Linux creator Linus Torvalds has announced version 5.10 of the Linux kernel with a bunch of driver updates and a message to developers to hold off submitting further fixes until 2020's Covid-stricken holiday season is over.
Linux 5.10 is a big release because it's the latest kernel with long-term support (LTS), meaning it will be supported for at least two years. But often LTS versions end up with six years' support.
LTS releases are important because significant bug fixes are backported to them during the support period to ensure device developers have key security fixes long after the kernel version's initial release.
Beyond its LTS status, this release isn't particularly special. However, according to Torvalds, it does contain a "smattering" of fixes for networking, architectures, filesystems, and tooling.
"Nothing that looks scary: most of the patches are very small, and the biggest one is fixing pin mapping definitions for a pincontrol driver," he said.
"There's a fair amount of fixes in here, including a few last-minute reverts for things that didn't get fixed, but nothing makes me go, 'We need another week'."
The update comes just before the 2020 holiday season as much of the Northern Hemisphere experiences new waves of the pandemic.
Torvalds warned contributors that he's going to be little stricter about last-minute changes to kernel code for the 5.11 release because of these circumstances.
"The most notable thing about the 5.11 merge window will be obvious to anybody who takes a look at the calendar: realistically speaking, we only have one week before the holidays are upon us, and everybody is much too distracted," wrote Torvalds.
"That means that I will be particularly strict about the whole 'the merge window is for things that are ready before the merge window starts'."
The merge window for version 5.11 starts today, Monday, December 14, Torvalds said.
"Now, I'm sure you all want to go off for holidays too, and I'm actually surprised that I don't have more early pull requests pending. So I think the whole 'everything you send me should have already been done' is something we can all sign up for," he noted.
"But exactly because of the timing, I will simply not be very interested in any new late pull requests that come in the second week of the merge window: I expect to still be handling some of the backlog that week anyway, but I certainly do not want to get more of it."