"It's been two weeks rather than the usual one, because we've been hunting a really annoying VM regression that not a lot of people seem to have seen, but I didn't want to release an -rc4 with it," began Linux creator Linus Torvalds, announcing the 2.6.34-rc4 Linux kernel. He explained, "we had the choice of either reverting all the anon-vma scalability improvements, or finding out exactly what caused the regression and fixing it. And we got pretty close to the point where I was going to just revert it all." Linus continued:
"Absolutely _huge_ kudos to Borislav Petkov who reported the problem and was able to not just reliably reproduce it, but also test new patches to try to narrow things down at a moments notice. The thing took ten days of emails flying back and forth, and Borislav was there all the time, day and night, through several patches that tried to fix it (several real bugs, but not the one he hit) and lots of patches to just add instrumentation to get us nearer to the cause of the problem. And finally, today, confirmation that we actually nailed the problem. So if anybody has been seeing a oops (or sometimes a GP fault) in page_referenced(), that should be gone now."
As for the rest of the changes, Linus noted, "the bulk of the changes come from drivers - a new network driver (cxgb4), but also updates to the radeon and nouveau drivers. And then there is the random updates everywhere." Read on for the full changelog.
"Another week, another -rc," began Linus Torvalds, announcing the 2.6.27-rc4 Linux kernel, continuing, "this time the diffstat is almost totally dominated by the addition of the musb driver that drives the MUSB and TUSB controllers integrated into omap2430 and davinci. That, together with the removal of the auerswald USB driver (replaced by libusb version) is more than half of the bulk of the patch, and obviously most users won't ever notice." Linus added:
"Apart from those bulky USB updates, there's some arch updates (blackfin and ia64), network and input driver updates, and an XFS and UBIFS update. The rest is mostly random stuff all over, probably best described by the appended shortlog. A number of regressions should be off the table, but more remain..."
"You know the drill by now: another week, another -rc," began Linux creator, Linus Torvalds, announcing the 2.6.26-rc4 kernel. "There's a lot of small stuff in here", he continued, "most people won't even notice. The most noticeable thing is for all you 32-bit x86 people who use PAE (enabled by the HIGHMEM64G config option) due to having too much memory in your machine - mprotect() was broken due to some of the PAT fix/cleanup patches, causing the NX bit to be not set correctly." Linus described the fixed bug:
"If you had PAE enabled _and_ a recent enough CPU to have NX, but not recent enough to be 64-bit (or you were just perverse and wanted to run a 32-bit kernel despite having a chip that could do 64-bit and enough memory that you _really_ should have used a 64-bit kernel), you'd get various random program failures with SIGSEGV. It ranged from X not starting up to apparently OpenOffice not working if it did."
He went on to note, "most of the changes, as usual, are in drivers, at 60%, with some DRI changes leading the way (fixing a number of other regressions, mainly by reverting the under-cooked vblank update). Network, MMC, USB, watchdog and IDE drivers also got updates. We had CIFS and NFS updates, and some arch updates as usual." Linus concluded, "nothing really hugely exciting, I think we're doing pretty ok in the release cycle, and I'm getting the feeling that things are calming down."
"It's a few days late, but I was waiting for some updates for some of the most annoying regressions until releasing it, so the end result is hopefully more useful as a result," Linus Torvalds began, announcing the 2.6.25-rc4 kernel. He offered a dirstat summary, noting, "the dirstat shows that (as usual) most of the changes are in drivers and arch (~51% and ~17% respectively), with about half the driver updates being in network drivers." Linus continued:
"In particular, the block layer changes should hopefully have sorted themselves out, and CD burning etc hopefully works for people again. Same goes for the the scheduler regressions, and a number of annoying boot-time problems. [...] It's really a fair amount of small changes spread all over, with most of the changes being quite small (604 commits, most of them small, with the BNX2X network driver and the new fsldma driver the only ones that got some bigger changes)."
"We should have one week between -rc releases, but I was gone for a week over thanksgiving (as were some other kernel developers), so this one is a bit late. It's been almost the rule rather than the exception, but I promise I'll be better..." began Linus Torvalds, announcing the 2.6.24-rc4 kernel. He noted, "there aren't a lot of exciting changes here, but there's still a _lot_ more churn than I really hoped for at the -rc4 stage. Blackfin, MIPS and Power do stand out in the diffstats, but ARM and x86 got some updates too." Linus continued:
"And we had some ACPI churn (processor throttling etc), along with various driver updates: ATA, IDE, infiniband, SCSI, USB and network drivers.. And on the filesystem side, cifs, NFS, ocfs2 and proc. Ugh. Too much. [...] That said, none of the changes are really _exciting_ or really scary. And we should have fixed a number of regressions, although more certainly remain."
Linux creator Linus Torvalds announced the latest release candidate of the upcoming 2.6.23 kernel, "it can mostly be described with the one word, 'boring'", he said, noting there weren't any exciting changes. He added that there was two weeks between this and the last release candidate, summarizing:
"As a result, -rc4 is a bit bigger than it would/should have been, but hopefully it's all good, and we've fixed most regressions. There's some arch updates (MIPS, power, sparc64, s390) and an ACPI update, but the rest of it is mainly lots of small fixes (mostly to various random drivers). With some scheduler and networking noise."
Adrian Bunk posted a list of known regressions in the latest 2.6.20-rc4 Linux kernel compared to the previous 2.6.19 stable release [story]. In two emails, he listed six regressions that don't have fixes yet, and six regressions with fixes that haven't been merged yet.
In another email thread, Linux creator Linus Torvalds noted that his goal for 2.6.20 is to focus primarily on stability. He also noted that he intends to release the stable kernel at some point after linux.conf.au which is happening this year in Sydney, Australia between January 15th and 20th. He explains, "hopefully 'final -rc' before LCA, but I'll do the actual 2.6.20 release afterwards. I don't want to have a merge window during LCA, as I and many others will all be out anyway. So it's much better to have LCA happen during the end of the stabilization phase when there's hopefully not a lot going on. (Of course, often at the end of the stabilization phase there is all the 'ok, what about regression XyZ?' panic)"
Back from the 2005 Linux Kernel Developers' Summit, Linus Torvalds released the 2.6.13-rc4 kernel. Linus noted that the improved development process discussed at the recent summit will begin after the upcoming release of the 2.6.13 kernel, "which is hopefully not too far away." The general idea of the new process, which improves upon last year's development model [story], is to require that all major merges happen within two weeks of a stable kernel release. All the rest of the time between releases should then be spent on fixing bugs. Linus summarized:
"So if you have a favourite kernel developer, please wake him up with a friendly kick to the head and explain this concept to him in small easy-to-understand words, and tell him that we're in the freeze process for 2.6.13 now, and that he should be gathering up the patches, and make sure they get to me _after_ 2.6.13 is out, but at that point do it in a timely manner."