back to article Linus Torvalds decides world isn’t ready for Linux 5.0

Linus Torvalds has decided the world’s not ready for version 5.0 of the Linux Kernel, so he’s given us version 4.17 instead. Torvalds toyed with the idea of calling this release 5.0, because it passed the six million git objects mark. But he also said version numbers are meaningless and he might not call it 5.0. The latter …

  1. Ole Juul Silver badge

    Two scroll wheels?

    That's the most informative part of this article to me. I've seen a lot of odd tech, but hadn't ever come across one of those. A quick Google and sure enough, there's a number of those.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'sure enough, there's a number of those.'

      Damn you Sir! You've gone and made me want to get one!

      1. philnc

        Re: 'sure enough, there's a number of those.'

        I remember thinking when I taught my 9 year-old how to ride a bike, "Well, at least he isn't interested in a unicycle."

        It's those near misses in life that wind up sticking with you over the years.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: 'sure enough, there's a number of those.'

          Your 9 year old didn't know how to ride a bike yet? Around here, it's almost a requirement to enter kindergarten ...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 'sure enough, there's a number of those.'

            "Your 9 year old didn't know how to ride a bike yet? Around here, it's almost a requirement to enter kindergarten ..."

            People have different priorities and opportunities. My kids are lucky, as they could learn safely in flat open parks or wide open spaces. My kids can swim fantastically, but we have the money to pay for lessons...I can swim for a long distance, but not "properly" as they can. Mine can do back flips, handstands and somersaults, but that's because we can afford lessons and quality trampolines and gym equipment. They can build dens from scratch in the woods, know how to climb up and down very steep muddy backs and how to get out when they get their wellies stuck in the mud (twist and lift). That's because we have loads of woodland, and have really good park rangers.

            I've seen little kids in Devon and Cornwall tootle off with surf boards under their arms during school time, something my kids have no chance of doing.

            If you live in a city, have little money and don't own a car, suddenly everything I take for granted takes a 100x more effort. I for one, wouldn't like to teach a 3 year old how to ride a bike when your only roads are dual carriageways and rat runs.

          2. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

            Re: 'sure enough, there's a number of those.'

            I'm pretty sure I was driving a tractor the same summer I learned to ride a bike. Sand-paved roads aren't the most pleasant surface, but a 160-acre field gives quite a bit of room to learn in...

    2. Rusty 1
      Happy

      Re: Two scroll wheels?

      Makes me think of this:

      https://www.theonion.com/fuck-everything-were-doing-five-blades-1819584036

    3. Nick Stallman

      Re: Two scroll wheels?

      Holy cow I had completely forgotten about those. I actually had one in the late 90s with the second scroll wheel allowing you to scroll left and right.

      I had totally forgotten about it until now!

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Two scroll wheels?

        double scroll wheels (mostly) went away with the advent of the tilt function on single wheels for side scrolling (mice with that have been around for nearly 20 years)

        On the other hand, having support for them means emulatiing the sidescroll function on trackpads is easier.

        1. King Jack
          Holmes

          Re: went away with the advent of the tilt function on single wheels for side scrolling

          I had a hell of a time finding a replacement mouse with that feature. Finally I bought a job lot on eBay so i'll be able to tilt for the next 3 decades+. Wouldn't use a mouse without it..

        2. Geezer1953

          Re: Two scroll wheels?

          Tilt function on single wheels? I'll be danged, never noticed that before. Thanks for the tip!

    4. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Two scroll wheels?

      I have a Logitech mouse on my desk right now with two scroll wheels. The normal uppy-downy one on top and a lefty-righty one by a thumb rest. Never used it.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Two scroll wheels?

        "I have a Logitech mouse on my desk right now with two scroll wheels. The normal uppy-downy one on top and a lefty-righty one by a thumb rest. Never used it."

        I use it all the time on my Logitech mouse.

    5. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Two scroll wheels?

      Apple Mighty Mouse?

      It had a trackball where you might expect to find a scroll wheel, presumably operating two scroll wheels inside the workings.

      1. MrNed

        Re: Two scroll wheels?

        It had a trackball where you might expect to find a scroll wheel

        It wasn't a track ball as-such - it was a small rubber nipple (stop smirking at the back or we'll put it all away and get on with some written work) with some sort of sensor underneath, but I don't think it was a ball. They were very effective in-use... for the 2 weeks it took for the scroll nipple to die.

        Having become used to the ability to side-scroll, though I borrowed one of their Magic Mouse things to try instead (a mouse whose entire surface was touch-sensitive). It quickly became apparent that they'd named it that way because you needed the dexterity and slight-of-hand of a magician to be able to hold and move the mouse without it registering numerous erroneous button clicks and scrolls. The only option was to hold it tentatively 'twixt thumb and little finger with the rest of your hand hovering above it in an RSI-inducing crab-like fashion.

        I gave it back and got a Logitech - it must be 7 years old but it's still going strong.

    6. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

      Re: Two scroll wheels?

      Are the scroll wheels for different axis or something? What's the point of that? Inquiring minds.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Two scroll wheels?

        "Are the scroll wheels for different axis or something?"

        Yes.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If version numbers are meaningless maybe he should skip 5.0 and go straight to 6 just to prove his point...

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Déjà vu

      I seem to recall MS Word did that once - going from 4.x to 6.0 just to beat WordPerfect which was at 5.1 at the time.

      1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

        Re: Déjà vu

        I seem to recall MS Word did that once - going from 4.x to 6.0 just to beat WordPerfect which was at 5.1 at the time.

        Given the signs of logical behaviour exhibited by MS Word it wouldn't have surprised me in the slightest if they'd gone from version 4 to version 6 followed by version 5.1.

        1. 45RPM Silver badge

          Re: Déjà vu

          @Dazed and Confused

          They did do that in the eighties. Sort of.

          The numbering for MS-DOS is…

          MS-DOS 1

          MS-DOS 2

          MS-DOS 4 (yes, really)

          MS-DOS 3

          MS-DOS 4 (what, again?)

          MS-DOS 5 (and now numbering proceeds according to established principles)

          The first MS-DOS 4 was supposedly multitasking, but it didn’t offer hardware memory protection (so that multitasking effectively meant more things could go wrong and be lost at once). It had serious compatibility problems, and it wasn’t well received.

          MS-DOS 3 worked well enough (I used it until MS-DOS 6 came out), but MS-DOS 4 (take 2) was just MS-DOS 3 with a few new utilities chucked in and a boatload of bugs. In keeping with the MS-DOS 4 name, it was a flawed load of rubbish (but with the multitasking removed for the second shot at the MS-DOS 4 name).

          Confused? You’re not the only one. Still, for all that, neither MS-DOS 4 was as catastrophically awful as the boat load of fail called System 7.5. Which just goes to show that no company is too big to screw up.

          1. AMBxx Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Déjà vu

            How about Linux XP?

          2. kain preacher Silver badge

            Re: Déjà vu

            TO be fair one of those version one DOS 4.0 was written by IBM.

      2. Steve Channell
        Gimp

        Re: Déjà vu

        That was when Word (for DOS), Word (for Xenix) and Mac Word were all brought together for Windows 3.0

      3. the spectacularly refined chap

        Re: Déjà vu

        I seem to recall MS Word did that once - going from 4.x to 6.0 just to beat WordPerfect which was at 5.1 at the time.

        The reason given at the time was to sync up the version numbers between the DOS, Windows and Mac versions. The jump was most noticeable on the Windows version which went straight from v2 to v6.

        I don't have a precise WordPerfect version history but I suspect WP would have been up to v6 by 1993 when Word 6.0 was released - I know I have a copy of PerfectOffice v3.0 with WP 6.1 here from 1994 and that was a major change to v6.0 which I only used a couple of times - the entire UI has been redesigned to get the PerfectOffice apps working consistently despite their independent origins.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Windows 3.11 -> 95 -> 98 -> 2000 -> XP -> Vista -> 7 -> 8 -> 10

      1. Pomgolian
        FAIL

        Windows 3.11 -> 95 -> 98 -> 2000 -> XP -> Vista -> 7 -> 8 -> 10->Mint

        FTFY

        1. jake Silver badge

          UNIX > BSD > Coherent + BSD > Slackware + BSD

          Fiddled about with the silly little program loaders from Redmond (through Win98). NT was an OK product at first, and I kinda liked NT2K, that was almost a decent OS. After that, too much bloat.

          1. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge

            Considering that MS-DOS after vesion 2.10 had too much bloat.....

            Windows NT was a good idea, but then Microsoft wanted it to be compatible with MS-Windows and the development schedule started slipping....

      2. Stuart Halliday

        Has everyone forgotten Windows ME....

        If only I could....

        1. AK565

          I think I'm the only person who had an ME computer that was stable and worked. I had problems initially then I found an online guide that suggested a number of tweaks. IIRC, one of the first instructions was to ignore Microsoft's advice.

          1. onefang Silver badge

            "I think I'm the only person who had an ME computer that was stable and worked."

            No, there's two of us.

      3. vtcodger Silver badge

        ... 98 -> ME -> 2000

        It's easy to forget ME. A very forgettable product. Microsoft would like to forget it also.

        And there really was a Window 1 -> 2 ->3 ->3.10 ... prior to 3.11. Window 3.0 was really the first usable Windows and was quite popular for a couple of years in the early 1990s. But it was nearly universally replaced by WFWG 3.1 then WFWG3.11 (free upgrade) which had networking.

        1. IGnatius T Foobar ✅

          <blockquote>Window 3.0 was really the first usable Windows and was quite popular</blockquote>

          Windows 7 was really the first usable version of Windows. FTFY

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            WFWG 3.11 ran pretty well on a 386 CPU with 2MB of RAM. Two *megabytes*. Try doing that with Windows 7.

            1. 45RPM Silver badge

              @AC - I remember, back in the day, Windows 3.0 running quite happily on 286 with 1MB RAM. Admittedly, there weren’t many big commercial applications that would run on such a setup - but Windows itself ran fine.

              In a fit of masochism and experimentation, I even ran Windows 3 on a 4.77MHz 8086 Compaq Deskpro - with a mere 512KB RAM. I won’t say that it was a happy experience, you could watch every window getting constructed slowly, but it ran.

      4. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
        Paris Hilton

        Wrong again

        You had PC-DOS and MS-DOS, with different version numbers.

        Then you had MS-Xenix and MS Lan Manager

        Microsoft cooperated on early versions of OS/2.

        You had MS Windows 1.0, 2,0, 3,0, 3.1, 3.11, 3.2, Win32S, 4.0 (a.k.a. Windows 95, 98, ME).

        You had versions of MS-DOS like 7.0 (a.k.a. Windows 95)

        You had Windows NT 3.1, 3.50, 3.51, 4.0, 5.0(a.k.a. Windows 2000), 5.1 (XP), 5.2, (2003), 6.0 (a.k.a. Windows 2008), 6.1 (a.k.a. Windows 7), 6.2 (a.k.a. Windows 8), 10 (a.k.a. Windows 2016), etc.

        You had Windows CE which begat Windows Phone.

        You have Microsoft Midori. (versions? )

        Nothing weirder than the version names of Ubuntu that went from 'a' to 'z' and then restarted or OpenSuse with version numbers 10, 11, 11.1 , 11.2, 12, 12.1, 42, 42.1, 42.2, 16.

        1. Blake St. Claire

          Re: Wrong again, again.

          > OpenSuse with version numbers 10, 11, 11.1 , 11.2, 12, 12.1, 42, 42.1, 42.2, 16.

          There is an OpenSUSE 13. Leap 42 is in lieu of 14 (thank you Douglas Adams), and Leap 15 was just released. There is no 16 yet. And SUSE SLE 10, 11, 12, and then 15.

          The real Ubuntu versions are 12.4, 12.10, 13.4, 13.10, 14.4, 14.10, etc. Those A...Z names are just nicknames.

          Why do I know this crap? $deity only knows.

          1. hollymcr

            Re: Wrong again, again.

            Ubuntu's year-month release date version numbering makes perfect sense to me. I'm surprised it isn't more common.

        2. kain preacher Silver badge

          Re: Wrong again

          I;m not talking about PC dos there was a version of MS dos that was written by IBM buth ten MS took it back after version 4.01

          MS-DOS 4.x (IBM-developed) – includes a graphical/mouse interface. It had many bugs and compatibility issues.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS-DOS#4.01

    3. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Or better still, go backwards.

    4. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "maybe he should skip 5.0 and go straight to 6 just to prove his point..."

      Or 8, as Slackware did back in the day.

  3. jake Silver badge

    Am I the only one who finds this funny?

    Linus has said for years that the number on the release means nothing other than its utility when it comes to record keeping. And yet, every time he mentions rolling a "major" number (which isn't really a major anything), the same group of people start to develop serious angst about it. I kinda suspect that he does it on purpose, just to tweak 'em.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only one who finds this funny?

      "every time he mentions rolling a "major" number (which isn't really a major anything)"

      The differences between 1.* 2.* and 3.* certainly qualified for major angst

      But since then it's all been incremental.

  4. Sheepykins

    All hail Torvalds.

    Blessed be the keeper of the kernel.

  5. Vanir

    Version numbers

    A monotonic function of meaninglessness?

    Bigger meaningless is better meaningless I suppose.

    Unmore less is more.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Power

    Improvements to power management while systems are idling, said to reduce consumption by ten per cent or more;

    That's an impressive improvement.

    1. Baldrickk Silver badge

      Re: Power

      It's the one reason I preferred Windows on my laptop at Uni - it was always better at power management on battery power.

      For everything else - I enjoyed playing with a new Linux every month or so.

  7. Robigus
    Pint

    Say what you think, not what the joy-sapping bastards tell you to.

    Linus' rambling about whether to increment a version number or not are to be celebrated in this PR filtered joy-less age.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What happened to Tile?

    I thought they were part of Mellanox now? But still in business.

  9. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Please no v5, stay on v4.x.x forever?

    I've said it before... if the numbers are meaningless then have a heart and do not step the major number.

    The reason I say this is there are a great many long-suffering customers trapped in craptocratic organizations in which a major version step requires a whole new accreditation process.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Please no v5, stay on v4.x.x forever?

      There is a good reason for that: Semantic versioning - which says that a change in the major number means that there are incompatible changes from the previous version. Very sensible IMHO.

      But we live in a marketing driven age where there is a belief that if the major number has not changed then the product/project is stagnant and, by implication, not being maintained. Since the kernel devs try very hard to not break backwards compatibility then the major number should not change.

      The browser writers understood the marketing imperative a few years back, which is why Firefox is up at version 60.

      Maybe Linus ought to make the next major number 11 - then those stuck on MS Windows would suddenly realise that Linux was better !

      1. Graham Dawson

        Re: Please no v5, stay on v4.x.x forever?

        "Major version X (X.y.z | X > 0) MUST be incremented if any backwards incompatible changes are introduced to the public API."

        if linus adopted this, we'd be on kernel version 300 by now

        1. alain williams Silver badge

          Re: Please no v5, stay on v4.x.x forever?

          if linus adopted this, we'd be on kernel version 300 by now

          Really ? The kernel team go to great lengths :

          We care about user-space interfaces to an insane degree. We go to extreme lengths to maintain even badly designed or unintentional interfaces. Breaking user programs simply isn't acceptable.

          Yes: they do change internal Kernel APIs which can break 3rd party binary drivers, but the simple solution is for the 3rd parties to put them up for inclusion in the kernel -- which should have been done in the first place.

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Please no v5, stay on v4.x.x forever?

        Maybe Linus ought to make the next major number 11 - then those stuck on MS Windows would suddenly realise that Linux was better !

        "Now that's what I call Linux 11"

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No.....

    You can't switch before 4.20!

  11. 89724102371719531892724I9755670349743096734346773478647852349863592355648544996313855148583659264921

    Simultaneous mice?

    That'd be handy to control separate knobs on a synth VST like the Korg MS20 for instance

  12. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Evil by any name is still....

    version numbers {shiver}

    necessary in some way of course, for draft reports and the like where deadlines exist and final output condition is required but....

    but, replacing one system with another instead of honing and improving the system is appalling.

    We enter a race condition that involves new hardware and software developments being included that serve no purpose in older systems, the kernel bloats, bugs are not fixed, but cued, the existing system ceases to be improved and instead the new system version goes into the same development loop that never get to the point of being complete and fully functional without bugs.

    There is fit for purpose, when will people (Tech, Programmers and Corporates) realise that we need different purposes, cannot have one device fits all, nor do we need to run off and acquire the latest crap just because it's new. We have a purpose we need to fulfill, do it!! then leave it alone. and go on to the next purpose.

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