As part of the 2.5.40 announcement, Linus reminded the world that the
feature freeze is coming soon:
And a small reminder that we're now officially in the last month of
features, and since I'm going to be away basically the last week of
October, so I actually personally consider Oct 20th to be the
drop-date, unless you've got a really good and scary costume.. So
don't try to leave it to the last day.
Linus also let it be known that he's "perfectly happy with the kernel" and
feels no need to deal with last-minute code submissions.
In fact, the list of outstanding features is getting smaller. A couple of
big changes that are pending, and which could be disruptive, are:
- Changing the sector_t type to 64 bits, allowing block devices
to be larger than 2TB. One would think that 2TB would last for a
while, even by the standards of modern disks, but large RAID arrays
are already pushing that boundary. A patch (by Peter Chubb) is being
prepared, but it's taking him a while; among other things, he points
out that testing is a slow process because it takes a full day just to
write 4TB to a device.
- Turning dev_t into a 32-bit value. Increasing the number of
devices has been on the list since long before the 2.5 series began,
but the change has not yet been made. This is not a trivial change,
since the major device number is still used to index into static
arrays within the kernel. Drastically increasing the number of devices
requires dealing with those arrays. Alexander Viro has a plan to that end, but a lot of work
remains to be done.
Beyond that, quite a few other developments are pending, and they won't all
get in. Some outstanding items include the completion of the Linux
Security Module and asynchronous I/O merges, ext3 indexed directory
support, Rusty Russell's new module loader, a new kernel configuration and
build system, a whole pile of memory management work, etc.
What also remains to be seen is how serious Linus is about the feature
freeze. Past kernel freezes have tended to be slushy at best. Some
substantial work will have to be integrated after the freeze; it will be
interesting to see what gets in as "stabilization" or "feature completion."
Then, there is the much-publicized debate over whether the next stable
series should be 2.6 or 3.0. Linus started by saying that there was
nothing all that revolutionary in this kernel, and that it should be called
2.6. Numerous other developers disagreed, however, and Linus appears to have relented. It seems likely that
the next major stable kernel will be called Linux 3.0.
to post comments)