Linux 5.8 launched: Linus Torvalds’s ‘biggest release of all time’

Linux 5.8 has finally been released, previously described by Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds as “one of our biggest releases of all time”.

Linus Torvalds seems delighted with the first release candidate (rc1) of the Linux kernel version 5.8, which contains 800,000 new lines of code and over 14,000 changed files, representing about a 20% overhaul of the kernel’s files!

Mr. Torvalds says “So I didn’t really expect this, but 5.8 looks to be one of our biggest releases of all time. As of -rc1, it’s right up there with v4.9, which has long been our biggest release by quite a bit in number of commits. Yes, 5.8-rc1 has a couple fewer commits than 4.9-rc1 did, but in many ways it’s a much more comprehensive release despite that…5.8 is up there with the best, despite not really having any single thing that stands out. Yes, there’s a couple of big driver changes (habanalabs and atomisp) that are certainly part of it, but it’s not nearly as one-sided as some of the other historical big releases have been. The development is really all over the place: there’s tons of fairly fundamental core work and cleanups, but there is also lots of filesystem work and obviously all the usual driver updates too. Plus documentation and architecture work.”

“So in the 5.8 merge window we have modified about 20% of all the files in the kernel source repository. That’s really a fairly big percentage, and while some of it is scripted, on the whole it’s really just the same pattern: 5.8 has simply seen a lot of development. IOW, 5.8 looks big. Really big. In pure numbers: over 14k non-merge commits (over 15k counting merges), ~800k new lines, and over 14 thousand files changed.”

Linus Torvalds