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It's not just the 2.4 kernels that are continuing to be maintained. Alan Cox is (well, he's on a sabbatical right now) still maintaining the 2.2 series! There are many reasons for why it is done.
2.6.0 is brand new, and people aren't quite ready to be forced to jump onto that bandwagon yet. Once 2.6 becomes more mainstream, 2.4 will not be updated as often, but it still will be updated a bit, and the focus will be almost completely switched over to 2.6.
Also, if SCO were to win this lawsuit (I'm not saying they will, but there's always the possibility) we'll need something to fall back onto. 2.2 has not been accused of containing any SCO UNIX code, so it may very well be that we'd have to switch to the 2.2 series temporarly. So you see, there are many reasons why the older kernel releases are still being maintained.
2.<odd numbers> indicate that the developers are working on it, and to be treated as such, with caution. you would likely use the unstable ones if there was suddenly a new piece of hardware that has a driver written for it and is still waiting to have a patch for a stable release. OR if you;re one of the developers and need to be workin on the kernel.
2.<even numbers> are what are deemed stable, with a lot of bug fixes and minor enhancements comin from the previous 2.<odd number> kernels.
its akin to knowing that MS longhorn is under development, and will be released in a few years ONLY after a lot of testing has been done to say it's stable. but the difference is ... you cant get it while its being developed as its not OS.
Originally posted by trey85stang let me expand on my question a bit more.. why is it that 2.3/2.5 series all seem to be development/unstalble Why is there not a mainstream release of these kernels??
There are, the odd become even numbers which are then deemed stable. Its not like they are totally different kernel's.
2.5.x is the same as 2.6.0 but with all the changes made to make it stable and ready for production. It would be very confusing if they did it like this and making every other release stable, then not stable, etc: