Kernel Linux updating

Alexandru Juncu alexj at
Fri Jun 28 04:51:39 EDT 2013

On 28 June 2013 11:37, Mylene Josserand <Mylene.Josserand at> wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I would like to know how the Linux Kernel are updated.
> I know that there is the long term kernels, the last stables and the
> mainline.
> First, what is the real difference between stable and longterm ?
> I see in the Linux Kernel website that the date of the long term (and
> the revision number) is changing so I was thinking that there are some
> updates on it, right ?
> For example, when an important bug has been fixed, is it fixed in the
> new release kernel only ? Or is it applied on old kernels ? Only the
> long term ? All ?
> So if I am using the long term 3.4.49 for example (and the current is
> 3.4.51), I can just update the 3.4.49 to get the important bugs fix that
> have been fixed in the new release (so 3.9.8 right now ?).
> And if you have some documentation about it, it would be nice !
> Thank you in advance !

Hello! [0] is your friend. There is a page explaining the release types [1].

In short, Malnline is the newest but somewhat unstable. It's where
everything is tested with new features. It compiles, but it not real
world tested.
When a version is battle tested and does good without doing bad in the
real world, it's called stable.

The long term versions are ones that are considered milestones. Those
kernels could be used in production for many years because they will
be patched with security updates, but nothing major will change in
their architecture, so the administrator won't have to worry that if
he applies a patch it will break the production server.

Hopefully I'm not offending anyone with this comparison, but think
about it as the Ubuntu versions, if you are familiar with them. You
have a new release every 6 months, that has new features, That's
stable. Like 13.04. But once every two years they have a long term
support version (like 10.04, 12.04, 14.04) that you can rely on for
many years. They will be patched for vulnerabilities (ex. 12.04.1
probably has secutiy patches like 12.10, but won't have it's new

So now it's a matter of what you want? Do you want to use it in
production? Maybe you would want a tong term version.  Want to use it
for your own use? Probably you want the stable. Want to develop new
features? You might go for the mainline.

Hope it helps.


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