in theory -rc1 is supposed to have all the major new stuff in it, but in practice Linus frequently uses -rc1 as a mid-merge status point, getting large numbers of additional changes shortly after -rc1 (mostly from andrew and other top maintainers) In some cases this is becouse the changes introduced in -rc1 require adapting other patches to work with them (something that -next may help with), in other cases it's that people like andrew are busy checking and reviewing patches during the -rc1 timeframe, and so Linus seems to pull from them just after it. so I suspect that your table of changes per -rc would show an even bigger drop-off after -rc2 then it does after -rc1.
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