The Linux kernel is an open source monolithic Unix-like computer operating system kernel. The Linux family of operating systems is based on this kernel and deployed on both traditional computer systems such as personal computers and servers, usually in the form of Linux distributions, and on various embedded devices such as routers, wireless access points, PBXes, set-top boxes, FTA receivers, smart TVs, PVRs, and NAS appliances. The Android operating system for tablet computers, smartphones, and smartwatches uses services provided by the Linux kernel to implement its functionality. While the adoption on desktop computers is low, Linux-based operating systems dominate nearly every other segment of computing, from mobile devices to mainframes. As of November 2017, all of the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers run Linux.
The Linux kernel was conceived and created in 1991 by Linus Torvalds for his personal computer and with no cross-platform intentions, but has since expanded to support a huge array of computer architectures, many more than other operating systems or kernels. Linux rapidly attracted developers and users who adopted it as the kernel for other free software projects, notably the GNU Operating System. The Linux kernel has received contributions from nearly 12,000 programmers from more than 1,200 companies, including some of the largest software and hardware vendors.
Larry Ewing, Simon Budig and Anja Gerwinski [Public domain or Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons
Linux Kernel 4.18-rc8 has been released, and Linus Torvalds also said that if there is no accident, this should be the last RC version of 4.18.
So as already mentioned a couple of times in some of the relevant threads, this last week wasn't entirely painless, and 4.18 ended up being one of those releases that gets an extra week of rc testing before release. The original impetus for this was the continued VM worries - although it looks like we finally root-caused all the issues and got it all in shape on Wednesday. Still, that is somewhat late, and merits another rc for final testing. That said, if it had been _only_ that silly VM issue that turned out to not be so annoying as it could have been, I might have reconsidered and done a final release anyway, but we had some last-minute networking noise too, and there's actually a pending (old) VFS issue too. So while I may prefer to keep our regular release cadence, but this time around we are just going to see that extra week. I realize that this may mess with people who had planned for the merge window to start tomorrow - particularly the Europeans where August is often peak vacation time. Never fear, you can send me your merge window pull request next week as planned, and I'll just sit on it for the extra week. So go off on your planned vacations. Anyway, appended is the shortlog for the changes during the last week - and despite the extra week, it's not really horrible. Over a quarter of the patch is tooling updates, with some testing and tooling updates for perf, turbostat and bpf. On the actual kernel side, most of the (small) changes were to drivers, with network drivers leading the way. There's also some core networking changes, along with some minor arch updates. And we've got the VM fixes. and misc noise elsewhere. See below for the shortlog, or delve into the git repo for the nitty-gritty details.