Frequently asked questions



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

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.

Why is an LTS kernel marked as "stable" on the front page?

Long-term support ("LTS") kernels announced on the Releases page will be marked as "stable" on the front page if there are no other current stable kernel releases. This is done to avoid breaking automated parsers monitoring with an expectation that there will always be a kernel release marked as "stable."

Linus has tagged a new release, but it's not listed on the front page!

Linus Torvalds PGP-signs git repository tags for all new mainline kernel releases, however a separate set of PGP signatures needs to be generated by the stable release team in order to create downloadable tarballs. Due to timezone differences between Linus and the members of the stable team, there is usually a delay of several hours between when the new mainline release is tagged and when PGP-signed tarballs become available. The front page is updated once that process is completed.

Is there an RSS feed for the latest kernel version?

Yes, and you can find it at

We also publish a .json file with the latest release information, which you can pull from here:

Why are there files that are dated tomorrow?

All timestamps on 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 accounts are usually reserved for subsystem maintainers or high-profile developers. It is absolutely not necessary to have an account on to contribute to the development of the Linux kernel, unless you submit pull requests directly to Linus.

If you are listed in the MAINTAINERS file or have reasons to believe you should have an account on because of the amount of your contributions, please refer to the accounts wiki page for the procedure to follow.

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

Probably not. 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 should mirror your project, please contact with the following information:

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

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

How does 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
  • 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

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 (

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.

What happened to

FTP service was terminated on March 1, 2017. All content that used to be available via can be accessed by browsing If you would like to use a command-line tool for accessing these files, you can do so with lftp:


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