I would like to know how the Linux kernel gets built.

Who builds this? I have heard that Linux gets built by programmers sitting all over the world. But it gets only released by the founder i.e., Linus Torvalds.

Does he program all the code of Linux kernel or some other ones?

If Linux programmers are sitting in different parts of the world, then how do they communicate to gather their code?

3 Answers 3


First, no, I don't think that Linus Torvalds himself does still write much code that goes into the kernel. But what he did some years ago was writing a source control management tool as he wasn't quite happy about the existing SCM Tools at that time. If you want to hear his own words, you can for example watch one of his great talks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XpnKHJAok8

So basically it is his invention of git, that he mainly did for exactly that purpose, to manage the release cycle of the linux kernel.

And that's what actually made the release frequency of stable kernels that fast, we all experience since major version 3.

When you are good at git you can address many objectives, known today as continuous integration and continuous delivery to get small (one-person) up to huge (several thousand) distributed development groups together, to continuously deliver working software.

But of course, Linus Torvalds does none of this on his own. He is just the last man who signs a mainline kernel release on http://kernel.org.

See the git's user manual delivered with git, or here, for an example of how to work together in huge software projects.

  • Here are some stats about most active developers and companies for kernel 4.1: lwn.net/Articles/646942
    – pbm
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 10:11

I believe Linux kernel mailing list is where kernel changes and other discussions take place. There are literally thousands of developers around the world that work together on this (since its open source). The mailing list does more than just discuss code changes though. Pretty much anything to do with the kernel.

Linus Torvalds supervises code changes to the latest versions. The source is managed via git, which is a centralised source management system.


Well, relatively both yes and No. Linus Torvalds did write most of the kernel code in d beginning i.e he wrote device drivers , HD access and released a version, he called, 0.01. This kernel ,which is called Linux, was afterwards combined with GNU to produce a complete free OS, and then gradually volunteers increased to thousands to write kernel. He actually holds most of what u call "share %" in writing the kernel as compared to others. He collectively holds the "sign in" seat for centralized signed management system or simply he is kernel release manager or project coordinator. Moreover, Linux is a copyleft project so different developers and even companies like RedHat, Novell, Intel, IBM,Linux Foundation etc are sponsoring the Linux Kernel development.

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