What happened with Linux in 2018

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.


Linux gaming

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.

Steam logo


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:


Linux 4.21

Development on Linux 4.21 has already begun and includes several interesting features:


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.

Linus Torvalds flipped Nvidia the bird


Distrowatch top 10 Linux distributions of 2018

Distrowatch’s statistics reported that the following Linux distributions were the most popular in 2018.

  1. Manjaro
  2. Mint
  3. elementary
  4. MX Linux
  5. Ubuntu
  6. Debian
  7. Solus
  8. Fedora
  9. openSUSE
  10. Zorin

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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.

Torvalds said in November that he expects Linux 5.0 to happen in 2019, but has downplayed the significance of the advancement of the major version number.

“But v5.0 will happen some day. And it should be meaningless. You have been warned,” he said in April.

Linus Torvalds Header


Now read: What Linux does better than Windows

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What happened with Linux in 2018