The rc1 tag has been pushed out, and so the merge window for 5.6 is closed.
This was actually a slightly smaller merge window than usual, but I think that what happened is simply that the holiday season impacted new development. It impacted the 5.5 rc series less than I had expected, but seems to instead have caused 5.6 to have slightly less development than normal.
Of course, "slightly less" is just that - we still have more than 10k commits (11.5k if you count merges too). So it's not like it's tiny, and it's still _way_ too big to post full shortlogs or anything like that. So below is my usual "mergelog" that shows my merges and who they came from.
And as always, note that my merge log shows who I merged from, which is not necessarily at all who developed the code. There's more than 1400 individual developers in there, and I always feel a bit bad by just grouping things by top-level maintainer, but I've never found a good way to summarize the merge window development by author (like the rc shortlogs are done). So I just keep mentioning this, to make it clear that this shows just _one_ side of the credits for getting code merged.
Apart from being slightly smaller than usual, the stats all look fairly normal. About two thirds of the patch is drivers (and it's all over, but gpu and networking dominate as usual), with the rest being the usual mix of arch updates, documentation, filesystem updates, networking, tooling, and just misc core kernel updates. And none of that is in the least surprising or unusual.
From an actual ABI perspective, I guess the openat2() support by Aleksa might be worth mentioning - it's been in development for a long time, and went through several revisions on the mailing lists. It's seldom we end up adding some new interfaces to really core stuff, but this makes it much easier to do some path resolution control in user space - particularly for sandboxing, You can ask to do filename lookup without following symlinks, for example, or not following mountpoints. So it's much easier to write code that says "I have this untrusted pathname that I want to open - only open it if it doesn't jump out of my sandboxed area".
But otherwise it all looks fairly normal. A couple of new specialty filesystems if you're into that kind of thing, you can see the big picture in the merge log below.