Linus Tovalds is now thinking about changing the numbering of the kernel pretty soon, to 4.0, to mark the launch of a bug fix release.
The Linux kernel developer and maintainer has explained that, at some point in the future, the numbering of the Linux kernel will pass from 3.x to 4.x, to keep things manageable, and that he would do it sooner rather than later.
“I don't want us to get to the kinds of crazy numbers we had in the 2.x series, so at some point we're going to cut over from 3.x to 4.x, just to keep the numbers small and easy to remember. We're not there yet, but I would actually prefer to not go into the twenties, so I can see it happening in a year or so, and we'll have 4.0 follow 3.19 or something like that,” said Linus Torvalds in the Linux kernel 3.12 announcement.
Replacing one numbering system with another just for the sake of it would accomplish nothing, so he came with an interesting idea. All the developers have to focus on bug fixing when the decision to go to 4.x is made, and make the new version a very stable one, worthy of the important prefix change.
“If we have enough heads-up that people *know* that for one release (and companies/managers know that too) the only patches that get accepted are the kind that fix bugs, maybe people really would have sufficient attention span that it could work.”
“And the reason I mention ‘4.0’ is that it would be a lovely time to do that. Roughly a years heads-up that ‘ok, after 3.19 (or whatever), we're doing a release with *just* fixes, and then that becomes 4.0’,” said Linus Torvalds.
Bringing a new, extremely stable 4.0 version would be a serious push for distribution developers who would just jump at the opportunity to integrate such a release into their operating systems.