Linux 5.12 "Frozen Wasteland" rc1 Is Released

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Linux Torvalds managed to release Linux 5.12 rc1 on schedule even though he was without power for six days during the critical merge-window. The Linux kernels Makefile was appropriately updated with a new kernel release NAME = Frozen Wasteland.

written by 윤채경 (Yoon Chae-kyung)  2021-03-01 - last edited 2021-03-01. © CC BY

The Makefile for Linux 5.12-rc1.

The Linux kernel was named NAME = Kleptomaniac Octopus from Linux 5.4 to 5.9 - over a year - before 5.11 was released as NAME = 💕 Valentine's Day Edition 💕. It appears that someone has reminded Linus Torvalds that there's a NAME entry in the kernels Makefile.

Linus named Linux 5.12 NAME = Frozen Wasteland with the release of 5.12-rc1. The name is somewhat appropriate since Linus was without electricity for a full six days during the release-cycle due to a snowstorm in Portland.

A new memory safety detector called KFence are among the highlights in Linux 5.12. It is otherwise a unusually small kernel in terms of commits and changes.

Linus Torvalds had this to say about it in the rc1 release-announcement:

"So two weeks have passed since the 5.11 release, and so - like clockwork - the merge window for 5.12 has closed, and 5.12-rc1 is out there for your perusal.

That said, we have now have two unusual merge windows in a row: first we had the holiday season, and this time around the Portland area had over a quarter million people without electricity because we had a winter ice storm that took down thousands of trees, and lots of electricity lines.

So I was actually without electricity for six days of the merge window, and was seriously considering just extending the merge window to get everything done.

As you can tell, I didn't do that. To a large part because people were actually very good about sending in their pull requests, so by the time I finally got power back, everything was nicely lined up and I got things merged up ok.

But partly this is also because 5.12 is a smaller release than some previous ones - and that wasn't due to the lack of electricity, that showed independently in the statistics in the linux-next tree. Of course, "smaller" is all relative, but instead of the 12-13+k commits we've had the last few releases, linux-next this time only had 10+k commits lined up. So that helped things a bit.

That said, if my delayed merging caused issues for anybody, please holler and explain to me, and I'll be flexible during the rc2 week. But that's _not_ a blanket "I'll take late pulls", that's very much a "if my delayed merge caused problems for some tree, explain why, and I'll work with you".

Anyway, on to the actual changes. Even if it was a slightly smaller merge window than previous ones, it's still big enough that appended is just my usual merge log, not the full list of the 10982 non-merge commits by 1500+ people. So it's more of a flavor of the kinds of things that have happened rather than a deep dive.

The one thing that perhaps stands out is that this release actually did a fair amount of historical cleanup. Yes, overall we still have more new lines than we have removed lines, but we did have some spring cleaning, removing the legacy OPROFILE support (the user tools have been using the "perf" interface for years), and removing several legacy SoC platforms and various drivers that no longer make any sense.

So even if we more than made up for that with all the _new_ drivers and code we added, that kind of cleanup is always nice to see.


Linus Torvalds on the LKML March 1st, 2021

Linux 5.12-rc1 can, as usual, be acquired from

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