Hopefully not shooting for parity with Windows, the Linux team followed the weekend release of version 5.10 of the kernel with… an update barely a day later.
“Nothing makes me go ‘we need another week’,” said Linux supremo Linus Torvalds of Sunday’s emission.
However, perhaps a few more days might have been handy as kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman saw fit to push out a point release for 5.10 LTS in order to deal with storage bugs sufficiently serious to merit immediate action.
There are just the two changes in the release, both reverting earlier changes. One of those was a “fix” for discard limits for RAID1 and RAID10, while the other was a change of the
chunk_sectors variable from int to unsigned.
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The changes appeared to have caused issues with the mounting of RAID devices (RAID6 at least) judging by mailing list comments, with Kroah-Hartman noting “It causes problems :(” in the release notes against both reverts.
More worryingly, things were apparently fine in rc7, the last release before Torvalds unleashed 5.10 upon a waiting world. Fortunately, developers keen to have a crack at the final release spotted the problems and the fix was done. Bugs around storage tend to make people a little jittery; just ask Microsoft about that document-destroying Windows 10 October 2018 Update.
As with any major operating system release, the lesson remains the same: give it a few point releases before installation unless you’re prepared for a potentially hurried rollback.
The last LTS release of the Linux kernel, 5.4 – released in November 2019 – saw just a few days between initial release and the first update on 25 November. The latest has cut this down to barely a day. One can but hope the time will not be measured in hours next time around. ®