The Kernel 2.6 series is the latest (written September 2004) series of the stable Linux kernels.
The latest version is always available here or at any of the many mirrors listed here.
It includes modern kernel features like:
- built-in cryptography
- good SMP support
- improved real-time features
- NUMA architecture
- ALSA support
The numbering scheme follows the following convention. Each version has a unique number x.y.z. where
- x = major
- y = minor
- z = patch
The minor number has the additional meaning that on a stable kernel it is always even. Development is done on a development kernel with is identified by the minor number being odd. For example 2.2, 2.4, 2.6 and the latest release 2.6.22 are stable while 2.5.32 was a development kernel. The 2.5 branch became the stable 2.6 kernel and someday soon a new branch called 2.7 will open that will lead to the new 2.8 (or possibly 3.0) kernel.