back to article Linus Torvalds releases Linux 3.18 as 3.17 wobbles

Linus Torvalds has pressed the go button for a new release of his eponymous kernel. Linux version 3.18 was loosed on Sunday, US time, after what Torvalds wrote was a “tiny” patch to get release candidate 7 done. The new version's headline features for business users are better sleep and resumption for Linux servers, more …

  1. thames

    Also keep in mind that Linux kernel development works on a timed-release basis. They release a new kernel regularly, and its up to the individual distros to decide if it's stable enough for production. A problem in a particular kernel release is not a problem if it's only used by kernel developers. The business basis for commercial distros is they will decide whether or not to pick up this kernel release or stick with an older one. Red Hat is famous for using old kernels and back-porting new drivers to it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems wrong...

    ...to call it linux.conf.au if it's held in Auckland...

    at the very least it should be linux.conf.anz ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems wrong...

      Typical pedantry from a linux user...

      1. h4rm0ny
        Headmaster

        Re: Seems wrong...

        Pedantry is a good thing in coders. My best coders are pedants.

        Also, it's "Linux" with a capital 'L'.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Seems wrong...

          >>Pedantry is a good thing in coders. My best coders are pedants

          Yes but he didn't say Linux coders. He said Linux users.

          Not that I want to be pedantic...

          1. jeffdyer

            Re: Seems wrong...

            Is there any difference?

            1. Nick_Healey

              Re: Seems wrong...

              thankyou for making my day

            2. h4rm0ny

              Re: Seems wrong...

              >>"Is there any difference?"

              Mint says 'yes'. Gentoo and Debian say 'no'.

              1. Havin_it

                Re: Seems wrong...

                >Mint says 'yes'. Gentoo and Debian say 'no'.

                Oh god, so true. I started learning coding the day I went from Mandrake (think Mint of its day, young'uns) to Gentoo. I just didn't quite realise it until a couple of years later.

    2. J 3
      Mushroom

      Re: Seems wrong...

      Yeah, made me think of this segment by John Oliver...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz29_bFxBZA

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Seems wrong...

        Pleas J3, that was silly.

        Am I the only prick in this world who cannot stand his voice for longer than 29 seconds??. Give me anybody else, Gervais, no matter his relation between height and width, the Queen, hats or no hats, Sean Connery, +45 years old, any sketch of Monty Python, including the best they took part in, the one with the two priests. Give me John Wayne, double Dutch, triple Dutch, any language any man woman or cat but not the voice of John Oliver. Am I the only one in this world or am I in desperate need of a shrink(US). Help.

    3. MustyMusgrave
      Devil

      Re: Seems wrong...

      No what seems wrong is he's heading into five eye's terratory to promote his shitty Kernel!

      New Zealand.. "know it all, suck it all in and erm something or other!"

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Pint

    "The Linux Lord"

    Holy damn my week starts off well!

  4. James 47

    Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

    And it's being released anyway!? Sounds like something Adobe would do

    1. Anonymous Bullard

      Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

      Almost all complex software is shipped with known bugs. Would you halt the release for an unknown length of time for the sake of "a couple of people"?

      1. AnonymousCoward

        Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

        Depends doesn't it. For example, if these "couple of people" were astronauts and this software was controlling their life support then yes I would.

        1. Grifter

          Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

          I think you missed a few things here, they're kernel developers, they churn out new releases of kernels, they don't commandeer ufos to upload viruses to the alien mothership.

          1. 404 Silver badge

            Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

            @grifter

            That *was* pretty easy, wasn't it? Unknown OS - did they use binary code? Probably not... yet connected to the alien mothership* quicker than a external serial USR 14.4 modem connecting to AOL...

            *unbelievable... had to add 'mothership' to dictionary... another proof Microsoft & Google don't have a soul**

            ** Argument for another day, pardon me.

        2. Anonymous Bullard

          Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

          if these "couple of people" were astronauts and this software was controlling their life support then yes I would.

          I think the first word in my post covered the inevitable extreme edge-case responses.

      2. LDS Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

        A "couple of people" means half of Linux desktop users!

        1. Roadcrew
          Linux

          Re: a couple of people....

          Unless, of course you include all the Linux Kernel users (notice that this is on topic!) - Android is not much of a desktop, although it can be made to work, sorta.

          I'm referring to Google Chrome OS, which works well enough for us (and gazeeellions of others it seems), so long as one improves the storage on the ChromeBook/Box. USB3 sticks are pretty effective for that, we find.

          It's surely true to say now that most of the Linux kernels crafted by Linus T and his team are installed in something other than a regular GNU-Linux distro.

          Pretty surprising....

        2. h4rm0ny
          Linux

          Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

          >>A "couple of people" means half of Linux desktop users!

          And half of all websites. ;)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

          Those aren't REAL Linux users. He's referring to the 2 veteran sysadmins who bothered to try the bleeding edge crap at all. ;)

          1. Havin_it
            FAIL

            @tnovelli Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

            >Those aren't REAL Linux users. He's referring to the 2 veteran sysadmins who bothered to try the bleeding edge crap at all. ;)

            "Veteran sysadmins" don't go anywhere near the bleeding-edge if they can help it. At least, those who started Devuan don't (your term is exactly how they style themselves).

      3. James 47

        Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

        It would depend on the severity of the bug really. One that causes a CPU lock-up would, in my mind at least, be a showstopper.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

          >It would depend on the severity of the bug really.

          I think a bug that can cause lock-up when running Xen is pretty serious if you are planning to run Xen ie. host VMs.It wouldn't surprise me if RedHat or a similiar enterprise Linux vendor are the one's to actually get to the bottom of this; this sort of bug will bite them much more than the desktop Linux brigade.

        2. Jim 59

          Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

          A new Linux kernel is not an end-user product. It is just a component that early adopting distros might use after they subject it to their own test cycle. Then, after another 6 months of testing and usage, more stable distros might adopt it, but still fairly bleeding edge. After another year or so, it might make its way into a commercial distro (Say Red Hat 7.x).

          After another couple of years, it might start to get used more widely in industry, like kernel 2.6.32, which is what you find in Red Hat 6, or 2.5.18 which is in RHEL5 and likely powering a large number of production servers. Eventually, embedded devices will get it, and webcams, DVD players, toys, industrial controllers and the rest of it.

          So a lock-up in Linux 3.17 is indeed a serious issue, and enthusiasts may encounter and report it, but planes will not drop out of the sky. Instead, the bugs are publicized, publicly addressed and remediated. This isn't a scandal, it is what is supposed to happen.

      4. Snorlax

        Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

        "Almost all complex software is shipped with known bugs. Would you halt the release for an unknown length of time for the sake of "a couple of people"?"

        Ha ha good one.

        When a buggy linux kernel is released, that's ok.

        When Windows issues an update for something, the rabid mob screams about MS selling defective products? What's the difference?

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

          >When Windows issues an update for something, the rabid mob screams about MS selling defective products? What's the difference?

          Er, its being given away for free?

          The problem is also noted *before release*, so check out the problem-case and see it will affect you.

          None of this, "this update contains fixes for windows. Click through these 3 websites, stand on your head and rub your tummy and we might consider telling you what its about.

          1. Snorlax
            Facepalm

            Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

            "Er, its being given away for free?"

            Oh right, I forgot. Buggy crap is acceptable if it's free. Carry on.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              I feel that I must defend Linux here.

              It's easy to scoff, but that is really a plus point to Linux that you expect it to follow the same standards as you do with a real Operating System.

              Remember, Linux is a toy - an impressive toy, to be fair - but still a toy, so it's unfair to expect the same of it as you would professional systems.

              1. h4rm0ny

                Re: I feel that I must defend Linux here.

                >>"Remember, Linux is a toy - an impressive toy, to be fair - but still a toy, so it's unfair to expect the same of it as you would professional systems."

                Apparently a child sees everything as a toy. Even if that "toy" underlies billions of £'s of business daily.

                Idiot trolls are idiot trolls regardless of their target.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I feel that I must defend Linux here.

                >>It's easy to scoff, but that is really a plus point to Linux that you expect it to follow the same standards as you do with a real Operating System.

                I'm guessing so kind of trolling here, Linux isn't an OS, it's a kernel used by OS's, which makes your comment nonsensical, but above this, it's an RC, I'm sure that RedHat/Oracle/IBM etc. are all over it like a rash, especially those in the virtualisation market.

                >>Remember, Linux is a toy - an impressive toy, to be fair - but still a toy, so it's unfair to expect the same of it as you would professional systems.

                Half the internet and most of the banks.

              3. Andrew Meredith

                Re: I feel that I must defend Linux here.

                I call "Troll"

            2. Jim 59

              Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

              Oh right, I forgot. Buggy crap is acceptable if it's free. Carry on.

              You can have it for free or pay for it from MS, your choice.

            3. PNGuinn
              Megaphone

              Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

              No, that is NOT the point. This is a kernel released with a KNOWN IDENTIFIED BUG. If you do something affected by it USE ANOTHER. That's a decision for the user - include distro here. Most distros have a shrewd idea of their userbase.

              The difference here is that if you don't like it or have problems you can use another kernel. Or distro. Just try stripping out the current kernel from, say win 8.x and shoehorning in the kernel from say win 7.y If you were able to do it even, I suspect MS would scream EULA at you, either via a nastygram or the system phoning home and killing itself.

              I'm gusseing here - I dumped a certain commercial closed source os because of the unstable buggy sluggy (there - invented a new word just for you) piece of shite it was.

              Clue:

              Commercial closed system: Yeah, we know its full of bugs and some of 'em are nasty. WE NEED THE PORK. We'll release it anyway, make sure they have to buy it. If anyone finds a bug we may patch it if we know how or can be bothered. Or we'll call it a feature. or deny it and tell you (in the nicest possible way) to get stuffed.

              Open Source: There are a lot of improvements here a lot of people need. There is an obscure bug we can't find that does not seem to affect a lot of people. We'll release now, making it clear what the problem is, people have a choice whether to use this or not. We'll keep looking. With it and the source out there the chances are the cause problem will come to light far more quickly as more people use it.

              Being FREE has nothing to do with being buggy. Linus and the kernal team ain't perfect. Shock horror - they're probably not even the brightest people on the planet. They ARE bright enough to know that there are others out there who can read the code and contribute. That's why its OPEN.

          2. h4rm0ny

            Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

            >>"Er, its being given away for free?"

            Er, that's a terrible response. When someone points out a bug in Linux we do not respond "Well it's free, what do you expect"? GNU/Linux powers half the Internet. Bad attitude is bad. Linux is not worse quality because it happens to be free nor should we expect it to be.

        2. Anonymous Bullard

          Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

          When a buggy linux kernel is released, that's ok.

          When Windows issues an update for something, the rabid mob screams about MS selling defective products? What's the difference?

          I said all "complex software", that includes Windows, too. If you think all software doesn't get released until all known bugs are gone then you (and your fellow cry babies on here) are greatly mistaken. 2 decades of Windows development has taught me that one.

          The difference, you ask? The chances are, 3.18+ wont get to most users until it's fixed, unless they require the features it provides.

          1. Snorlax
            Facepalm

            Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

            " If you think all software doesn't get released until all known bugs are gone then you (and your fellow cry babies on here) are greatly mistaken."

            Thanks for the newsflash professor.

            The point I was making (and which appears to have gone over your head) is that linux fans will say "Meh. Bugs. No big deal" when referring to their beloved OS, yet slag off other OSes whenever they patch holes. Apparently some people think that's cool because their choice is "free" and thus exempt from criticism or comparison. Talk about double standards...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

              As an outsider (Windows is my preferred OS, but I'm still a geek nonetheless), I think you're the one getting your knickers in a twist.

              It's an obscure bug, that some time has been spent on it but enough is enough and just release the damn thing, with a warning. Take it or leave it.

              If you do use xen then try to avoid it but I bet your VPS provider (or distro) handle this type of stuff for you. It's not forced upon anyone, or anything.

        3. sdalton

          Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

          With Windows, that is what the end-users get. With Linux, it has to go through the secondary stability concerns of the distro developers - who may well elect to use an older kernel. The difference being, no-one is shoving software with known stability concerns into the hands of millions of consumers - it's much more fragmented, like everything FOSS.

        4. Wogster

          Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

          There are Windows bugs that have been there since Windows 3.1 even though the thing has been rewritten from the gound up 4 times. Production users don't use the latest kernels, they use mature kernels from months or even years ago. About the only Linux version using a 3.17 kernel at this point is Fedora 21, and they are at 3.17.6. Not sure we need a minor upgrade every few weeks. letting them simmer a little might make for a better kernel....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

      Apparently the lock-up bug is already present in 3.17. How would it help to delay the release of 3.18 because of it?

      In any case, most ordinary users will continue to use a much older kernel than either of those. I seem to be on 3.2.0, with the distributor's patches applied, obviously.

    3. thames

      Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

      It's being released to other developers, not to the end users. It's not going to show up in your PC unless you manually download the source directly from their repository, compile it, bypass your distro's software management system, and manually force an install yourself. My PC runs the current and updated Ubuntu LTS release (14.04) and it has kernel version 3.13. Kernel 3.18 is unlikely to show up in any current or future version of Ubuntu.

      Every 'x' weeks the Linux kernel developers put out a release which is intended for other developers who are working on next-generation stuff. The distros (e.g. Red Hat, Suse, Ubuntu, Debian, etc.) pick a known good release kernel, and then put more work into it to polish it up for their customers. If a new kernel has unresolved problems at around the time a distro wants to put out a new version of their OS, then they simply stick with an older one. Customers on existing releases may be running kernels which are several years old, with security patches and updated drivers added by the distro.

      The kernel developers are the R&D department, not the product release department. They just happen to do everything out in the open rather than keeping it secret. If you want to compare them to Microsoft or Apple you would have to hack into Microsoft's code repository, download the work-in-progress source for Windows 11 (or whatever they're going to call it), compile it yourself, hack the result so it replaces the Windows kernel in your copy of Windows 7, and then go on the internet and bitch if your result occasionally locks up.

      El Reg is reporting this story because it's of interest to a small group of people who want to follow what's going on in the world if IT. It's not something that any of us outside of a small group of developers are ever going to have to deal with though. And let's face it, even a Xen bug is pretty unlikely to affect anyone other than a Xen developer since nobody else is going to run Xen on their desktop.

  5. Bill B
    Linux

    Linux future

    Serious question ... what would happen to Linux is Linus was knocked down by a bus. In my company we are always taught that your software has to outlive you. Is Linus that central to Linux?

    Not really flame bait .. genuinely interested in the Linux relaese/management process.

    1. PhilipN Silver badge

      Re: Linux future

      I was thinking the same thing. I have to hand it to LT for riding the bronco for so many years and bringing it to such a level of usage and respect. I would not call all Linux developers prima donnas but some of them give the impression of being a rowdy bunch. That's an observation, fellas, not a criticism, and it may be a good thing as part of the bazaar, but every good CEO - especially those who are self-appointed - plans for his own succession.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linux future

      'what would happen to Linux is Linus was knocked down by a bus'

      Dunno, but the thought of it is making me want to go learn how to drive a bus

      1. Chemist

        Re: Linux future

        "Dunno, but the thought of it is making me want to go learn how to drive a bus"

        Perhaps when you grow up

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Linux future

          'Perhaps when you grow up'

          I'd give you a C- for that put-down. Try harder next time.

      2. Fatman Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Linux future

        Dunno, but the thought of it is making me want to go learn how to drive a bus

        But, LT would be the wrong target; now, if you were aiming at the authors of systemd, then.......

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Linux future

          > if you were aiming at the authors of systemd, then.......

          I think you'll find a LOT of people willing to pay for gas for that bus!! And fighting for the privilege to drive...

    3. boltar

      Re: Linux future

      People used to ask the same about Jobs and Apple. Something as large as linux has so much momentum that even someone as important as linus dying wouldn't stop it. Though I would image there would be slower development and a lower signal to noise ratio for a time as all the wannabes fight it out.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Linux future

        "People used to ask the same about Jobs and Apple."

        Then he left, Apple sank, then he came back and Apple rose again. Having done the experiment once, no-one seemed all that keen to do it again. I'd say the jury was still out on whether Apple is doing OK without him now.

        I imagine Linux would suffer the same fate, for reasons that are superficially different but actually the same. Jobs' contribution to Apple was in defining what the consumer wanted and being quite brutal about rejecting everything else. I think Torvalds' contribution to Linux is more technical, but essentially it is still a gatekeeper role. (Going further back, it looks from the outside like young Billy Gates did something very similar at Microsoft and the rot set in when he stopped knocking down the egos and empire builders within his own ranks.)

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. regadpellagru

        Re: Linux future

        "It'll all be fine after Torvalds. Lennart Poettering and Kay Sievers can take over. Only they can make the "Open Source community [..] one happy place"."

        Quite possibly you are sarcasting. But, truely, this could happen: bunch of crazy egos forking the kernel everywhere. Scary.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Linux future

          "bunch of crazy egos forking the kernel everywhere"

          Happens already.

          Good forks get subsumed back into the mainstreams. Bad forks wither on the vine.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: Linux future

            Good forks get subsumed back into the mainstreams. Bad forks wither on the vine.

            Competition is the universe's only way to get rid of the crud.

            (This is why people tend to design ways to get rid of competition.)

            1. Havin_it
              Coat

              @DAM Re: Linux future

              >Competition is the universe's only way to get rid of the crud.

              >(This is why people designers tend to design ways to get rid of competition.)

              FTFY

      2. h4rm0ny

        Re: Linux future

        >>It'll all be fine after Torvalds. Lennart Poettering and Kay Sievers can take over. Only they can make the "Open Source community [..] one happy place".

        I know you're being sarcastic but that just made me shiver.

        You know that Poettering would be the one driving the bus in the first place, yes? :/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Linux future

          If Poettering is driving it, it would have to be a short bus...

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Linux future

      "What would happen to Linux is Linus was knocked down by a bus. "

      Someone else would take over kernel coordination. There are plenty of people who can do it, but not all of them have the rhino hide that Linus does, nor are they always willing to call out bad coding for what it is.

  6. codejunky Silver badge

    Its the kernel

    There seem a lot of comments amusing over this bug. What is actually running such an up to date kernel? My mint (Ubuntu) desktop is 3.13 and I doubt any of my servers are that up to date. And of course the MS children showed up to throw insults (as the Mac and Linux children turn up to MS problem articles).

    For what it is worth, woohoo the kernel continues. Congrats on the improvements and enhancements and while most of us never notice or even recognise the difference it makes to our lives (unless it breaks) I am glad things are going well.

    1. James 47

      Re: Its the kernel

      MS children!? Nah, they're probably just software engineers, being downvoted by javascript monkeys

      1. F Seiler

        Re: Its the kernel

        I'd have thought software engineers typically escaped that war, only having left the energy to mock the systems they use themselves.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its the kernel

      "What is actually running such an up to date kernel?"

      Arch.

    3. Havin_it

      Re: Its the kernel

      >"What is actually running such an up to date kernel?"

      Gentoo.

  7. larsk

    Locking issue

    The problem that was Xen related had been diagnosed - and there was patch from Juergen Gross (Suse) that fixed it. But the generic lockup issue is still present and it hasn't been yet narrowed down to what is triggering it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With this release, has the kernel finally become a loadable systemd module?

  9. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Difference? Rabid Mob?

    "When Windows issues an update for something, the rabid mob screams about MS selling defective products? What's the difference?"

    I'm disappointed to see this topic become a trigger for more flame wars.

    "DIFFERENCE"

    For me, the difference is quite simple:

    - [Linux] Used mostly by people who CHOOSE to use it

    - [Windows] Used mostly by people who get it whether they like it or not

    "RABID MOB"

    Reading through the comments, it would seem that some proponents of Windows and some proponents of Linux can be equally rabid. I guess there are probably rabid proponents of Apple products too. But its a real shame that members of various "rabid mobs" turn up here. Civilized conversion is much to be preferred.

  11. J J Carter Silver badge
    Linux

    Thinking outside the box here, but could they diff the source of 3.16 and 3.17 to see what changed to introduce the lockup bug?

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