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Coming from mostly a Windows background, it seems to me that updating your kernel in Linux is essentially the same idea as patching the OS in Windows.

Is this the case? What are the commonalities and differences?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Windows patches can patch any part of the Windows distribution, including kernel, system tools, and user tools.

Linux patches can patch any part of a Linux distribution, which can include kernel, system tools, and user tools.

Linux kernel patches are a subset of 'Linux patches'.

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Windows appears more monolithic to the user, lots of the 'OS updates' in windows are actually not related to the kernel at all. Thus +1 for @sysadmin1138's answer. – Phil Hollenback Jan 13 '11 at 18:11
Perfect, thank you. – jefflunt Jan 13 '11 at 18:11
in windows, the kernel is a very small part of the whole. Take a look at the entry in Wikipedia about the NT – cwheeler33 Jan 13 '11 at 18:39
One thing to add -- in Windows, many patches will require a reboot to replace certain system files. In Linux only kernel patches will require a reboot to load the new kernel. – Jeff McJunkin Jan 13 '11 at 20:21

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