Linus Torvalds flags holiday-mode changes to next kernel merge window

Penguin emperor ponders whether kernel contributors will code across the festive season, or humbug it

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a coder was stirring, not even their mouse.

Forgive us that adaptation of Clement Clarke Moore's classic A Visit from St Nicholas, dear reader, as we present it in service of reporting Linus Torvalds pondering the impact of the festive season on future Linux kernel development.

Torvalds on Sunday delivered a fourth release candidate for version 6.7 of the Linux kernel.

The penguin emperor usually offers seven release candidates before publishing a new cut of the kernel. On that schedule, RC 7 would land on Christmas Eve, and a full release on December 31.

Those dates don't bother Torvalds

"I think the timing ends up working out, with the holidays happening during the tail end of the release schedule," he wrote on the kernel development mailing list. "And that 'tail end of the release schedule' is while the current 6.7 release is supposed to be very quiet anyway, which sounds nice and like it all is working out just fine from a timing perspective."

"But" – there's always a but – "the tail end of the release is then also when developers are supposed to get ready for the _next_ merge window."

"So while it all looks superficially convenient from a 6.7 release schedule, it almost certainly means that we'll have to do something about the 6.8 merge window."

He's not sure what that "something" will be – or if it's needed.

"Maybe people will decide to try to get their ducks lined up super-early for 6.8, or maybe we'll delay the next merge window or something. I haven't decided yet, and nobody has emailed me in a panic about it (yet)."

Complicating matters further is that Torvalds is attending this week's Open Source Summit in Japan.

Torvalds appears happy with progress on version 6.7 of the kernel, describing RC4 as "fairly small," but suggesting "that might also be due to me not being the only developer on the road for conferences."

A change of dates for the version 6.8 merge window therefore may or may not be needed – and may or may not be delivered any time soon.

Which is how the world's most-used OS gets built. And very successfully, too.

Version 6.7 of the kernel will probably include the Bcachefs file system, but almost certainly banish support for Itanium, along with myriad other changes. ®

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