Whenever a new Linux kernel is released, it adds tons of new code to support some new hardware. Coupled with driver changes, fixes, and networking code, each release gets bulkier by thousands of lines of code.
In case of upcoming Linux 4.17, the kernel is expected to lose some weight. This change will take place as this release will drop the support for a number of old CPU architectures (Via Phoronix).
The architectures which are losing support are:
In the kernel mailing list, Linux developer Arnd Bergmann has proposed this change. He wrote that most of the code for these CPUs remains unused and there’s no point keeping it there without any users.
Along with the removal of CPU ports, the drivers exclusive to them will also be kicked out of the kernel’s code.
From the above list, architectures like Tile, MN10300, and Blackfin are still being shipped in some products with older kernels. However, they won’t be updated to newer Linux releases.
Unicore32 and Qualcomm’s Hexagon are two more architectures that are facing the risk of losing support; they both have outdated GCC releases. However, their developers have promised to improve the situation.
As a result of this change, Linux 4.17 kernel will ship with 500,000 lesser lines of code. Currently, the kernel has 20.3 million lines of code.
You can read the whole discussion documented here on LWN.net
Also Read: Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 4.16