While we spent Sunday watching the Patriots beat up on the Bills, Linus Torvalds was busy putting the final touches on the Linux 3.6 kernel, which he released in final form to the public yesterday afternoon. He had previously contemplated building one more Release Candidate, which would have been the eighth, but after a week since announcing an rc8 build might be in the works, Torvalds said he couldn’t find a major reason to do another RC.
“So here it is, 3.6 final. Sure, I’d have been happier with even fewer changes, but that just never happens. And holding off the release until people get too bored to send me the small stuff just makes the next merge window more painful,” Torvalds explained on a message board. “The changes that got merged this week were generally pretty tiny, but more importantly, they tend to be small or very unlikely/special things. Famous last words.”
Perhaps Torvalds is being a bit modest. Linux 3.6 introduces a big new feature for both desktops and notebooks: hybrid sleep. This is something that’s been supported for a long time in Windows and Mac OS X, and now it’s finally available in Linux.
Also introduced to Linux 3.6 is a new (and still experimental) Btrfs file system, which supports quotas for subvolumes, improved networking capabilities, additional processor support, and a host of other changes.