Linux kernel

Operating system kernel / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Linux kernel is a free and open-source,[12]:4 monolithic, modular, multitasking, Unix-like operating system kernel. It was originally written in 1991 by Linus Torvalds for his i386-based PC, and it was soon adopted as the kernel for the GNU operating system, which was written to be a free (libre) replacement for Unix.

Quick facts: Original author(s), Developer(s), Initial rel...
Linux kernel
Original author(s)Linus Torvalds
Developer(s)Community contributors
Linus Torvalds
Initial release0.02 (5 October 1991; 32 years ago (1991-10-05))
Stable release
6.6.3[2] Edit this on Wikidata / 28 November 2023
Preview release
6.7-rc3[3] Edit this on Wikidata / 26 November 2023
Written inC (C11 since 5.18, C89 before),[4]
Rust (since 6.1),[5]
assembly language
Available inEnglish
LicenseGPL-2.0-only with Linux-syscall-note[6][7][8][lower-alpha 1]

Linux is provided under the GNU General Public License version 2 only, but it contains files under other compatible licenses.[11] Since the late 1990s, it has been included as part of a large number of operating system distributions, many of which are commonly also called Linux.

Linux is deployed on a wide variety of computing systems, such as embedded devices, mobile devices (including its use in the Android operating system), personal computers, servers, mainframes, and supercomputers.[13] It can be tailored for specific architectures and for several usage scenarios using a family of simple commands (that is, without the need of manually editing its source code before compilation);[14][15][16] privileged users can also fine-tune kernel parameters at runtime.[17][18][19] Most of the Linux kernel code is written using the GNU extensions of GCC[12]:18[20] to the standard C programming language and with the use of architecture-specific instructions (ISA) in limited parts of the kernel. This produces a highly optimized executable (vmlinux) with respect to utilization of memory space and task execution times.[12]:379–380

Day-to-day development discussions take place on the Linux kernel mailing list (LKML). Changes are tracked using the version control system git, which was originally authored by Torvalds as a free software replacement for BitKeeper.

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