel and given developers working on the project a pre-Christmas deadline to get their desired additions for 5.11 into his inbox.

Torvalds’ release announcement for version 5.10 stated: “I pretty much always wish that the last week was even calmer than it was, and that's true here too.” But as nothing in the release made him feel an extra week would be truly necessary, the new kernel was let loose upon a waiting world and the project avoided the holiday season collision that the Linux overseer feared in late November.

But Christmas is not completely saved: Torvalds has given kernel devs a strict timetable for submitting changes for version 5.11.

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“The most notable thing about the 5.11 merge window will be obvious to anybody who takes a look at the calendar: realistically speaking, we only have one week before the holidays are upon us, and everybody is much too distracted,” he wrote. “That means that I will be particularly strict about the whole ‘the merge window is for things that are ready *before* the merge window starts’.”

“I will simply not be very interested in any new late pull requests that come in the second week of the merge window: I expect to still be handling some of the backlog that week _anyway_, but I certainly do not want to get more of it.”

Devs were therefore warned that if they can’t get pull requests in this week, they should forget about it until version 5.12. And that will mean their work appears around April or May 2021.

“This has _technically_ been the rule before too, it's just that I generally haven't been all that hard-nosed about it, and have let things slide if it wasn't _too_ egregious. This time around I have fairly clear reasons why I'm just going to enforce that ‘it had better be ready before the merge window even opened’ rule.”

Even with his stern admonition in place, Torvalds anticipated a late release for 5.11 rc1 on grounds that the holiday season and a potential flood of pulls could mean he can’t get everything done before Christmas.

For now, you could do worse than popping version 5.10 under a tree as the new release will receive long-term support.

I will simply not be very interested in any new late pull requests that come in the second week of the merge window

Among the new features are a fix for the year 2038 problem, support for NVIDIA’s new “Orin” automotive platform, and a more refined Spectre fix on Arm silicon.

Users of recent Intel and AMD processors will find the usual round of performance improvements, but anyone still using the PowerPC 601 processor will find it’s no longer supported by the kernel.

Lenovo’s decision to support Linux on its entire workstation range is probably connected to improved handling of Synaptics touchpads.

Support for Amazon Web Services’ Nitro hardware isolation devices will make Linux a better-mannered guest in the cloud. Also on the security front, the kernel has been hardened to make direct memory access attacks launched through PCIe devices less potent. ®

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