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Linux kernel

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Linux kernel
Tux the penguin, mascot of Linux[1]
Linux kernel 3.0.0 booting
DeveloperLinus Torvalds and thousands of collaborators
Written inC and assembly[2]
OS familyUnix-like
Initial release0.01 (17 September 1991; 32 years ago (1991-09-17))
Latest release6.9.6[3] Edit this on Wikidata / 21 June 2024
Available inEnglish
Kernel typeMonolithic
LicenseGPLv2 with optional binary blobs[4][5]
Official websitekernel.org
The Linux kernel is on various hardware. It is supported by a lot of free, open-source, and proprietary software

Linux is an operating system kernel used by a group of Unix-like operating systems. These are known as Linux operating systems.

The Linux kernel is released with the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) and developed by programmers worldwide.

History[change | change source]

In April 1991, Linus Torvalds, then 21 years old, started working on some simple ideas for an operating system. Then, on 25 August 1991, Torvalds posted to comp.os.minix:

I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing since April, and is starting to get ready. I'd like any feedback on things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons) among other things).[6]

After the post, many people made code for the project. By September 1991, Linux version 0.01 was released. It had 10,239 lines of code. In October 1991, Linux version 0.02 was released.[7]

The newsgroup alt.os.linux was started, and on January 19, 1992, the first post to alt.os.linux was made.[8] On March 31, 1992, alt.os.linux became comp.os.linux.[9]

The X Window System was soon moved to Linux. In March 1992, Linux version 0.95 was the first to be capable of running X. This large version number jump (from 0.1x to 0.9x) was because of a feeling that a version 1.0 with no major missing parts would be released soon.

On March 14, 1994, Linux 1.0.0 was released, with 176,250 lines of code. In March 1995, Linux 1.2.0 was released (310,950 lines of code).

Linus decided, on May 9, 1996, to adopt Tux the penguin as the mascot for Linux.

Version 2 of Linux, released on June 9, 1996, was a landmark. Strong development continued:

  • January 25, 1999 - Linux 2.2.0 was released (1,800,847 lines of code).
  • December 18, 1999 - IBM mainframe patches for 2.2.13 were published, allowing Linux to be used on enterprise-class machines.
  • January 4, 2001 - Linux 2.4.0 was released (3,377,902 lines of code).
  • December 17, 2003 - Linux 2.6.0 was released (5,929,913 lines of code).
  • April 16, 2008 - Linux 2.6.25 was released (9,232,484 lines of code).[10]
  • May 31, 2019 - Linux 5.1.6 was released.

Currently a new kernel version is released in every 2 3/4 months.[11]

Legal aspects[change | change source]

Licensing terms[change | change source]

In the start, Torvalds released Linux under a license which did not allow anyone to sell it. This was soon changed to the GNU General Public License (GPL), during version 0.12. This license allows distribution and sale of modified and unmodified versions of Linux, but requires that all those copies be released under the same license, and be accompanied by the complete corresponding source code.

Torvalds has said licensing Linux under the GPL as the "best thing I ever did".[12]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Linux Logos and Mascots". Linux Online. 2008. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
  2. The Linux Kernel Open Source Project on Open Hub: Languages Page
  3. Greg Kroah-Hartman (21 June 2024). "Linux 6.9.6". Retrieved 21 June 2024.
  4. Stallman, Richard (2002). "Linux, GNU, and freedom". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved 21 February 2007.
  5. "kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git". git.kernel.org. 16 October 2002. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2012. path: root/firmware/WHENCE
  6. Torvalds, Linus Benedict. "What would you like to see most in minix?". Newsgroupcomp.os.minix. Usenet: 1991Aug25.205708.9541@klaava.Helsinki.FI.
  7. Torvalds, Linus Benedict. "Free minix-like kernel sources for 386-AT". Newsgroupcomp.os.minix. Usenet: 1991Oct5.054106.4647@klaava.Helsinki.FI.
  8. Summers, David W (January 19, 1992). "Troubles with Partitions". Newsgroupor comp.os.minix alt.os.linux or comp.os.minix. Usenet: 1992Jan19.085628.18752@cseg01.uark.edu. Retrieved 2008-08-18. {{cite newsgroup}}: Check |newsgroup= value (help)
  9. Clegg, Alan B (March 31, 1992). "It's here!". Newsgroupcomp.os.linux. Usenet: 1992Mar31.131811.19832@rock.concert.net. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  10. "Linux Kernel Data."
  11. [1] Archived 2010-03-06 at the Wayback Machine Linux Kernel Development Process
  12. Yamagata, Hiroo (1997). "The Pragmatist of Free Software". HotWired. Archived from the original on 2007-04-14. Retrieved 2008-08-18.


Other websites[change | change source]