5.10 LTS Kernel: 2 or 6 years?

Greg Kroah-Hartman gregkh at linuxfoundation.org
Wed Feb 17 04:40:45 EST 2021

On Tue, Jan 26, 2021 at 07:51:18PM +0100, Greg Kroah-Hartman wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 26, 2021 at 10:30:16AM -0800, Scott Branden wrote:
> > Hi Greg,
> > 
> > 
> > On 2021-01-25 11:29 p.m., Greg Kroah-Hartman wrote:
> > > On Mon, Jan 25, 2021 at 11:55:11AM -0800, Scott Branden wrote:
> > >> Hi All,
> > >>
> > >> The 5.10 LTS kernel being officially LTS supported for 2 years presents a problem:
> > >> why would anyone select a 5.10 kernel with 2 year LTS when 5.4 kernel has a 6 year LTS.
> > > Because they want to use all of the latest stuff that 5.10 provides
> > > them.  Don't you want faster and more secure kernels for your devices?
> > Yes, 5.10 is a more secure and less buggy kernel than 5.4.
> Great, use it, ship it to your customers and we are all happy.  What do
> you need me for any of this?  :)
> > >>   And AOSP has already declared the use
> > >> of 5.10 kernel in their Android S and T releases.
> > > Publically?  Where?  And is that really the name of the new Android
> > > releases, I thought they switched to numbers now (hence the naming of
> > > the current android-common kernel branches, marketing is fun...)
> > https://source.android.com/devices/architecture/kernel/android-common
> > Feature and launch kernels provides kernels supported per version.
> Oh nice, didn't know that.
> But note, Android kernels do not reflect the lifespan of LTS kernels.
> If that were the case, I would still be supporting 3.18 as they are
> doing that at the moment for their devices and customers, and will be
> doing so for I think another full year.
> So while Android is nice to see here, remember that is what Google is
> promising to support for their users.  You can do the same thing for
> your users, what do you need me here for this?  You can do the same
> thing that Google is doing for 3.18 right now, pick the stable fixes
> from upstream, backport them, test them, and push them out to their
> users.
> While Google is a great help to me in the LTS effort, providing huge
> amounts of resources to enable my life easier with this (i.e. funding
> Linaro's testing efforts), their promise to their customers/users does
> not depend on me keeping LTS kernels alive, if I stopped tomorrow their
> contracts are still in place and they know how to do this work
> themselves (as is proof with 3.18).
> So you can provide the same kind of guarantee to support any kernel
> version for any amount of time to any customer you like, it shouldn't
> require me to do that work for you, right?
> > >> Is there some way we could make the LTS support more clear.
> > >> A 2 year declaration is not LTS any more.
> > > Not true at all, a "normal" stable kernel is dropped after the next
> > > release happens, making their lifespan about 4 months long.  2 years is
> > > much longer than 4 months, so it still is a "long term supported" kernel
> > > in contrast, correct?
> > Perhaps a new name needs to be made for "LTS" for 6 years to distinguish it from 2 years.
> > The timeframes are very different.
> At this point in time, anyone wanting a kernel longer than 2 years
> should know how this all works.
> If not, please do some basic research, I have written whitepapers on
> this and given numerous talks.  The information is out there...
> > >> If 5.10 is "actually" going to be supported for 6 years it would be quite valuable to make such a declaration.
> > >> https://www.kernel.org/category/releases.html
> > > Why?  What would that change?
> > >
> > > Ok, seriously, this happens every year, and every year we go through the
> > > same thing, it's not like this is somehow new, right?
> > No, but why do we need to keep playing the same game every year now.
> Because, 5.4 almost did not become "6 years" of support from me.  That
> was because in the beginning, no one said they were going to use it in
> their devices and offer me help in testing and backporting.  Only when I
> knew for sure that we had people helping this out did I change the date
> on kernel.org.
> So far the jury is still out for 5.10, are you willing to help with
> this?  If not, why are you willing to hope that others are going to do
> your work for you?  I am talking to some companies, but am not willing
> to commit to anything in public just yet, because no one has committed
> to me yet.

Following up on this as I did not hear back from you.  Are you and/or
your company willing to help out with the testing of 5.10 to ensure that
it is a LTS kernel?  So far I have not had any companies agree to help
out with this effort, which is sad to see as it seems that companies
want 6 years of stable kernels, yet do not seem to be able to at the
least, do a test-build/run of those kernels, which is quite odd...

If you want to point people at your company this link that explains it
all in a single location instead of an email thread:
that would be great.


greg k-h

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