December 15 2023

The exorcism of Linux Kernel 6.6.6 via the angelic immediate update to Kernel 6.6.7

The 6.6.6 kernel version number sparked the excitement of many black-clad open source enthusiasts, but it didn't last long. It has already been replaced by a friendlier 6.6.7.

666 Linux Kernel

At the end of October, Linux version 6.6 came out, and just over a couple of weeks later, it became the latest supported long-term release. This isn't always the case, but in recent years it has been common for the last full release of the year to be declared a stable release that will receive updates for several years. This also means that August kernel 6.5, released on the project's 32nd anniversary, has now reached the end of its life. After 13 minor releases, it will no longer receive updates.

Stable kernel supremo Greg Kroah-Hartman released version 6.6.5 last Friday, with over 100 changes. One of these was the same problematic back-port that also affected kernel 6.1.66, as we reported earlier this week. A change in Wi-Fi handling was dependent on a previous change not included in the 6.1.66 kernel and led to the very quick release of 6.1.67, with the wireless-breaking change removed again.

The same issue hit the 6.6.5 release, and just like in older stable kernel series, the change was removed again the following business day. Monday (December 11) saw the release of Satanic Meaningful Kernel 6.6.6, which only rolled back that single change from the previous version. This made some Reddit users very happy, although Hacker News commenters were less enthusiastic. The omens were there, visible as early as October when 6.6 appeared.

Kernel-666-Reddit

But now comes the bad news for all the dark-spirited kids: the Mark of the Beast kernel didn't last long at all. On Wednesday (December 13), it was superseded by kernel 6.6.7. This is a much larger release, with 268 modified files, and a large changelog, which by our calculations numbers 7,562 lines.

After all, in a universe where penguins are the rulers and system demons are exorcised with a simple update, there's never a dull moment.

Meanwhile, the rest of us anxiously await the next update, wondering whether it will bring with it mysterious new numbers or whether, just for fun, it will give us a 6.9.42 kernel – 'The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything' . In the world of Linux, the only constant is the unexpected, and sometimes, a little dark humor to break up the monotony of programming and systems engineering.

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