Linux kernel release convention: How a linux kernel release is named ?

In this article, we will look how a linux kernel release is named, and what is meant by the complete name of a linux kernel.

If you look into your system, we can get the linux kernel release using “-r ” with umask command.
-r, –kernel-release —> print the kernel release

[root@nglinux ~]# uname -a
Linux nglinux 2.6.32-696.el6.i686 #1 SMP Tue Mar 21 18:53:30 UTC 2017 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux
[root@nglinux ~]# uname -r
[root@nglinux ~]# 

So we have Linux kernel release 2.6.32-696.el6.i686 available on our system.

Meaning of Linux Kernel Release


KERNEL VERSION –> 2. –> The first digit is the major kernel release number. In 1994, Kernel 1.0 was released and in 1996 version 2.0 is released. And from then, we are using 2. kernel release. The number is incremented in case kernel code or concept is modified.

MAJOR REVISION –> 6. –> The second digit refers to the major revision in the kernel version. So we have 6th major revision of kernel 2.0. Even numbers like 2.2, 2.4, 2.6 represents stable kernel release, and odd numbers like 2.1, 2.3 represents development kernel release.

MINOR REVISION –> 32- –> The third digit represents the minor release of the major revision 6. Hence on my system, it is using 32 minor release of kernel 2.0 6th Major revision. Whenever new features/drivers are added this number is incremented.

BUG Fixes or Security Patches –> 696 –> The fourth or last digit represents the bug fixes or security patches added to the existing kernel release. Whenever new bug fixes or security patches are added, this number is incremented.

Release Candidate Kernel Version
Sometimes we see a kernel release with “rc-“ in its name.
It means that version is release candidate, however not officially released yet.

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