Long Term Support Linux gets a longer lease on life

Jonathan MathewsPublic

At Linaro Connect, a mobile Linux conference, Google senior staff engineer Iliyan Malchev announced that the Linux kernel team had agreed to extend Linux’s Long Term Support from two to six years. This is an enormous deal for Androidembedded Linux and Linux Internet of Things (IoT) developers.

Why? Malchev explained for Android programmers: “All Android devices out there […] are based of the LTS kernel. The problem with LTS is it’s only two years. And so, by the time the first devices on a SoC [System on a Chip] hit the market, you have maybe a year, if you’re lucky, of LTS support. And, if you’re not, it’s over. Greg Kroah-Hartman [the Linux kernel maintainer for the Linux stable branch] has given me permission to announce he will extend LTS to six years, starting with kernel 4.4.”

This is the direct result from work on Android’s Project Treble. This is Google’s re-architecting of Android to make it easier, faster, and less costly for manufacturers to update devices to a new version of Android. As every Android users know, one of the operating system’s major annoyances is that few vendors keep Android up to date on their devices.

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