Linux Kernel 5.8 will be the largest in the number of changes

Introduction

Linus Torvalds introduced the first candidate for Linux 5.8 kernel releases. Apparently, it will be the largest in terms of the number of changes of all the kernels for the entire existence of the project. Branch 5.8 adopted 14206 changesets. Which affected about 20% of all files in the repository with kernel code. The size of the 5.8-rc1 patch was 61 MB. Which is approximately 35% larger than the resulting patch from release 5.7. We expect the release of the Linux 5.8 kernel in late August.

Changes

That changes affect 15234 files, 1026178 lines of code were added, 480891 lines were deleted (for comparison, 570560 lines of code were added in branch 5.7, and 297401 lines were deleted). About 37% of all changes presented in 5.8 are related to device drivers. About 16% of changes are related to updating the code specific to hardware architectures. 10% of them are connected to the network stack, 3% – to file systems, and 4% to internal kernel subsystems.

About large kernel patches

Noted that kernels with large patch sizes have been encountered before. But that changes were usually concentrated in one subsystem or were caused by the addition of a large amount of typical data. As an example, a large number of lines with register descriptions were added in the kernel 4.12 for the AMD GPU driver, and in kernel 2.6.29, a large portion of new drivers has been added to the staging section.

The Linux 5.8 kernel is notable for the fact that there are many changes in it per se (in terms of the number of commits and the number of lines of code added) and they are spread across different subsystems. Also, most changes are covered by drivers. Many of the changes concern fundamental changes and cleaning in the main subsystems, as well as the development of hardware-specific improvements. Not without automated edits related to updating information about licenses in the SPDX format. These edits are not dominant and only reflect increased activity in development.

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