Last month saw the release of the Linux 6.6 kernel, a big update jam-packed with new features, hardware support, security enhancements, and performance improvements.
Today, that kernel version was officially designated a long-term support (LTS) release.
Not that anyone is surprised.
Traditionally, the last stable Linux kernel release of the year is made an LTS.
There was a slight indication that Linux 6.7 could be released before the New Year’s Eve. Although it’s unfortunate that this will not be happening, it’s for a worthwhile cause. As it stands, the forthcoming kernel will likely be released sometime in January of 2024.
Linux 6.6 has been officially designated as the newest LTS kernel by Greg Kroah-Hartman. Imagining that these decisions are made using a real rubber stamp or even Linus setting off a party cracker might be fun, but it’s probably not the case.
This announcement is particularly important to Ubuntu users, which includes us. The upcoming Ubuntu release is also an LTS, and it is often the case that an LTS Linux kernel is used in an Ubuntu LTS release. As a result, it’s nearly guaranteed that Ubuntu 24.04 will be based on Linux 6.6.
Support for Linux 6.6 LTS will continue until December 2026, a period of three years.
There’s been discussion of kernel developers potentially reducing the LTS support period to just 2 years, which has caused Canonical to pledge that they will ensure Ubuntu LTS kernels receive 5 years of support, extending to 10 years with ESM.
Yet, the official Linux kernel website cites December 2026 as the EOL (End of Life) date for this particular kernel. This is the same EOL date given for the 5.10, 5.15, and 6.1 kernels, illustrating just how brief this timeframe has become. Therefore, if such a decision is being considered, it doesn’t seem to be imminent.