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This paper is devoted to stability analysis and control design of switched linear systems in both continuous and discrete-time domains. A particular class of matrix inequalities, the so-called Lyapunov--Metzler inequalities, provides conditions for open-loop stability analysis and closed-loop switching control using state and output feedback. Switched linear systems are analyzed in a general framework by introducing a quadratic in the state cost determined from a series of impulse perturbations. Lower bounds on the cost associated with the optimal switching control strategy are derived from the determination of a feasible solution to the Hamilton--Jacobi--Bellman inequality. An upper bound on the optimal cost associated with a closed-loop stabilizing switching strategy is provided as well. The solution of the output feedback problem is based on the construction of a full-order linear switched filter whose state variable is used by the mechanism for the determination of the switching rule. Throughout, the theoretical results are illustrated by means of academic examples. A realistic practical application related to the optimal control of semiactive suspensions in road vehicles is reported.