Linux Kernel

The Linux kernel is an operating system kernel used by the Linux family of Unix-like operating systems. It is one of the most prominent examples of free and open source software.

The Linux kernel is released under the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2),(plus some firmware images with various licenses), and is developed by contributors worldwide. Day-to-day development takes place on the Linux kernel mailing list.

The Linux kernel was initially conceived and created by Finnish computer science student Linus Torvalds in 1991. Linux rapidly accumulated developers and users who adopted code from other free software projects for use with the new operating system.The Linux kernel has received contributions from thousands of programmers.Many Linux distributions have been released based upon the Linux kernel.

While not originally designed to be portable, Linux is now one of the most widely ported operating system kernels, running on a diverse range of systems from the iPAQ (a handheld computer) to the IBM Z/Architecture (a massive mainframe server that can run hundreds or even thousands of concurrent Linux instances). Linux runs as the main operating system on IBM's Blue Gene supercomputers. As of June 2009, Linux is the OS on 91% of systems on the Top 500 supercomputers list. Also, Linux has been ported to various handheld devices such as TuxPhone, Apple's iPod and iPhone. The Google Android, HP webOS, and Nokia Maemo operating systems, developed for mobile phone devices, all use modified versions of the Linux kernel.

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Linux Kernel Map
Linux Kernel Map (Click image to view in full resolution)
Linux Kernel Development Period (Click image to view full resolution)