April 12, is a big day for all fans of the Open Source movement, as Linus Torvalds had the pleasure of announcing the immediate availability for download of the highly anticipated Linux kernel 4.0.
Besides the new version number, Linux kernel 4.0 finally allows no-reboot patching, adds new drivers and updates existing ones, brings better support for new hardware components, and includes several other interesting features, but not as many as one might have expected.
The new Linux kernel patching infrastructure, also known as live patching, is a feature that lets users update the kernel packages without having to reboot the system. It is already integrated with the SUSE Enterprise Linux operating system.
"Feature-wise, 4.0 doesn't have all that much special," says Linus Torvalds. "Much have 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".
According to Mr. Torvalds, Linux kernel 4.0 is not a major release, except for the big version change and live patching, and the upcoming Linux 4.1 kernel will be a "bigger release" with more attractive features.
Linus Torvalds also mentioned the fact that he is much happier with time-based releases than feature-based ones. Anyway, Linux kernel 4.0 is a very stable release that does not include experimental features.