Linux kernel  What is it and what is it for? + Versions ▷ 2020

Many times you have heard of the linux kernel and you really don’t know what this computing tool is for or what the difference is between the kernel and said operating system. If you want to start down the paths of this open source OS, you will have to know precisely what the kernel is.

In this article we will show you what this element is for and what information it contains within the operating system. You will also know the most important characteristics that the Linux kernel has in terms of its architecture, information language, among other qualities. In addition, you will be able to know which are all the versions that exist of the Linux kernel.

Without wasting any more time, let’s begin to develop this topic. We are sure that you will enjoy all the information we offer you throughout this post.

What is my Linux kernel and what is this item for?

What is my Linux kernel and what is this item for?

The Linux kernel is the kernel of the operating system without which no task or function could be performed. This is because it is responsible for coordinating and operating the PC software and hardware. That is, thanks to the kernel or heart of the Linux OS, the different components of a computer interact correctly.

It is used for the RAM memory to coordinate processes and programs that are executed. It is also used so that the processor has a reasonable time in the execution of the software processes and to coordinate the software and use of the peripherals.

What kind of information is in this kernel of the operating system?

Linux kernel is monolithic type, where you can find functions in kernel quality, i.e. not as user. These will serve to have access to all the data structures that are necessary, both for the software and for the hardware of the device, and thus be able to interact between different programs, or between the software and the components and peripherals. Thus, the information found in the kernel is related to these functionalities.

What are the most important features of the Linux kernel?

At this point in the postYou may have already realized that Linux is not only an operating system that can work on a desktop computer, but is also considered one of the best OS that exists for servers and computer equipment with greater complexity. In addition, it is ideal for use in software programming.

This is due, in principle, to the characteristics of the kernel, which we will mention below:


Linux kernel architecture It is designed so that the kernel meets all the functions that the OS performs, as it can be control of memories or of peripherals within yes. If you want to change some of these functions, you must compile the kernel to produce the modification, since, if there is an error it will propagate throughout the OS.

Its operability is characterized by leaving auxiliary programs in memory to load and debug according to some criteria. In this way in the folder “/ Boot” will find files used as RAM, others intended to be used as memory before the entire OS is fully loaded, and those that indicate which modules and load options have to be run at startup.

Thus, you can upload and download files or modules in the same runtime, modifying the kernel characteristics at the time. Therefore, the load modules available in the kernel are important to maintain the correct functioning of the OS with the equipment’s hardware, thus avoiding consuming all the memory. Therefore, another feature of the kernel is generated, a virtualization. It is possible that the kernel can be replaced without having to restart the computer, but we will see this next.

Virtual machine architecture

The virtual architecture simulates that the Linux kernel can execute modules as if it were a physical or real computer. In this way, the processes that are related to the resources and abstractions that are generated are restricted by this virtual structure. So the capacity of RAM, hard disk, processor and other components obtain a saving of resources when they work in this way.

Binary formats

The executable file format is used ELF (Executable and Linkable Format), with which you can simplify shared libraries. But Linux also allows the use of other binary formats that can be entered by the user.

Programming languages

Programming languages

The programming language that Linux uses is the compiler variant of the project “GNU”, general purpose, called “C”. Which contains modifications to the standard language. This does not mean that it is the only language used in Linux, since you can find others that are used in basic instructions or in the connection that is made in the construction of the kernel, such as Perl or Python.


Portability is the characteristic that allows operating systems to adapt to different applications of different destinations. According to this, Linux offers, as one of its main advantages, being a portable operating system, since it can be adapted to an almost infinite variety of computers or computer projects.

Kernel panic

This feature is aimed, in principle, at kernel developers, since the OS displays a message when it detects an error that the system has and from which it cannot be saved. That is, the “Kernel Panic” displays information to be able to debug these errors or codes. It also targets failures that can occur in resources or computer hardware when the kernel is running.


“Linux Security Module” It is a philosophy of Linux and a free and open source system. Thanks to the security modules that the kernel supports, favoritism towards the implementation of any special security system that becomes unique. That is, the kernel supports a variety of models in computer security.

What are all the available versions of the Linux kernel and what are they for?

There are different versions of the kernel in which changes are made to improve the OS, which are identified with a nomenclature of four numbers separated by 2 points. The first group shows what is the kernel version, the second is representing the review that the Linux kernel has, the third group of numbers refers to the revisions that the kernel has according to the drivers that are incorporated. And, finally, there is the fourth group of numbers which is intended for bug fixes.

Within the main categories of active releases that the kernel has, we can find the “Prepatch” or “RC”. Which is a pre-release of the Linux kernel that is aimed at kernel developers who have an advanced level of knowledge, as it contains new features that must be tested with use.

This is released solely by the engineer Linus torvalds. Then there are the “Main Lines”, in which it is kept directly by Torvalds. New features that were tested in the Prepatch are directly introduced. These categories are launched every two to three months, according to needs.

Once they are tested, a new kernel category appears, called “Stable”. This is dedicated to making corrections to errors that a main line may have so that it can be available and stable. Their releases are according to need, but can be one every 7 days.

Finally, there is the category of the Linux kernel to “Long term”. This is mainly focused on performing maintenance or working on corrections that are carried out on the older core mainline. Your job is to introduce specific bug fixes that are deemed important. Their releases are not very frequent. This should not be confused with the maintenance that is carried out in the different distributions that Linux has, since the kernel developers cannot provide support for these kernels.

Among the current versions of the Linux kernel are:

  • 4: Whose release date was November 24, 2019.
  • 19: Released on October 22, 2018.
  • Version 4.14: From November 12, 2017.
  • Kernel v. 4.9: Release date December 11, 2016.
  • 4: From January 10, 2016.
  • 16: Oldest of all versions, from August 3, 2014.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will surely be of great help to more members of the community. Thank you! 😉

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