Tuesday, 14 April 2015 11:40

Linux 4.0 released, includes live patching

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Linux creator Linus Torvalds has released version 4.0 of the kernel, which incorporates the capability for live kernel patching under certain circumstances.

The release was originally to be known as version 3.20 but was changed after a poll conducted by Torvalds. The live kernel patching code was submitted by SUSE developer Jiri Kosina back in February. It uses code from both kpatch (Red Hat's solution) and kGraft (SUSE's solution) and was planned at last October's Linux Plumbers Conference.

Announcing the 4.0 release, Torvalds wrote that there were no big changes despite the change in version number.

"Linux 4.0 was a pretty small release both in linux-next and in final size, although obviously 'small' is all relative. It's still over 10k non-merge commits. But we've definitely had bigger releases (and judging by linux-next v4.1 is going to be one of the bigger ones)," he wrote.

There were, however, some interesting statistics related to the release.

"Looking at just the statistics in git, this release is not just when we cross half a million commits total, but also cross the 4 million git object limit," Torvalds wrote. "Interestingly (if you look for numeric patterns), Linux 3.0 was when we crossed a quarter (of a) million commits and two million git objects, so there's a nice (and completely unintentional) pattern there when it comes to the kernel git repository."

Git is the source code management package the Torvalds developed when he was forced to stop using the proprietary BitKeeper source code management system.

"Another quick historical numerological footnote: the old historical BK tree was getting close to the 16-bit commit limit that BK originally used to have. So that whole 'quarter of a million commits' is actually quite a lot," Torvalds wrote.

"During all of the BK years we only got 65k commits. Of course, we only used BK for three years, and we've now been on git for almost exactly ten years, but still – it shows how the whole development process has really sped up a _lot_."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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