Linux 5.15 just arrived – and here’s what’s inside

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Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds has announced Linux 5.15, a version of the kernel that includes Paragon’s driver for Microsoft’s New Technology File System (NTFS).

NTFS support in the kernel allows Linux users to attach external NTFS drives or boot Windows PCs into Linux for troubleshooting.

Linux 5.15 also addressed the introduction of -Werror — a move endorsed by Torvalds to force developers to fix bugs earlier. It was intended to be a new default behavior for kernel builds that treated all compiler and configuration “warnings” as “errors” that must be fixed. -Werror however was met with opposition from kernel developers and led to Torvalds partially backtracking on the effort.

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Despite these minor early dramas, Torvalds felt Linux 5.15 was sufficient to proceed without another release candidate (RC) after RC4 of 5.15 was released in early October.

“It’s been calm, and I have no excuse to add an extra rc, so here we are, with v5.15 pushed out, and the merge window starting tomorrow,” wrote Torvalds in his customary Sunday update to the Linux Kernel developers mailing list.

“This release may have started out with some -Werror pain, but it calmed down fairly quickly and on the whole 5.15 was fair small and calm. Let’s hope for more of the same – without Werror issues this time – for the upcoming merge window.”

He says the last week of development for 5.15 mainly concerned networking and graphics processing unit (GPU) fixes, as well as “a few btrfs reverts”, referring to the file system, updates to the KVM hypervisor, and a “few architecture fixes, couple of tracing, small driver fixes etc.”

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Linux 5.15 is an LTS or “longterm maintenance” release with a projected end of life (EOL) in October 2023. It could, however, be supported for a longer period if it’s widely adopted.

Prior to 5.15, Linux 5.10 was released in December 2020 and has a scheduled EOL of December 2026, while Linux 5.14 from November 2019 will reach EOL around December 2025.

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