Linux Kernel Moves to 3.0 For No Reason

Numbers are Just Numbers and in the Linux Kernel they Mean Nothing

This past Monday Linus Torvalds released the first release candidate (-rc) of the next kernel series, which was expected to be 2.6.40, but instead renamed it to Linux 3.0 kernel. From Linus’ commit statement (;a=commitdiff;h=55922c9d1b84b89cb946c777fddccb3247e7df2c):.. except there are various scripts that really know that there areHopefully by the time the final 3.0 is out, we'll have that extra zeroSo, what does this mean? Are there significant new features in 3.0 that justify a numbering switch from2.6.40 to 3.0? To find out more, we can read Linus’ mail to the kernel mailing list ( The whole renumbering was discussed at last years Kernel Summit, andNow, my alpha-maleness sadly does not actually extend to all theIn fact, Linus goes on to say the number change is not based on anything from a feature standpoint; it’s just a number change.  This type of change is most interesting as it goes against standard practices with software numbering conventions and once again shows Linus as a leader in the software space with his willingness to defy conventional wisdom. I find this change interesting but am not really sure how it impacts anyone.  The kernel used in most distributions is always listed but I believe that most users look for the latest version of any distro and will go with whatever kernel they use, regardless of numbering scheme. However, with a numbering scheme not based on any standard, could we see companies in the future release version 22.0 as an initial product causing people not aware that this is the 22nd iteration and therefore better than version 1.0? I’m sure a marketing person somewhere is contemplating this. What do you think? Is Linus simply changing the number for no reason as he states? Is there a grand conspiracy behind this change that no one knows about? Perhaps Microsoft is behind this change and is now controlling Linus’ mind.

three numbers, so it calls itself "3.0.0-rc1".

all figured out.

I decided to just bite the bullet, and call the next version 3.0. It

will get released close enough to the 20-year mark, which is excuse

enough for me, although honestly, the real reason is just that I can

no longer comfortably count as high as 40.

there was a plan to take it up this year too. But let's face it -

what's the point of being in charge if you can't pick the bike shed

color without holding a referendum on it? So I'm just going all

alpha-male, and just renumbering it. You'll like it.

scripts and Makefile rules, so the kernel is fighting back, and is

calling itself 3.0.0-rc1. We'll have the usual 6-7 weeks to wrestle it

into submission, and get scripts etc cleaned up, and the final release

should be just "3.0". The -stable team can use the third number for

their versioning.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

SD-WAN buyers guide: Key questions to ask vendors (and yourself)