Linux kernel package version

The Linux Kernel Archives

There are several main categories into which kernel releases may fall:

Prepatch Prepatch or «RC» kernels are mainline kernel pre-releases that are mostly aimed at other kernel developers and Linux enthusiasts. They must be compiled from source and usually contain new features that must be tested before they can be put into a stable release. Prepatch kernels are maintained and released by Linus Torvalds. 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 9-10 weeks. 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.

Longterm release kernels
Version Maintainer Released Projected EOL
5.15 Greg Kroah-Hartman & Sasha Levin 2021-10-31 Oct, 2023
5.10 Greg Kroah-Hartman & Sasha Levin 2020-12-13 Dec, 2026
5.4 Greg Kroah-Hartman & Sasha Levin 2019-11-24 Dec, 2025
4.19 Greg Kroah-Hartman & Sasha Levin 2018-10-22 Dec, 2024
4.14 Greg Kroah-Hartman & Sasha Levin 2017-11-12 Jan, 2024
4.9 Greg Kroah-Hartman & Sasha Levin 2016-12-11 Jan, 2023

Distribution kernels

Many Linux distributions provide their own «longterm maintenance» kernels that may or may not be based on those maintained by kernel developers. These kernel releases are not hosted at and kernel developers can provide no support for them.

It is easy to tell if you are running a distribution kernel. Unless you downloaded, compiled and installed your own version of kernel from, you are running a distribution kernel. To find out the version of your kernel, run uname -r :

If you see anything at all after the dash, you are running a distribution kernel. Please use the support channels offered by your distribution vendor to obtain kernel support.

Releases FAQ

Here are some questions we routinely receive about kernel release versions. See also the main «FAQ» section for some other topics.

When is the next mainline kernel version going to be released?

Linux kernel follows a simple release cadence:

  • after each mainline release, there is a 2-week «merge window» period during which new major features are introduced into the kernel
  • after the merge window closes, there is a is a 7-week bugfix and stabilization period with weekly «release candidate» snapshots
  • rc7 is usually the last release candidate, though occasionally there may be additional rc8+ releases if that is deemed necessary

So, to find the approximate date of the next mainline kernel release, take the date of the previous mainline release and add 9-10 weeks.

What is the next longterm release going to be?

Longterm kernels are picked based on various factors — major new features, popular commercial distribution needs, device manufacturer demand, maintainer workload and availability, etc. You can roughly estimate when the new longterm version will become available based on how much time has elapsed since the last longterm version was chosen.

Why are some longterm versions supported longer than others?

The «projected EOL» dates are not set in stone. Each new longterm kernel usually starts with only a 2-year projected EOL that can be extended further if there is enough interest from the industry at large to help support it for a longer period of time.

Does the major version number (4.x vs 5.x) mean anything?

No. The major version number is incremented when the number after the dot starts looking «too big.» There is literally no other reason.

Does the odd-even number still mean anything?

A long time ago Linux used a system where odd numbers after the first dot indicated pre-release, development kernels (e.g. 2.1, 2.3, 2.5). This scheme was abandoned after the release of kernel 2.6 and these days pre-release kernels are indicated with «-rc».

Other resources


This site is operated by the Linux Kernel Organization, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, with support from the following sponsors.


What is the latest kernel release for my version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux?

I read an interesting question on the Red Hat Learning Community forums recently. What is the latest kernel version for my version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)? In this post we’ll see how you can find out.

Some users, trying to be helpful, gave a specific version of the kernel package. Unfortunately, that might only be valid at the time of writing. A better approach would be to understand where to get that information about the latest kernel version for a given version of RHEL.

When Red Hat releases a major or minor update to RHEL, they ship it with a specific branch of the kernel version. This page in the customer portal shows the kernel version «branch» associated with a release of RHEL (e.g. RHEL7.6).

Figure 1: Listing of RHEL releases with kernel versions

That means, for example with RHEL7.6, that it shipped with the kernel version branch 3.10.0-957. From an operating system point of view, that kernel is built from source 3.10.0 available from the kernel package. The Red Hat distributed kernel package has its own versioning, in this case, 957.

Looking at the kernel packages in Figure 2, one can see that at the time of writing, the latest version of that kernel package’s branch 3.10.0-957 is 3.10.0-957.38.3, found here:

There are newer kernel versions available in other branches, such as kernel version 3.10.0-1062 (for RHEL7.7), and 4.18.0-80 (for RHEL8). They are not from the same branch and are not intended for RHEL7.6.

Do you know about Red Hat Enterprise Linux’s latest features and updates?

Getting the latest kernel for your RHEL systems

Where to download the latest kernel? The latest kernel for a specific version of RHEL should be installed within the OS, using the yum command. The full command to list the kernel package available is:

yum list kernel

The RHEL administrator, with a system that has the latest available kernel installed, should be confident that the system has updates installed that comply with their organization’s requirements. The Red Hat team makes the latest kernel version available in the RHEL repos. So it should be the question of only seeing what the latest version of the kernel package is available for that system using yum list kernel . But there are several reasons why your system’s view of the latest available kernel may be different than the one available directly from the Red Hat Customer Portal:

The system is connected to Red Hat Satellite. Red Hat Satellite allows administrators to provide specific packages to systems within their organization. This is accomplished with a «Content View.» It could be that the system subscribed to a Red Hat Satellite is registered to some «Content Views» which are not updated. As a result, the command yum list kernel is not showing the latest version of that kernel package branch locally because an update is not available from the Satellite server.

There is an add-on for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription called Extended Update Support (EUS). EUS is used by organizations that want to stay on a minor or «dot» release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for a longer period of time instead of moving to a new minor release.

As an example, an organization may choose to use RHEL 7.6 EUS so that the systems can stay on the 7.6 packages, but still get security updates for a period of up to two years instead of moving to RHEL 7.7. Maybe the repository where the latest version of the kernel is not available with the system’s subscription because the system is subscribed to an EUS repository. Here it seems that this is the case with kernel package version 3.10.0-957.35.2. This version is only available for systems that use an EUS add-on subscription:

(read the «Available from» and the «Repo label»)

Figure 2: Illustration to show the kernel 3.10.0-957.38.3.el7 if available from products in these repos label


The source of the information for knowing the latest kernel version of a given RHEL version is within RHEL.

The command yum list kernel shows what has been officially prepared and released for that version of RHEL. It is possible to see the latest version of the kernel packages for a given kernel version branch online. That might not be the latest version available for a given system depending on subscriptions, access to repositories and internal management if using Red Hat Satellite.

Additional comments

The information above is how it should be. Sometimes, at operational level it is possible to modify the kernel in order to support a specific device or not supported hardware. So it is possible to see that some RHEL users have installed a different kernel version branch on a given RHEL. Maybe that has an impact on official Red Hat support. Possibly, a better action if a newer kernel is required would be to upgrade RHEL itself.


3 Ways to Check Linux Kernel Version in Command Line

Brief: Wondering which Linux kernel version your system uses? Here are several ways to check your kernel version in the Linux terminal.

You may find yourself in a situation where you need to know the exact Linux kernel version used on your system. Thanks to the powerful Linux command line, you can easily find that out.

A quick way to check Linux kernel version: You can use the following command to get the Linux kernel version:

uname -r

There are other ways to get even more detailed information about kernels. Read the rest of the article to learn it in detail.

In this article, I’ll show you various methods for finding out your kernel version and tell you what those numbers mean. If you prefer videos, here’s a quick one:

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux tips.

How to find the Linux Kernel Version

I am using Ubuntu while writing this article. But these commands are generic and can be used on Fedora, Debian, CentOS, SUSE Linux, or any other Linux distribution.

1. Find Linux kernel using uname command

uname is the Linux command for getting system information. You can also use it to find out whether you’re using a 32-bit or 64-bit system.

Open a terminal and type in the following command:

The output will be something similar to this:

This means that you’re running Linux kernel 4.4.0-97, or in more generic terms, you are running Linux kernel version 4.4.

But what do the other digits mean here? Let me explain:

  • 4 – Kernel version
  • 4 – Major revision
  • 0 – Minor revision
  • 97 – Bug fix
  • generic – Distribution-specific string. For Ubuntu, it means I’m using the desktop version. For Ubuntu server edition, it would be ‘server’.

You can also use the uname command with the option -a. This will provide more system information if you need it.

The output of the command should look like this:

Let me explain the output and what it means:

  • Linux – Kernel name. If you run the same command on BSD or macOS, the result will be different.
  • itsfoss – Hostname.
  • 4.4.0-97-generic – Kernel release (as we saw above).
  • #120-Ubuntu SMP Tue Sep 19 17:28:18 UTC 2017 – This means that Ubuntu has compiled 4.4.0-97-generic 120 times. A timestamp for the last compilation is also there.
  • x86_64 – Machine architecture.
  • x86_64 – Processor architecture.
  • x86_64 – Operating system architecture (you can run a 32-bit OS on a 64-bit processor).
  • GNU/Linux – Operating system (and no, it won’t show the distribution name).

But I’ll save you from information overload. Let’s see some other commands to find your Linux kernel version.

2. Find Linux kernel using /proc/version file

In Linux, you can also find the kernel information in the file /proc/version. Just look at the contents of this file:

You’ll see an output similar to what you saw with uname.

You can see the kernel version 4.4.0-97-generic here.

3. Find Linux kernel version using dmesg command

dmesg is a powerful command used for writing kernel messages. It’s also very useful for getting system information.

Since dmesg provides an awful lot of information, you should normally use a command like less to read it. But since we’re here just to check the Linux kernel version, grepping on ‘Linux’ should give the desired output.

The output will have a few lines but you should be able to identify the Linux kernel version there easily.

How do you check your Linux Kernel version and other information?

Of the three ways discussed here, I use uname all the time. It’s the most convenient.

What about you? Which command do you prefer for getting Linux kernel information?

Creator of It’s FOSS. An ardent Linux user & open source promoter. Huge fan of classic detective mysteries ranging from Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes to Detective Columbo & Ellery Queen. Also a movie buff with a soft corner for film noir.


Читайте также:  Как подключить принтер canon mf4550d