Linux kernel mailing list

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

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.

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] 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.[8] Author Michelle Delio suggests that it was on LKML that Tux, the official Linux mascot, was suggested and refined[9], although the accuracy of her reporting in other stories has been disputed.[10] Many companies associated with Linux kernel make announcements and proposals on LKML; for example, Novell,[11] Intel,[12] VMware,[13] IBM,[14] etc.

The list subscribers include all the Linux kernel maintainers as well as other known figures in Linux circles (such as Jeff V. Merkey,[15] Eric S. Raymond,[16] etc.). A 2000 study found that 14,535 people, from at least 30 different countries, sent at least one email to LKML between 1995 and 2000 to participate in the discussion of Linux development.[17]

Authors of books such as The Linux Kernel Development As A Model of Open Source Knowledge Creation[17] and Motivation of Software Developers in Open Source Projects,[18] and Recovering Device Drivers[19] have made use of LKML for their research studies and surveys.

Media Coverage website frequently cover discussion on the lkml and the newsletter Kernel Traffic covered the activities of the Linux-kernel mailing list until November 2005.[20][1] Many internet websites include archives of the mailing list, such as,,[21] and[22].

Linus Torvalds on LKML

Linus Torvalds is known for angrily disagreeing with other developers on the LKML.[23] 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."[24][25] 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.[26][27] In 2018 Torvalds took a break from kernel development to work on improving his behavior and instituted a code of conduct.

See also

  •  home site for kernel source code distribution
  •  among other things, provides a weekly LKML news digest
  • KernelTrap  former new website
  • ZMailer  a mail transfer agent used by


  1. Kernel Traffic
  2. Gallivan, Michael J. (2001-12-29). "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.
  3. Love, Robert (2005-01-12). "Patches, Hacking, and the Community". Linux Kernel Development (2nd ed.). Novell Press. ISBN 978-0-672-32720-9.
  4. Llamosi, Albert (2004-07-27). Reliable Software Technologies - Ada-Europe 2004. Lecture Notes in Computer Science , Vol. 3063. Springer. ISBN 978-3-540-22011-4.
  5. Defillippi, Robert (2006-09-01). Knowledge at Work: Creative Collaboration in the Global Economy (1st ed.). Blackwell Publishing Limited. p. 168. ISBN 978-1-4051-0756-3.
  6. Justin R. Erenkrantz. "Release Management Within Open Source Projects" (PDF). Institute for Software Research, University of California. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-03-13. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. Linux kernel to be suitable for enterprise, Test version of new Linux kernel available
  8. Reporting bugs for the Linux kernel
  9. The Story Behind Tux the PenguinInitial thread for "Linux logo" Archived 2008-04-09 at the Wayback Machine
  10. "Wired News Releases Source Review". WIRED. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  11. Novell introduces Linux kernel debugger
  12. Intel, Red Hat cure open-source hiccup, Proposed ACPI Licensing change Archived 2012-07-15 at
  13. Linux team tells VMware and Xen to get their acts together, VMI i386 Linux virtualization interface proposal
  14. IBM announces Journaled File System v 1.0.0 Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine, Kernel Traffic #125 for 9 July 2001
  15. Linus tells Merkey, "Cry me a river"
  16. Linus tries to make himself scale
  17. Gwendolyn K. Lee; Robert E. Cole (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 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-03-13. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. Guido Hertel, Sven Niedner & Stefanie Herrmann. "Motivation of Software Developers in Open Source Projects" (PDF). University of Kiel, Institut fuer Psychologie. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-11-09. Retrieved 2007-03-13. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  19. Michael M. Swift; Muthukaruppan Annamalai; Brian N. Bershad; and Henry M. Levy. "Recovering Device Drivers". University of Washington. Retrieved 2007-03-13. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  20. "Archives".
  21. "Linux-kernel".
  23. Vance, Ashlee (June 16, 2015). "The Creator of Linux on the Future Without Him". Bloomberg.
  24. Sharwood, Simon (2015-01-19). "Buggy? Angry? LET IT ALL OUT says Linus Torvalds". The Register. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  25. Clarke, Gavin (2012-11-07). "Torvalds: I want to be nice, and curse less, but it's just not in me". The Register. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  26. "Lennart Poettering: Open Source Community "Quite A Sick Place To Be In"". Slashdot. 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  27. Gold, Jon (2015-10-05). "Linux kernel dev Sarah Sharp quits, citing 'brutal' communications style". Network World. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
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