What’s the skinny? Linus Torvalds said in an email to the Linux kernel email list that “So I didn’t really expect this, but 5.8 looks to be one of our biggest releases of all time.” Linux kernel 5.8 has over 800,000 new lines of code and has changes to over 14,000 files which accounts for approximately 20% of the kernel files.
There have been some other very large updates such as kernel 4.9 back in 2016 but Linus chalked that one up to being “artificially big” due to the Greybus driver subsystem. He went on to say that “In 5.8, we have no sign of those kinds of issues making the release bigger – there’s just simply a lot of development in there.”
He then goes on to say “while 5.8-rc1 is “up there with the best” when it comes to both number of commits and number of new lines, it’s actually the outstanding champion when it comes to number of files changed. And again, that’s not because of some single tree-wide simple scripting thing (the kernels with lots of SPDX license line changes have a lot of files changed), but simply because of lots and lots of development work.”
Linus said despite the size of 5.8 it went pretty smooth and he doesn’t see it being a very troublesome release “knock wood.”