NewsForge: Kernel basics 101

“To a new, prospective, or casual Linux user, the excitement
surrounding the release of the new Linux kernel might seem a little
confusing. What is this “kernel thing” as one newcomer called it,
why is it so important, and how do you get your hands on it without
imploding your system in the process?”

“The rush to upgrade is on whenever one of the dozens of Linux
distributions announces a new version. In the quest to become the
first geek on the block with an up-to-date system, users can expect
sluggish FTP servers and timed-out downloads. That flurry of
activity is small potatoes compared with what happens when Linux
creator Linus Torvalds announces a new kernel.”

“Flashy, multimedia-drenched press conferences heralding a
revolutionary new computing experience usually accompany the
announcement of a new closed source and commercial operating
system. Companies like Microsoft and Apple spend millions of
dollars to rake in millions of consumer dollars — not to mention
press coverage — on their newest products.”

“When one of the most anticipated events in the Open Source
community happened, the copy to announce it was, well, a little
more understated. On the night of January 4, Torvalds posted the
following to the Kernel Mailing List….”


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