Linux kernel developers have addressed the Retbleed speculative execution bug in older Intel and AMD silicon, but the fix wasn’t straightforward, so emperor penguin Linus Torvalds has delayed delivery of the next version by a week.
“When we’ve had one of those embargoed [hardware] issues pending, the patches didn’t get the open development, and then as a result missed all the usual sanity checking by all the automation build and test infrastructure we have,” Torvalds wrote in a post announcing the delivery of release candidate seven for version 5.19 of the kernel.
“So no surprise – there’s been various small fixup patches afterwards too for some corner cases.”
Retbleed is not the only reason for the delay.
“Last week there were two other development trees that independently also asked for an extension, so 5.19 will be one of those releases that have an additional rc8 next weekend before the final release,” Torvalds wrote.
“When it rains it pours,” he added. “Not that things really look all that bad. I think we’ve got the Retbleed fallout all handled (knock wood).”
The two other trees that needed more time concern the btrfs filesystem as well as firmware for controllers for Intel GPUs that apparently sometimes unintentionally disabled graphics boosters on some shiny new Intel Alder Lake silicon. Torvalds reported both issues appear to be under control, “So it’s not like we have any huge issues, but an extra week is most definitely called for.”
Which is a shame, because last week Torvalds expressed his hope that release candidate seven would be the last for this version – in line with his preference for seven release candidates.
Nothing in Torvalds’s post suggests further delays can be expected, so a new kernel should debut next week. Next will come version 5.20, which on recent form could be chosen as a Long Term Support release. ®