Last week it looked like we were, finally, going to get a version bump from 2.6 to 2.8. Instead, Linus Torvalds has bitten the bullet and tagged the first release candidate of the next kernel to 3.0.

That’s right — it looks like the next kernel release is going to go all the way to 11, er, 3.0. If you missed the discussion last week, this isn’t because the kernel is gaining massive new functionality (as it did from the 1.x to 2.0.x series), but because “it will get released close enough to the 20-year mark, which is excuse enough for me.” Sounds like a good enough reason here, too.

To be clear, 3.0 will not be a radical change. According to Torvalds, “Sure, we have the usual two thirds driver changes, and a lot of random fixes, but the point is that 3.0 is *just* about renumbering, we are very much *not* doing a KDE-4 or a Gnome-3 here. No breakage, no special scary new features, nothing at all like that. We’ve been doing time-based releases for many years now, this is in no way about features. If you want an excuse for the renumbering, you really should look at the time-based one (“20 years”) instead.”

Want to test the new kernel, check for it in the /pub/linux/kernel/v3.0 directory, though the git tree is still linux-2.6.git for now.

If we follow the “once per decade” model, it looks like we’ll have Linux 4.0 sometime in 2020.