Torvalds Christens The Next Linux Kernel Series 3.x

It's official, kernel version 3.0 is on its way. Linus confirmed this both in an announcement and by checking in the first 3.0 release candidate. The new branch is not expected to include any major milestones in terms of features, but it may stimulate developers to adopt policies of cruft removal and modernization.

Linus had mooted the idea of skipping 2.8 (stable branches use even numbers) in favor of 3.0 a couple of weeks ago on the kernel mailing list.

On the forums, reaction to the news has been mixed, with some wondering if Linus is falling prey to the current trend of large major version number jumps to give the impression of significant progress. But, that raises the question: is it worse to have a small version number jump for a new release that breaks everything, or a large version increase that turns out not to be hugely different from the previous release. It's a point that Linus touches on in his announcement:

[...]we are very much *not* doing a KDE-4 or a Gnome-3 here. No breakage, no special scary new features, nothing at all like that. [...] So no ABI changes, no API changes, no magical new features - just steady plodding progress.

His justification for the version jump is two-fold. First, the 2.6.x branch was around for an unusually long time. 2.6 has been with us since 2003, and version 2 itself began way back in 1996. Second, it is symbolic because, as the Linux kernel is 20 years old this year, it is now entering its third decade.

So, it's not a ground-breaking release, and the message seems to be: everything's going great, prepare for more of the same.

The original announcement on the Linux Kernel Mailing List.


UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.


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Kernel upgrade. No major

Anonymous's picture

Kernel upgrade. No major features. Boring.

Announcement link

gcamp0730's picture

The announcement links you posted were an interesting read, but I believe you meant to post this link:


Michael Reed's picture

Ouch. Quite right. I winced at myself for that one.

UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.

Linux versions

zeng's picture

Why not make a slight modification to the versioning schema? Something like this...

3.0.x for 3rd decade year 0
3.1.x for 3rd decade year 1
3.2.x for 3rd decade year 2

Of course, that might be too complicated...

coolaid ver bump, major revs

Anonymous's picture

coolaid ver bump, major revs for major progress plz, minor revs for minor progress --- otherwise, set major milestones so when hit, a major rev makes sense

not wow'd here

What's next?

yamaban's picture

Ok, admit it people, what where the diffs between 2.6.18 and 2.6.19 ?
Only some geeks (or user who suffered from some bugs) remember when this version change was, and what it contained.

So, I applaud Linus to this decision, 3.0 for the third decade.

And then, for the 4th decade, after somewhere between 3.40 (3month) or 3.60 (2month) there would come version 4.0.
Nice, why not?

PS: yes this stops some questions for 2.7 code also (SCO).

Long live Linus

pam's picture

Rightfully said by Linus-- this is just another version with more bug fixes, drivers and etc. The kernel is matured.
Im still waiting and wondering when linux will power spaceships and future technology that still is'nt in existence.

3.x so good.

ukcap's picture

3.x so good.

Mocking SCO

goblin's picture

Remember when SCO asked for the source code for Linux kernel 2.7?

Jumping from 2.6 to 3.0 is a bit more funny, when you keep this in mind :-)

For all of those guys saying

Alejandro Nova's picture

For all of those guys saying "no big progress", please, measure the progresses made between Linux 2.6.0 and Linux 3.0. They ARE worthy of a major release.

Why Not?

Eduardo's picture

Not a big deal at all!

Mr. M$ do it all the time! Recently announced a version 8.

What a lot of people just figured out as it's nothing more than an old and well know "7 with a new skin" ;-)) What about 95, 98, ME, 2000... just to say for the desktop side. Who really believes that they have 8 SO? Ok, I do believe in Santa either.

Let's step up to "3"

i am surprised nobody

turn_self_off's picture

i am surprised nobody suggested to shave to 2 off and increment the 6.

That idea probably already has a copyright

ahshucks's picture

Or even a patent! Need to stay away from that frightful thought. It could wind up in court!