Getting the kernel

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git maintains its kernel releases in git. You can browse the git tree using our gitweb.

Kernel branches

  • Linux 4.x The latest 4.x release is recommended for any new development work. The latest 4.x release is maintained in the master branch of the git repository with every kernel release tagged. The top of the master branch follows Linus' tree aggressively. Use the tagged non-rcX releases if you're not up to hardcore kernel debugging!
  • Linux 2.6 Is still actively maintained, but is not recommended for new development work.
  • Linux 2.4 Is no longer maintained as of April 9, 2012.
  • Linux 2.2 Has not been maintained in a very long time.
  • Linux 2.0 This branch is actually only a backport of Linux 2.1.56 to 2.0 for Cobalt hardware done in 1997. All the Cobalt release kernels are derived from this. Lacking crucial features and not recommended other than in replacement of a nice B movie.

MIPS Technologies

MIPS maintains an additional repository of "engineering kernels" which include patches that haven't yet made it into mainline. These are typically focused on support for their synthesizable cores and their Boston, Malta and SEAD-3 evaluation & development boards, but also often include other fixes & architectural work.

These engineering kernels can be found as tags named "eng-<YYYYmmddHHMM>" in the linux-mti.git repository, which you can clone or fetch from git:// The "eng" branch will always reflect the latest tag. Please note that this is rebased often, so if you wish to work atop it & stay up to date you should be prepared to rebase too.


Support for the recently announced nanoMIPS ISA is not yet in mainline, but initial support can be found in the nanomips-v4.15 branch of the MIPS Technologies linux-mti.git repository described above.

FTP offers tarballs of all kernel releases. This is recommended for users who don't want to mess with SCM systems like CVS or Git.

CVS has switched from CVS to git for the kernel tree. Therefore the CVS tree is frozen that is there will not be any changes to that tree anymore, not even bug fixes. The anonymous CVS server is still running so users with a checked out copy can continue using cvs diff etc. Only the linux-2.2, linux-2.4 and HEAD (2.6) branches are in this CVS repository. You can browse the old CVS tree in CVSweb.