It's been a long strange journey for this kernel release...
While it was not the largest kernel release every by number of commits,
it was larger than the last 3 releases, which is a non-trivial thing to
do. After the original -rc1 bumps, things settled down on the code side
and it looks like stuff came nicely together to make a solid kernel for
everyone to use for a while. And given that this is going to be one of
the "Long Term" kernels I end up maintaining for a few years, that's
good news for everyone.
A small trickle of good bugfixes came in this week, showing that waiting
an extra week was a wise choice. However odds are that linux-next is
just bursting so the next -rc1 merge window is going to be bigger than
"normal", if there is such a thing as "normal" for our rate of
And speaking of development, there's that other thing that happened this
release cycle, that ended up making it such that I'm the one writing
this instead of Linus. Allow me the guilty pleasure of taking a few
minutes to talk about that....
I've been giving my "How the kernel is developed" talk all around the
world for over a decade now. After the first year or so, I was amazed
that it kept needing to be given as surely everyone knew how we did this
type of thing, right? But my wife, someone much smarter than I, then
told me, "Every year there is a new kindergarten class."
And we all need to remember that, every year new people enter our
community with the goal, or requirement, to get stuff done for their
job, their hobby, or just because they want to help contribute to the
tool that has taken over the world and enabled everyone to have a solid
operating system base on which to build their dreams.
And when they come into our community, they don't have the built-in
knowledge of years of experience that thousands of us already do.
Without that experience they make mistakes and fumble and have to learn
how this all works. Part of learning how things work is dealing with
the interaction between people, and trying to understand the basic
social norms and goals that we all share. By providing a document in
the kernel source tree that shows that all people, developers and
maintainers alike, will be treated with respect and dignity while
working together, we help to create a more welcome community to those
newcomers, which our very future depends on if we all wish to see this
project succeed at its goals.
And that goal we all share is the key here. We _ALL_ want to create the
best kernel that we possibly can. We can disagree on lots of different
things in other parts of our lives, but we do share this one thing. And
we should focus on that shared goal as it has pulled us all together in
a way that has enabled us to create something that no other company or
group of people has ever been able to accomplish.
We used to joke that our goal was "Total World Domination", but it
really wasn't a joke. We achieved that goal, Linux really does rule the
world. All companies use it, contribute to it, and it has ended up
making the world a much better place because of all of us working on it.
In these talks I give, I also say that "the only thing that can stop us
is ourselves, it is up to us to mess this up." And that's truer now
than when I first started saying that a decade ago. There is no other
operating system out there that competes against us at this time. It
would be nice to have something to compete against, as competition is
good, and that drives us to do better, but we can live with this
situation for the moment :)
These past few months has been a tough one for our community, as it is
our community that is fighting from within itself, with prodding from
others outside of it. Don't fall into the cycle of arguing about those
"others" in the "Judean People's Front" when we are the "We're the
People's Front of Judea!" That is the trap that countless communities
have fallen into over the centuries. We all share the same goal, let us
never loose sight of that.
So here is my plea to everyone out there. Let's take a day or two off,
rest, relax with friends by sharing a meal, recharge, and then get back
to work, to help continue to create a system that the world has never
seen the likes of, together.
Personally, I'm going to take my own advice. I'll be enjoying this week
in Edinburgh with many other kernel developers, drinking some good
whiskey, and taking some time off of reading email, by spending it with
the great friends I have made in this community.
And with that, Linus, I'm handing the kernel tree back to you. You can
have the joy of dealing with the merge window :)