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The way the keepers of Linux increment the version numbers of their kernel releases, and what many of its users think these release numbers mean, are two different things. And now the Linux kernel community is trying to reconcile public perception with reality, according to a talk given by Google senior staff engineer and Linux kernel contributor Sasha Levin at the Linux Foundation Open Source Summit last week.

As more people contributed to the kernel, however, the release cycles between 2.0 and 2.6 of the kernel nearly ground to a halt.

Now, every release is a “merge window that takes two weeks followed by stabilization period, over a list of weekly release candidates for about another seven, eight weeks. And at the end, we can say that the kernel release is stable enough for customers to run,” Levin said.

Changing the major version is big and scary,” Levin said, even though in this case it was just a routine release that served to be the jumping point off of the 2.6.* series.

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