Linux 4.0 and elementary Freya quietly released

With a minimum of fuss over the weekend, the Linux kernel has moved onto its 4.x series, while elementary has had its first major stable release since mid-2013.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Linus Torvalds ushered the first release of the Linux kernel bearing the 4.x moniker out the proverbial door on Sunday night.

Despite the major release number being bumped to 4, Torvalds said the release was a pretty small one, in Linux kernel terms.

"It's still over 10K non-merge commits. But we've definitely had bigger releases (and judging by linux-next v4.1 is going to be one of the bigger ones)," Torvalds wrote.

"I'm personally so much happier with time-based releases than the bad old days, when we had feature-based releases."

One of the features that users have been waiting for with Linux 4.0 is the return of kernel patching to Linux -- a feature that allows the kernel to be updated without the need to reboot the computer.

"Much have [sic] been made of the new kernel patching infrastructure, but realistically, that not only wasn't the reason for the version number change, we've had much bigger changes in other versions," Torvalds said. "So this is very much a 'solid code progress' release."

The source for the new kernel can be downloaded from kernel.org, or users can wait for distributions to package it for them.

The initial 4.0 release of Linux is dubbed "Hurr durr I'ma sheep", after winning a naming poll that Torvalds said he didn't want anyone to vote in.

"5,796 votes from people who can't even follow the most basic directions?" he said. "But hey, I asked, so I'll honor the votes."

Also appearing over the weekend was the Freya release of the elementary operating system, which supersedes its August 2013 Luna release.

"With Luna, much of our work was building the first version of our desktop environment Pantheon," said Cassidy James Blaede, UX designer at elementary. "With Freya, we were able to dial in on the details ... [and] focus much more effort on the included apps, delivering new features for existing apps and new apps alike."

The self-described "design-oriented" elementary OS is based on Ubuntu, makes use of its own Pantheon desktop shell, and has been downloaded more than 3 million times.

Freya was originally intended to be called Isis, until the name was changed in June last year.

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