So the merge window had somewhat unusual timing with the holidays, and I was afraid that would affect stragglers in rc2, but honestly, that doesn't seem to have happened much. rc2 looks pretty normal.
Were there some missing commits that missed the merge window? Yes. But no more than usual. Things look pretty normal.
What's a bit abnormal is that I'm traveling again, and so for me it's a Monday release, but it's (intentionally) the usual "Sunday afternoon" release schedule back home. I'm trying to not surprise people too much.
As to actual changes: all looks fairly normal. Yes, there's a fair number of perf tooling updates, so that certainly stands out in the diffstat, but if you ignore the tooling and just look at the kernel, it's about two thirds drivers (networking, gpu, block, scsi..), with the rest being the usual mix of arch updates (ARM, RISC-V, x86, csky), with some filesystem (btrfs, cifs) and vm fixes.
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