Linux long-term support (LTS) kernels will have a smaller support window, a major change for the Linux community.
LTS Linux kernels have historically received support and security updates for six years. Many point-release Linux distributions, such as Linux Mint, Ubuntu LTS, and Debian, rely on LTS kernels. Combined with the LTS support the individual distro provides, an LTS kernel means users can install a system and not worry about upgrading to a major version for at least several years, an ideal option for many server instances.
According to ZDNET, one of the biggest changes coming out of Open Source Summit Europe is reducing the support window for LTS kernels from six to a mere two years. Jonathan Corbet, Linux kernel developer, outlined the reasons behind the change:
“There’s really no point to maintaining it for that long because people are not using them,” Corbet said.
An even bigger problem is the strain on the kernel maintainers.
“Maintainers are burning out [because] maintainers don’t scale,” said Josef Bacik, kernel file system developer and kernel maintainer.
“This cannot stand,” added Darrick Wong, a senior kernel maintainer. “We need help.”
Reducing the support window from six to two years will hopefully relieve a significant burden on the kernel maintainers.