Linus Torvalds has announced the immediate availability of the sixth Release Candidate in the 3.14 branch of the kernel, and the development cycle seems to get a little closer to the end.
So far, previous development cycles for the Linux kernel usually arrived after seven or eight Release Candidates, and sometimes even more. If everything goes well, we might see the release of a final version in the new 3.14 branch very soon.
It's been quite a while since RC5 was released, but the time was well spent. Even if Linus Torvalds is not exactly happy with the outcome of the new development version, he did hint that the end might be in sight.
“We're getting closer to the end of the rc cycle, and I have to admit that I would have wished for a less bumpy ride. There haven't been any huge problems, but there's been quite a few small bumps that shouldn't happen this late in the release cycle. And rc6 is noticeably bigger than rc5 was, as well. So I'm really hoping that the upcoming week will be calmer, because otherwise I'll start thing rc8 and even rc9,” said Linus Torvalds in the announcement from the mailing list.
Linux kernel 3.14 is important for many reasons, but two of them really stand out. One is actually about the features that will accompany the release of this branch. Just to name a few: better Intel Broadwell graphics support, various Radeon improvements, Nouveau improvements (support for new GPUs from NVIDIA), quite a few Btrfs changes, and even NVIDIA Tegra PRIME support.
The second reason why Linux kernel 3.14 can be considered important is because of something very interesting Linus Torvalds said a while back. The kernel development is moving very fast and we are getting close to the realization of Linus Torvalds' plan to release an ultra-stable Linux kernel 4.0, probably after the 3.19 branch.
If everything goes well, and if the new kernel branches don't extend with many Release Candidates, we might get to see the new 4.0 kernel by autumn, or even sooner.
Canonical is also waiting for the release of Linux kernel 3.14. This tight schedule announced for it works in the favor of Ubuntu developers who are eager to get their hands on a stable 3.14 version.
Remember that this is a beta version and it should NOT be installed on production machines. It is intended for testing purposes only.