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Linux refers to the family of Unix-like computer operating systems using the Linux kernel. Linux can be installed on a wide variety of computer hardware, ranging from mobile phones, tablet computers, routers, and video game consoles, to mainframes and supercomputers. Linux is a leading server operating system, and runs the 10 fastest supercomputers in the world.

The development of Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free and open source software collaboration; typically all the underlying source code can be used, freely modified, and redistributed, both commercially and non-commercially, by anyone under licenses such as the GNU General Public License. Typically Linux is packaged in a format known as a Linux distribution for desktop and server use. Some popular mainstream Linux distributions include Debian (and its derivatives such as Ubuntu), Fedora and openSUSE. Linux distributions include the Linux kernel and supporting utilities and libraries to fulfill the distribution's intended use.

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Mainline

Mainline tree is maintained by Linus Torvalds. It's the tree where all new features are introduced and where all the exciting new development happens. New mainline kernels are released every 2-3 months.

Stable

After each mainline kernel is released, it is considered "stable." Any bug fixes for a stable kernel are backported from the mainline tree and applied by a designated stable kernel maintainer. There are usually only a few bugfix kernel releases until next mainline kernel becomes available -- unless it is designated a "longterm maintenance kernel." Stable kernel updates are released on as-needed basis, usually once a week.

Longterm

There are usually several "longterm maintenance" kernel releases provided for the purposes of backporting bugfixes for older kernel trees. Only important bugfixes are applied to such kernels and they don't usually see very frequent releases, especially for older trees.

What's New:

  • sparc64: fix ptrace interaction with forcesuccessfulsyscall_return()
  • USB: fix port probing and removal in garmin_gps
  • tcp: resets are misrouted
  • usb: host: xhci: New system added for Compliance Mode Patch on SN65LVPE502CP
  • amd64_edac:__amd64_set_scrub_rate(): avoid overindexing scrubrates[]
  • pcmcia: sharpsl: don't discard sharpslpcmciaops
  • USB: option: blacklist net interface on ZTE devices
  • USB: option: add more ZTE devices
  • SUNRPC: S.et alloc_slot for backchannel tcp ops
  • USB: io_ti: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: io_ti: fix sysfs-attribute creation
  • USB: cyberjack: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: iuu_phoenix: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: iuu_phoenix: fix sysfs-attribute creation
  • USB: ark3116: fix NULL-pointer dereference
  • USB: f81232: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: oti6858: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: belkin_sa: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: pl2303: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: ssu100: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: kobil_sct: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: cypress_m8: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: cp210x: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: spcp8x5: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: tiusb3410_5052: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: kl5kusb105: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: io_edgeport: fix port-data memory leak
  • USB: keyspan_pda: fix port-data memory leak

Complete release notes can be found here.