Android users rejoice! Linux kernel LTS releases are now good for 6 years

Iliyan Malchev

A major change in the maintenance lifecycle of Linux kernels is coming. During a Linaro Connect 2017 presentation on Android's Project Treble, Googler Iliyan Malchev announced that Linux LTS (Long Term Support) kernels were switching from a two-year lifecycle to a whopping six years of support.

The free and open source Linux kernel powers most of the devices around us. It's not only present in computers and servers, it also powers most of the ARM devices on earth, so it's present in Android devices, the Internet of things, and almost anything else you can call "smart." Major new versions of the Linux kernel arrive about every 70 days. Not everyone wants to upend their existing system every 70 days to upgrade to the new kernel, though, so to help with this, the Linux kernel has traditionally had a "Long Term Support (LTS)" kernel, which is supported for two years. Rather than do a major kernel bump, devices can keep running an LTS kernel and regularly get bug and security fixes, which aren't as disruptive as full releases.

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