Frequently asked questions

2016-05-12

In FAQ.

If you have questions, comments or concerns about the F.A.Q. please contact us at webmaster@kernel.org.

Is Linux Kernel Free Software?

Linux kernel is released under GNU GPL version 2 and is therefore Free Software as defined by the Free Software Foundation. You may read the entire copy of the license in the COPYING file distributed with each release of the Linux kernel.

What does "stable/EOL" and "longterm" mean?

As kernels move from the "mainline" into the "stable" category, two things can happen:

  1. They can reach "End of Life" after a few bugfix revisions, which means that kernel maintainers will release no more bugfixes for this kernel version, or
  2. They can be put into "longterm" maintenance, which means that maintainers will provide bugfixes for this kernel revision for a much longer period of time.

If the kernel version you are using is marked "EOL," you should consider upgrading to the next major version as there will be no more bugfixes provided for the kernel version you are using.

Please check the Releases page for more info.

Is there an RSS feed for the latest kernel version?

Yes, and you can find it at https://www.kernel.org/feeds/kdist.xml.

We also publish a .json file with the latest release information, which you can pull from here: https://www.kernel.org/releases.json.

Why are there files that are dated tomorrow?

All timestamps on kernel.org are in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). If you live in the western hemisphere your local time lags behind UTC. Under Linux/Unix, type date -u to get the current time in UTC.

Can I get an account on kernel.org?

Kernel.org accounts are not given away very often, usually you need to be making some reasonable amount of contributions to the Linux kernel and have a good reason for wanting / needing an account. If you really feel that you should have an account please e-mail the following to helpdesk@kernel.org:

  • full name
  • desired username
  • email address where to forward your username@kernel.org mail
  • reason for requiring a kernel.org account
  • reference to kernel work you've done
  • PGP/GPG public key fingerprint (NOT your ssh key)
    • Key should be signed by as many kernel developers as you know
    • Accounts will not be issued until key carries enough signatures
    • Key and signatures must be available on public key servers

The Kernel.org admin team will then review your request and let you know the decision.

Please note that The Linux Kernel Organization, Inc. reserves the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason.

I have cool project X, can you guys mirror it for me?

Probably not. Kernel.org deals with the Linux kernel, various distributions of the kernel and larger repositories of packages. We do not mirror individual projects, software, etc as we feel there are better places providing mirrors for those kinds of repositories. If you feel that kernel.org should mirror your project, please contact ftpadmin@kernel.org with the following information:

  • name
  • project name
  • project website
  • detailed project description
  • reason for wanting us to mirror

The Kernel.org admin team will then review your request and talk to you about it. As with any kind of account on kernel.org it's up to the discretion of the admin team.

How does kernel.org provide its users access to the git trees?

We are using an access control system called gitolite, originally written and maintained by Sitaram Chamarty. We chose gitolite for a number of reasons:

  • Limiting of ssh access to the system
  • Fine grained control over repository access
  • Well maintained and supported code base
  • Responsive development
  • Broad and diverse install base

As well at the time of deployment the code had undergone an external code review.

How do I create an -rc kernel? I get "Reversed patch detected!"

-rc kernel patches are generated from the base stable release.

For example: to create the 2.6.14-rc5 kernel, you must:

  • download 2.6.13 (not 2.6.13.4)
  • and then apply the 2.6.14-rc5 patch.

Yes, you want 2.6.13, not 2.6.14. Remember, that's an -rc kernel, as in, 2.6.14 doesn't exist yet. :)

Where can I find kernel 2.4.20-3.16?

Kernel version numbers of this form are distribution kernels, meaning they are modified kernels produced by distributions. Please contact the relevant distributor; or check out https://mirrors.kernel.org/.

See the Releases page for more info on distribution kernels.

I need help building/patching/fixing Linux kernel/modules/drivers!

Please see the Kernel Newbies website.

There is also a wealth of knowledge on many topics involving Linux at The Linux Documentation Project (http://www.tldp.org)

For finding or reporting bugs, look through the archives for the various Linux mailing lists, and if no specific list seems appropriate, try the browsing the Linux Kernel Mailing List.

When will the next kernel be released?

The next kernel will be released when it is ready. There is no strict timeline for making releases, but if you really need an educated guess, visit the Linux kernel PHB Crystal Ball -- it tries to provide a ballpark guess based on previous kernel release schedule.

What will go into the next release?

It is hard to predict with certainty, but you can either take a peek at linux-next or read the Linux Weather Forecast, where Jonathan Corbet provides a broad forecast of what will likely be included into the next mainline release.

Other resources

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