The eighth and probably the last RC (Release Candidate) of the upcoming Linux 4.15 kernel series has been announced by Linus Torvalds over the weekend and it’s now ready for public testing.

Coming a week after the seventh RC, Linux kernel 4.15 Release Candidate 8 is here with more patches against the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities publicly disclosed earlier this month. Most specifically, it brings x86 “retpoline” support, a solution developed by Google and other security researchers to not allow speculation on the CPU.

Besides retpoline support, Linux kernel 4.15 RC8 isn’t a major patch, as it only includes various smaller updates to the RISC-V and PowerPC (PPC) hardware architectures, updated GPU, USB, NVMe, networking, and sound drivers, core networking improvements, some tooling updates like the new x86 selftests, as well as minor crypto, AppArmor, and documentation changes.

“Ok, another week has gone by, and here’s the promised RC8. I’m still hoping that this will be the last RC, despite all the Meltdown and Spectre hoopla. But we will just have to see, it obviously requires this upcoming week to not come with any huge surprises,” Linus Torvalds said in the mailing list announcement. “Go forth and test. It all looks pretty solid to me.”

Linux kernel 4.15 could be released on January 21, 2018

This should be the last Release Candidate of the upcoming Linux 4.15 kernel, as we don’t recall any previous kernel series to have had more than eight RCs during their development cycles. Linus Torvalds is now hopeful for a January 21 release of Linux kernel 4.15, which will be the first kernel branch fully patched against Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities for the x86 architecture.

“Ok, another week has gone by, and here’s the promised RC8. I’m still hoping that this will be the last RC, despite all the Meltdown and Spectre hoopla. But we will just have to see, it obviously requires this upcoming week to not come with any huge surprises,” Linus Torvalds said in the mailing list announcement. “Go forth and test. It all looks pretty solid to me.”

Until then, you are invited by Linus Torvalds to go out and test this eighth Release Candidate of the Linux 4.15 kernel series, which you can download right now from kernel.org, and report any issues you might encounter. However, please keep in mind not to replace your stable kernel with this pre-release version, nor deploy it in a production environment.

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