back to article Linux kernel long term support extended from two to six years

Long-term-support (LTS) editions of the Linux Kernel will henceforth be supported for six years, up from the current two. News of the extension emerged at the “Linaro Connect” conference at which Googler Ilyan Malchev announced it, saying he had Linux royalty Greg Kroah-Hartman's permission to break the news. Malchev works on …

  1. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "bleeding edge" is overrated

    although I'm more comfy with the idea of updating a Linux kernel to "bleeding edge", I'm definitely not happy with what developers do with the software that RUNS on it...

    'bleeding edge' is OVERRATED.

    I mean, think about it:

    1. Firefox. or FireFEELS. V57, and before that, Australis. YUCK

    2. Gnome 3. 'Nuff said about THAT. At least there's Mate

    3. Systemd in the userland. No thank you. Devuan exists now.

    4. 2D FLATSO themes, by default. W.T.F.F.???

    What I'd like is something that is STABLE, something I don't have to re-re-relearn just to do what I'm accustomed to doing [call it 'work' and I don't earn money for re-re-relearning a platform I need for it, so it's WASTING my PRECIOUS TIME to CHANGE THE RULES like that].

    L.T.S. releases sound VERY good to me. A nice stable NON-moving target, something I can keep running indefinitely, something I can get WORK done with, and NOT have to rebuild, upgrade, test, SCREAM ABOUT, and THROW AT THE WALL because something screwed it up during the "upgrade".

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: "bleeding edge" is overrated

      Since this is Android we're talking about, the whole of user-space still lives on the bleeding edge. If phone makers really wanted to support their devices properly, they'd put something like Debian Stable on them and publish enough detail about their dodgy hardware to let someone else write the software.

      But the hardware guys are quite happy for you to upgrade your phone every two years. This announcement is about Google's embarrassment that Apple support devices more or less for as long as they last. Whether Big G is actually big enough to push this one through is something we still have to discover. Since even *they* can't extend the life of their own branded kit beyond two years, I won't hold my breath.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: "bleeding edge" is overrated

        Even with a six year LTS kernel that's only the kernel that's taken care of. Exploits are much more likely in vendor driver binaries or shared libraries than the kernel, and this won't help there, nor can those be updated via the Play Store like they're starting to do for the browser and other system apps.

        Still, a step in the right direction and Red Hat will benefit since this will fit perfectly with the lifecycle of RHEL releases.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "bleeding edge" is overrated

        "Apple support devices more or less for as long as they last"

        Which is about 2 years, as installing the latest iOS on an Apple device over 2 years old pretty much ensures it will run run like dogshite...

        The only difference is Android manufacturers don't bother and upset users, and Apple do and also upset users.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "bleeding edge" is overrated

          "Apple support devices more or less for as long as they last"

          My wife's new iphone may be going back to the shop in disgust because you can no longer backup phone contacts through itunes. Apparently, you can now only do this through icloud. I mean, itunes is a bit crap, but what on earth is so wrong with the concept of *local* backups?

          1. Alfie Noakes

            Re: "bleeding edge" is overrated

            AC said: "because you can no longer backup phone contacts through itunes."

            Since when?

          2. FIA

            Re: "bleeding edge" is overrated

            My wife's new iphone may be going back to the shop in disgust because you can no longer backup phone contacts through itunes. Apparently, you can now only do this through icloud. I mean, itunes is a bit crap, but what on earth is so wrong with the concept of *local* backups?

            Whilst you maybe can't explicitly backup contacts any more, if you backup your phone to the local machine (and make sure you set a password), that will backup the contacts.

            I've just moved my mum from an iPhone 4 to a 6 using only local backups and all the contacts were transferred over correctly.

            You are correct though, iTunes is a steaming pile of shite.

            Oh, whilst a bit off topic, I setup OwnCloud locally a few years ago, and use that as my central point for contacts and calenders. Works really well and means I still know where all my stuff is. :)

        2. Packet

          Re: "bleeding edge" is overrated

          Oh come now, mr.-propaganda-man-who would-make-goebbels-blush

          Apple devices are supported for atleast 4 years.

          Case in point, iOS 11 - supported on the iPhone 5S - that phone came out in Sep 2013 - and iOS 11 will be updated for another year.

          Case in point, iOS 11 on my iPhone 6 did not make it run slow - it's actually faster than iOS 10. Explain this supposed aberration to me please.

          Android (well, Google) is finally realizing they should update / support their devices ala Apple instead of just shoveling out cheap rubbish that cannot be patched

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: "bleeding edge" is overrated

      Sounds like you might want to run Slackware-stable, Bob. Try it, you might like it.

      Slack-current is also quite stable, at least for a closer-to-bleeding edge variation.

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: "bleeding edge" is overrated

        @Jake - I have a sentimental attachment to slackware formed when I wrote out all those A, N and X disks back in 1998.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: "bleeding edge" is overrated

          I've been a slacker since '93 ... but I have no sentiment for it. I run Slack because it works the way I want a un*x to work. In other words, it gets out of my way and allows me to do computer stuff. I rarely even notice the distribution itself these days, can't ask for much more than that out of an OS. I'll switch in a heartbeat if something better comes along. But it hasn't. Yet.

  2. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Pint

    Poor Greg

    This means a lot more work for Greg ... I'll raise a pint for him tonight!

    Merci!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "What Google wants to see is when a device is launched it gets upgraded four times to new versions of Android"

    ... so how does this work when Google's policy on Nexus phones was to only support two new versions of Android?

    1. Josh 14

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.

      I bought a Nexus phone, primarily for the LTS and clean, non cluttered experience.

      I upgraded from the N5 to a N6 due to joining Project Fi, and then found that the new phones have ~2 year supported life, and they quit pushing the monthly security patches to the phone 7 months before the declared "end of support" that was declared for this month.

      Now, what was the point of buying this Android phone, directly from the manufacturer and OS designer?

      I still like the clean UI and lack of carrier added clutter, but the claim in the article about seeking LTS does not reflect my experiences with Google.

  4. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

    Get it right

    It is a pity that programmers can't just get it right. You would think that with all the fancy tools they now have, which us oldies did not, it would be easier to get it right. Back in the days of VMS or George 3 we did not need updates every month.

    Heaven help us when our cars will have to get monthly software updates. Perhaps that is a cunning plan by the public transport freaks to push us out of our cars.

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: Get it right

      Back in the days of VMS or George 3 we did not need updates every month.

      Not entirely true. Back in the day I was a George 3 sysadmin (ICL's Wellington bureau, and British Steel's Battersea Labs). While its true that new G3 versions were issued quite slowly, I also remember getting patches by FAX every week or two, which got hand-punched onto cards and applied to the current G3 image via the GIN assembler's incremental compilation facility. Fortunately patches seldom amounted to more than 10-20 cards and each patch had a checksum, so mispunched cards would be spotted and not applied.

      So, not that different to a RedHat Fedora or Raspbian Linux distribution then, bearing in mind that G3 could be run on a 32K 1903S with a single EDS60 plus a couple of tape drives for backups and offline filestore - thats roughly equivalent to 128KB RAM and a 60MB disk plus a couple of SD card readers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get it right

      Back in the old days, it was rare for most computing devices to be facing a (nowadays) mostly hostile internet, so it’s understandable that regular and prompt security fixes for software which has a far far greater risk of being attacked are pretty much essential now.

      Much old software probably also had many obscure edge case bugs, but since it wasn’t internet facing, nobody was trying to exploit these remotely, and so those bugs weren’t really so vital for fixing.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get it right

      Back in those days skilled programmers fell over then avoided the bugs. Now they hunt them down to exploit.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Get it right

        Back in those days, we didn't avoid the bugs we found, we used them to our own advantage. Have you never heard the phrase "that's not a bug, it's a feature"?

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