“3.0 pushed out,” says the post on Linus Torvalds’ Google+ page (and nothing else).
A thread at lkml.org said slightly more, but mainly about how little there was to say. "So what are the big changes?" Torvalds wrote. "NOTHING. Absolutely nothing...no ABI changes, no API changes, no magical new features - just steady plodding progress.”
Actually, there is plenty of good news for those who are looking for things like improved handling of the much-improved Linux filesystem Btrfs or the JIT (Just-in-time) compiler. But prepare to be disappointed if you’re among those looking for the kind of sweeping generational changes that typically characterize a whole-number update.
"I decided to just bite the bullet, and call the next version 3.0," Torvalds admitted. "It will get released close enough to the 20-year mark, which is excuse enough for me, although honestly, the real reason is just that I can no longe rcomfortably [sic] count as high as 40."
"As already mentioned several times, there are no special landmark features or incompatibilities related to the version number change," wrote Torvalds. "It's simply a way to drop an inconvenient numbering system in honor of twenty years of Linux."
On August 25, 1991, Torvalds (then a Finnish student) created the missing piece to a project begun almost a decade before. With a simple “Hello everybody out there” BBS message, Torvalds announced the completion of a kernel which (somewhat unintentionally) rounded out the GNU project begun by Richard Stallman in 1983.
The open-source project took on a life of its own, truly becoming the collaborative project of an entire world of programmers -- usually unpaid, usually in their spare time. Along the way, companies, foundations, support groups and other organizations sprang up around Linux (or, as some precise types will stress, GNU/Linux or GNU+Linux). Some of these are doing something special to celebrate two decades of Linux, especially the Linux Foundation (from timelines and videos to the Bootlegger’s Ball at the LinuxCon in Vancouver next month).
Interestingly, even sometime enemies are joining the party. Mircosoft, for instance -- who spent much of the 1990s and early 2000s (allegedly?) undermining and sabotaging the development of a free and open-source rival, whose current CEO called the OS a “cancer” -- yes, that Microsoft, has renewed its ‘we won’t sue!’ interoperability agreement with SUSE for another four years, and sent The Linux Foundation a video birthday cake with “Microsoft vs. Linux” crossed out and “Microsoft AND Linux” pencilled in. Awww.
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