Linus Torvalds Announces First Linux Kernel 6.1 Release Candidate

Linus Torvalds has officially kicked off the development cycle of the upcoming Linux 6.1 kernel series and announced today the general availability for public testing of the first Release Candidate (RC) milestone.

The two-week merge window that opened with the release of Linux kernel 6.0 on October 2nd is now officially closed and it’s time to get an early taste of the next major release, Linux kernel 6.1.

The first Release Candidate (RC) of Linux kernel 6.1 is out now and ready for testers, early adopters, and bleeding-edge users who want to get a glimpse of what’s about to be included in the final release, which is expected in early or mid-December 2022.

The biggest new feature of Linux 6.1 would be the merge of the Rust infrastructure code. However, while this sounds very exciting for some Rust developers out there, it’s only a very basic implementation of support for the Rust programming language that can’t be used for real-world use cases at the moment.

According to Linus Torvalds, about 60% of the release are new and updated drivers for better hardware support, but you’ll also find architecture updates, filesystems, and tooling improvements, but also random changes all over for a performance boost, like with all new major kernel releases, of course.

“This isn’t actually shaping up to be a particularly large release: we “only” have 11.5k non-merge commits during this merge window, compared to 13.5k last time around. So not exactly tiny, but smaller than the last few releases. At least in number of commits,” said Linus Torvalds.

As mentioned before, the final release of Linux kernel 6.1 should be out in December, either on December 4th or December 11th, which depends on how many Release Candidate (RC) milestones will be announced until then.

Another thing to mention here is the fact that since this will be the last major Linux kernel release of the year, it should also be the next LTS (Long-Term Support) series, according to renowned kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman.

Without further ado, if you want to take Linux kernel 6.1 for a test drive, you can download the first Release Candidate (RC1) milestone right now from the kernel.org website. But please keep in mind that this is a pre-release version so don’t install or use it on a production machine!

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