The Linux kernel in Debian

Ben Hutchings

The author

Linux kernel

Linux release model (1)

The old model:

Linux release model (2)

The new model:

Debian kernel team (1)

Who are we?

Debian kernel team (2)

What do we do?

Official Linux kernel packages (1)

Main source package is linux-2.6 (still!). Most binary package names change regularly.

Official Linux kernel packages (2)

The linux-latest-2.6 source package builds meta-packages to support automatic upgrades between binaries built from linux-2.6.

The installer will normally install linux-image-flavour (for some appropriate flavour).

Official Linux kernel packages (3)

Custom Linux kernel builds

The official packages work for most users, but not all:

Using either upstream source or Debian linux-source package:

Extra features

Always aim to get patches merged upstream. But many big features that users want added are not merged upstream for a long time. Kernel team expects features to be upstream first, then backported.

But there have been exceptions:

Out-of-tree modules

The kernel team does not encourage the use of out-of-tree modules. However, we support them by providing development packages and by avoiding ABI changes during a stable release.

Debian has two packages to aid in building out-of-tree modules:

Firmware files