With the release of Linux kernel 2.6.9-rc1, Linus Torvalds further refined the new kernel development model [story] first proposed at the 2004 kernel summit [story]. The earlier 2.6.8 kernel was quickly followed by 188.8.131.52 [story] to address an oops in NFS. With today's 2.6.9-rc1 Linus explained, "administrative trivia, and one thing I agonized over: should I make the patches relative to 2.6.8 or 184.108.40.206? I decided that since there is nothing that says that 'basic bug-fix' releases for a previous release might not happen _after_ we've done a -rc release for the next version, I can't sanely do patches against a bugfix release."
With Linus having returned from a week-long vacation, he noted that there were "tons of patches merged", specially thanking Andrew Morton [interview] "who synced up 200+ patches". Regarding the specific changes in this release candidate, Linus said they are "all over: arm, ppc, sparc, acpi, i2c, usb, fbcon, ntfs, xfs, nfs, cpufreq, agp, sata, network drivers - you name it. Most of the changes are fairly small, but there's a lot of them."
Linus Torvalds released the official 2.6.8 kernel noting, "the major patches since -rc4 [story] were some sparc64 and parsic updates, but there's some network driver and SATA updates and a few ARM patches too. And a use-after-free fix in MTD." The latest Linux kernel can always be obtained from a kernel.org mirror.
Shortly after the release, an easily reproducible Oops was reported from accessing a mounted NFS filesystem. Linus acknowledged the bug, and decided to release a quick 220.127.116.11, "to make it usable for people with NFS." When asked why it was named this instead of 2.6.9 using the long-standing three-digit kernel versioning, Linus explained:
"Well, we've been discussing the 2.6.x.y format for a while [story], so I see this as an opportunity to actually do it... Will it break automated scripts? Maybe. But on the other hand, we'll never even find out unless we try it some time."