LINUX IS already past the point when, in theory, Skynet should have created a T-800 Terminator to save John Connor, and Linux puppetmaster Linus Torvalds has released the first release candidate for kernel version 4.4.
"Just looking at the patch itself, things look fairly normal at a high level, possibly a bit more driver-heavy than usual with about 75 percent of the patch being drivers, and 10 percent being architecture updates," said Torvalds in a release statement.
"The remaining 15 percent is documentation, filesystem, core networking (as opposed to network drivers), tooling and some core infrastructure."
He also explained that driver changes for staging, networking and GPU drivers account for 40 percent of the entire kernel patch.
Around half of the content is aimed at ARM-based architecture, while x86 and others make up the other half.
The change list is, as ever, phenomenal in size, but includes a number of improvements for IoT support for ARM processors and updates for DRM.
As ever with Linux kernels, there's a long cycle of merges and commits before these release candidates become final, and there are likely to be up to 10 release candidates before the real deal is released sometime next year.
Linux is a time-based, rather than feature-based, development cycle, so drivers and support in the final edition rest entirely on satisfactory completion before each window is closed. As such, what will appear in the final kernel is a mystery until the last minute.
Meanwhile, the individual distros of Linux have to incorporate new kernels into their software, so we're unlikely to see any 4.4-enabled software until the back half of next year.
Right now, we're just beginning to see releases with Linux 4.3 onboard trickle out. The sight of 4.4rc1 should be an encouraging sign that Linux continues to expand, and gives some insight into the development cycle of the world's biggest open source project. µ
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