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- The Linux kernel comes in two variants - the "vanilla" kernel, and
the distribution's kernel.
- The "vanilla" kernel is the kernel officially released by Linus, or by
a member of the community appointed by Linus (e.g. kernels version 2.4.X
are officially maintained and released by Marcelo Tosatti).
- The distribution's kernel is normally a "vanilla" kernel, with many
patches on top of it that either did not get accepted to the "vanilla"
kernel, or that the distribution's maker back-ported from newer kernels.
- Thus, normally the latest "vanilla" kernel has more features...
- ... while the distribution's kernel has gone through more orderly
testing and could be more stable.