Linux continued to dominate the realms of servers and smartphones in 2018, and the pace of development of distributions and the Linux kernel remained relentless.
Kernel developers had their hands full this year, having to deal with the disclosure of significant vulnerabilities in the CPUs used by almost every desktop computer and web server in the world – Spectre and Meltdown.
The year also saw significant changes within the community when the creator of the Linux kernel Linus Torvalds apologised for his past behaviour and advocated for a new contributor code of conduct.
Below is the significant Linux news from the past year.
Valve released an update to its platform which included software that allows games built for Windows to run on Linux.
The tool that enables this compatibility is called Proton.
According to ProtonDB, by the end of December 2018 over 3,387 Windows games on Steam worked on Linux thanks to Proton.
Linux kernel releases
Torvalds released version 4.20 of the Linux kernel on 23 December, rounding out the year on a high note.
The following Linux kernel versions were released in 2018:
Development on Linux 4.21 has already begun and includes several interesting features:
- FreeSync support and other Direct Rendering Manager updates.
- Fixes for the EXT4 file system, including issues with NFS support.
- Intel laptop driver updates.
- More work to address the “Y2038” Unix time problem is being integrated.
Torvalds apologised for his behaviour
Torvalds apologised for years of bad behaviour, including his attacks on other developers.
He announced that he would be taking a break to get help on how to foster a more professional environment and understand people’s emotions. Torvalds returned to working on the kernel a month later.
Along with his apology and notice that he would be taking a short break, Torvalds announced that a new code of conduct had been added to the kernel.
Distrowatch top 10 Linux distributions of 2018
Distrowatch’s statistics reported that the following Linux distributions were the most popular in 2018.
- MX Linux
What to expect in 2019
In the coming year, the releases of Debian 10 (Buster), Ubuntu 19.04 and 19.10, and Fedora 30 are expected.
“But v5.0 will happen some day. And it should be meaningless. You have been warned,” he said in April.