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Linux kernel mailing list

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Linux kernel mailing list
Type of site
Information exchange for Linux kernel development
Current statusOnline

The Linux kernel mailing list (LKML) is the main electronic mailing list for Linux kernel development,[1][2] where the majority of the announcements, discussions, debates, and flame wars over the kernel take place.[3] Many other mailing lists exist to discuss the different subsystems and ports of the Linux kernel, but LKML is the principal communication channel among Linux kernel developers.[4] It is a very high-volume list, usually receiving about 1,000 messages each day, most of which are kernel code patches.

Linux utilizes a workflow governed by LKML,[5] which is the "bazaar" where kernel development takes place. In his book Linux Kernel Development, Robert Love notes:[3]

If the Linux kernel community had to exist somewhere physically, it would call the Linux Kernel Mailing List home.

The LKML functions as the central place where Linux developers around the world share patches, argue about implementation details, and discuss other issues.[1] The official releases of the Linux kernel are indicated by an email to LKML.[6][7][8] New features are discussed and most code is posted to the list before any action is taken.[3] It is also the official place for reporting bugs in the Linux kernel, in case one cannot find the maintainer to whom the bug should be reported.[9] Author Michelle Delio suggests that it was on LKML that Tux, the official Linux mascot, was suggested and refined,[10] although the accuracy of her reporting in other stories has been disputed.[11] Many companies associated with Linux kernel make announcements and proposals on LKML; for example, Novell,[12] Intel,[13][14] VMware,[15][16] and IBM.[17]

The list subscribers include all the Linux kernel maintainers as well as other known figures in Linux circles, such as Jeff V. Merkey[18] and Eric S. Raymond.[19] A 2000 study found that 14,535 people, from at least 30 countries, sent at least one email to LKML between 1995 and 2000 to participate in the discussion of Linux development.[20]

Authors of books such as The Linux Kernel Development As A Model of Open Source Knowledge Creation[20] and Motivation of Software Developers in Open Source Projects,[21] and Recovering Device Drivers[22] have made use of LKML for their research studies and surveys.

Media coverage[edit]

The LWN.net website frequently covers discussion on the LKML, and the newsletter Kernel Traffic covered the activities of the LKML until November 2005.[1][23] Many internet websites include archives of the mailing list, such as lore.kernel.org/lkml,[24] lkml.org,[25] mail-archive.com[26] and marc.info.[dead link][27]

Linus Torvalds on LKML[edit]

Linus Torvalds is known for angrily disagreeing with other developers on the LKML.[28] Calling himself a "really unpleasant person", he later explained "I'd like to be a nice person and curse less and encourage people to grow rather than telling them they are idiots. I'm sorry – I tried, it's just not in me."[29][30]

His attitude, which Torvalds considers necessary for making his point clear, has drawn opposition from Intel programmer Sage Sharp and systemd developer Lennart Poettering, among others.[31][32] In 2018 Torvalds took a break from kernel development to work on improving his behavior and instituted a code of conduct.[33][34]

See also[edit]

  • kernel.org – home site for kernel source code distribution
  • LWN.net – among other things, provides a weekly LKML news digest
  • KernelTrap – former news website
  • ZMailer – a mail transfer agent used by vger.kernel.org


  1. ^ a b c "Introduction". Kernel Traffic.
  2. ^ Gallivan, Michael J. (29 December 2001). "Striking a balance between trust and control in a virtual organization: a content analysis of open source software case studies". Information Systems Journal. 11 (4): 277–304. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2575.2001.00108.x. S2CID 11868077.
  3. ^ a b c Love, Robert (12 January 2005). "Patches, Hacking, and the Community". Linux Kernel Development (2nd ed.). Novell Press. ISBN 978-0-672-32720-9.
  4. ^ Llamosi, Albert (27 July 2004). Reliable Software Technologies - Ada-Europe 2004. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 3063. Springer. ISBN 978-3-540-22011-4.
  5. ^ Defillippi, Robert (1 September 2006). Knowledge at Work: Creative Collaboration in the Global Economy (1st ed.). Blackwell Publishing Limited. p. 168. ISBN 978-1-4051-0756-3.
  6. ^ Erenkrantz, Justin R. "Release Management Within Open Source Projects" (PDF). Institute for Software Research, University of California. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2007. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Galli, Peter (13 December 2000). "Linux kernel to be suitable for enterprise". ZDNet Australia. Archived from the original on 9 June 2009.
  8. ^ Shankland, Stephen (2 January 2002). "Test version of new Linux kernel available". CNet.
  9. ^ Gooch, Richard. "Reporting bugs for the Linux kernel". Linux Kernel Archives.
  10. ^ "Re: Linux logo". Linux-Kernel Archive. May 1996.
  11. ^ "Wired News Releases Source Review". WIRED. 9 May 2005. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  12. ^ Shankland, Stephen (1 July 2005). "Novell introduces Linux kernel debugger". CNet.
  13. ^ Shankland, Stephen (17 February 2003). "Intel, Red Hat cure open-source hiccup". CNet.
  14. ^ Grover, Andrew (6 December 2002). "Proposed ACPI Licensing change". Linux-Kernel Archive.
  15. ^ Vance, Ashlee (20 April 2006). "Linux team tells VMware and Xen to get their acts together". The Register.
  16. ^ Amsden, Zachary (13 March 2006). "VMI i386 Linux virtualization interface proposal". LWN.net.
  17. ^ Adam, Buchbinder; Zack, Brown (9 July 2001). "IBM announces Journaled File System v 1.0.0". Kernel Traffic. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  18. ^ "Linus tells Merkey, "Cry me a river"". Linux Today. 2 January 2006. Archived from the original on 4 January 2006.
  19. ^ Barr, Joe (11 February 2002). "Linus tries to make himself scale". Linux.sys-con.com. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007.
  20. ^ a b Lee, Gwendolyn K.; Cole, Robert E. (December 2000). "The Linux Kernel Development As A Model of Open Source Knowledge Creation" (PDF). Haas School of Business, University of California. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2007. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  21. ^ Hertel, Guido; Niedner, Sven & Herrmann, Stefanie. "Motivation of Software Developers in Open Source Projects" (PDF). University of Kiel, Institut fuer Psychologie. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 November 2006. Retrieved 13 March 2007. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  22. ^ Swift, Michael M.; Annamalai, Muthukaruppan; Bershad, Brian N. & Levy, Henry M. "Recovering Device Drivers". Proceedings of the 6th Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation. University of Washington. Retrieved 13 March 2007.
  23. ^ "Archives". Kernel Traffic.
  24. ^ "LKML Archive". lore.kernel.org.
  25. ^ "Latest messages". lkml.org.
  26. ^ "Messages by Thread". Linux Kernel.
  27. ^ "Majordomo Lists". vger.kernel.org.
  28. ^ Vance, Ashlee (16 June 2015). "The Creator of Linux on the Future Without Him". Bloomberg.
  29. ^ Sharwood, Simon (19 January 2015). "Buggy? Angry? LET IT ALL OUT says Linus Torvalds". The Register. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  30. ^ Clarke, Gavin (7 November 2012). "Torvalds: I want to be nice, and curse less, but it's just not in me". The Register. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  31. ^ "Lennart Poettering: Open Source Community "Quite A Sick Place To Be In"". Slashdot. 6 October 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  32. ^ Gold, Jon (5 October 2015). "Linux kernel dev Sarah Sharp quits, citing 'brutal' communications style". Network World. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  33. ^ Prakash, Abhishek (17 September 2018). "Torvalds Apologizes for His 'Bad Behavior', Takes a Break from Linux". It's FOSS.
  34. ^ Priyadarshini, Manisha (17 September 2018). "Linus Torvalds Is Taking A Break From Linux, Here's Why?". Fossbytes.

External links[edit]