I guess Linus Torvalds doesn’t like to make tons of jokes. That’s why after shipping seven release candidates for Linux kernel 4.16, he decided to released the final kernel on April Fools’ Day. He might have shipped RC8 just for the heck of it, with no changes, but that’s not his style.
At the time of RC7 release, he called it a bigger release than usual. About half of the code update was networking. The final release looks a lot like RC7. There are many usual driver updates as well. “If it wasn’t for networking, it would all be very small and calm,” Torvalds said in his announcement.
Overall, Linux 4.16 has been a heavy release with improvements and fixes for various architectures, drivers, etc.
A lot of work has been done to tighten the security with the help of Spectre and Meltdown fixes and code cleanups.
On the CPU front, improvements have been made to bring support to newer features. There were RISC-V updates, KVM support for AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization, mainlined Oracle DAX driver, etc.
Work has also been done to improve the support for Cannonlake Gen 10 graphics, Jetson TX2 display, and AMDKFD improvements.
Linux 4.16’s arrival also means that the merge window for 4.17 is now open, which should be another exciting release.