Linux Kernel 5.10 is Almost Ready for Release

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The creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds, remains assured that Linux kernel 5.10 will be ready for its December release.

For a while, Linus Torvalds was concerned about the size of changes for the Linux 5.10 release. However, upon release of the rc6 candidate, that worry has subsided. To this point, Torvalds said, “...at least this week isn’t unusually bigger than normal - it’s a pretty normal rc6 stat-wise.  So unless we have some big surprising left-overs coming up, I think we’re in good shape."

Torvalds continued to say, “That vidtv driver shows up very clearly in the patch stats too, but other than that it all looks very normal: mostly driver updates (even ignoring the vidtv ones), with the usual smattering of small fixes elsewhere - architecture code, networking, some filesystem stuff."

As far as what’s to be expected in the kernel, there are two issues that have been around for some time which are finally being either given the boot or improved. 

The first is the removal of the set_fs() feature, which checks whether a copy of the user space actually goes to either the user space or to the kernel. Back in 2010 it was discovered that this feature could be used to overwrite and give permission to arbitrary kernel memory allocations. The bug was fixed, but the feature remained. Since then, however, manufacturers improved the management of memory such that on most architecture memory space overloads have been banned.

Another improvement is the continued work to address the 2038 issue (a bug that has been known for some time regarding time encoding). On POSIX systems, time is calculated based on seconds elapsed since January 1, 1970. As more time passes, the number to represent a date increases. By the year 2038 it is believed 32-bit systems will no longer function. As of the 5.6 release, those systems could pass the year 2038. The 5.10 release improves on that reliability. 

The new kernel will also see file system and storage optimizations, support for even more hardware, and should be released mid-December, 2020.

For more information on the release, check out this message from Linus himself.

11/30/2020
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