The Raspberry Pi kernel repository has branch names that end in .y and .y-next? For example, rpi-3.17.y and rpi-3.13.y-next. What is the significant of the .y and .y-next?

  • 3
    You are more likely to get a response if you post the question in the raspberrypi.org/forums. The chap who looks after the kernel, dom, is more likely to respond.
    – joan
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 8:27
  • If you do get and answer please come back and answer it here for future searches.
    – rob
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 9:45
  • Will do. For reference, I've asked the question on the RPi forums here: raspberrypi.org/forums/search.php?author_id=83189&sr=posts Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


The .y is just a placeholder. The third number indicates a patch level with regard to security and important bug fixes. The idea with these is that they are only done out of necessity -- they do not introduce new features, etc. If you pay attention, you'll notice that the actual number, corresponding to one from the vanilla source tree, changes as the branch is updated. You can get this from the commit comment on Makefile if you look down the top level list on the git repo page (currently, for that link to the 3.17.y branch, it's 3.17.4).

The -next branches appear to be the first (or at least, earlier) merges of a new minor number. E.g. for 3.13.y-next the third number is actually 7, but for 3.13.y it is 11 (i.e., the -next one is an earlier version). Since the rpi kernel is worked on a bit independently from the upstream source, I imagine these are left around in case those changes, made on the updated (non -next) branch, introduce a problem for someone somewhere.

  • Thanks, that makes sense the y is a placeholder for the patch level. I'm going to wait a couple days before accepting this answer to see if anyone responds on the RPi forums. Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 17:13

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