Linux 3.0 could be out in July
Linus Torvalds has indicated on the kernel developer mailing list that he will probably finish merging major changes for the next Linux version derived from the main development tree on Sunday evening, in advance of a trip to Japan on Monday. He had previously suggested that this might be the case in the release email for last week's Linux kernel 2.6.39 release, with the aim of ensuring that subsystem maintainers were able to submit their changes on time before the closure of the merge window, which opens the development cycle.
Two lines in the post script to the email triggered some lively discussion – in them, Torvalds mentions that he is considering designating the next version 2.8.0, rather than 2.6.40. Ingo Molnar was quick to enquire as to whether it wouldn't be better to wait for 2.6.42 before making the leap to 3.0.0. The idea found strong backing at the last annual kernel developers summit.
Torvalds responded by confirming that he was indeed contemplating jumping to 3.0, thereby starting the "third decade" of Linux. He also noted that, if he does do so, the version number will be 3.0 and not 3.0.0, allowing the stable team to use the third, rather than fourth, place in the version number, as has been the case previously. Stable releases currently use the form 2.x.y.z where z is the stable version number.
In the course of the discussion, Torvalds also noted that the jump to 3.0 would help to make it clear that kernels with odd second digits are no longer development kernels. The 2.5 series which gave rise to 2.6.0 was the last such development kernel, and that was more than seven years ago.
In both postings, Torvalds sounds pretty convinced that moving to 3.0 is the way to go. Torvalds could, however, still allow himself to be swayed by the sometimes amusing views expressed by other kernel developers. If Torvalds does decide to make the switch and if he and his fellow kernel developers take the same sort of time to put together the kernel version currently in the pipeline as they did for the previous version, Linux 3.0 could be released as early as mid to late July.