According to a recent Google+ post, Linus Torvalds has teased us with the release of Linux kernel 5.0, which should happen when the project reaches 6 million Git objects.
It appears that major kernel milestones, such as Linux 3.0 or Linux 4.0, were released when the Git object count was around two and four million marks respectively. As of October 8, 2016, the current Gib object count crossed the 5 million mark, which means that after one more million Git objects, the Linux 5.0 kernel should be released.
"Today we're half-way between Linux 4.0 and 5.0," says Linus Torvalds. "Put another way: v3.0 was released when the kernel git object database grew to two million objects, and v4.0 was released when we crossed over the 4M mark. So naturally, if you're into numerology, that unequivocally proves v5.0 will be when we reach 6M objects."
As you might know, Linux kernel 4.8 was announced on October 2, 2016, and it already received its first point release, Linux kernel 4.8.1, which means that the development cycle of Linux kernel 4.9, which could be the next LTS branch, begun. Next week, October 16, the first Release Candidate should be out.
"Development of Linux kernel 5.0 could start in December 2016"
If Linux kernel 4.9 is a normal release, with seven RC builds, it should be officially launched on December 4. If not, or any unexpected delays occur, it could be out in mid-December, opening the merge window for Linux kernel 5.0, which might get a first Release Candidate just before Christmas 2016.
Again, if the development cycle of Linux kernel 5.0 consists of seven RCs, and the second Release Candidate hits the streets on January 8, immediately after the Winter holidays, the final release could land in mid-February 2017. Anyway, sometime in February we should see the official release of Linux kernel 5.0. That, of course, if the 6 million Git objects make is hit.