There is a specific numbering system for Linux kernels, kernel development, and Ubuntu's kernel versions. Note that these numbers bear no relation to the version number of your Ubuntu Linux distribution. Ubuntu distribution version numbers are assigned by the Ubuntu developers, whereas most of the Linux kernel version numbers are assigned by Linus Torvalds and his legion of kernel developers.
To see the date your Linux kernel was compiled, use the uname command with its -v command-line option. To see the version of your Linux kernel, use the -r option. The numbers, such as 2.6.15-14, represent the major version (2), minor version (6), and patch level (15). The final number (14) is the developer patch level and is assigned by the Ubuntu developers.
Even minor numbers are considered "stable" and generally fit for use in production environments, whereas odd minor numbers (such as a Linux 2.7 source tree, not yet in existence) represent versions of the Linux kernel under development and testing. You will find only stable versions of the Linux kernel included with this book. You can choose to download and install a beta (test) version of the kernel, but this is not recommended for a system destined for everyday use. Most often, beta kernels are installed to provide support and testing of new hardware or operating system features.
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