The end-of-life (EOL) support for the LTS (Long-term Support) Linux kernel 4.19 and 5.4 has officially been extended from two to six years, which is an additional 4 years.
According to the official Linux Kernel long-term release page, Linux kernel 4.19 will now get bugs and important security fixes till December 2024 and kernel 5.4 until December 2025.
While Linux kernel is mainly released in two categories, namely: Stable and Longterm. The stable release comes every 8-10 weeks; on the other hand, the LTS release arrives every two years and provides security and bug fixes for up to two years.
Why the Upgrade of LTS kernel lifecycle from two to six years?
In 2017, Google’s Iliyan Malchev at Linaro Connect announced the upgraded lifecycle of LTS kernel from two to six years, which implementation started with Linux Kernel 4.4.
Albeit, the maintainer of LTS kernel release is responsible for the time period for the LTS life cycle. Therefore, after the release of the latest stable Linux kernel 5.7, Greg Kroah-Hartman, the current lead Linux Kernel developer and maintainer, increased the support period of the latest LTS kernel 5.4 and 4.19.
Now, this is a major change involving how the kernel support will be provided, the initial two-year lifecycle of Linux LTS kernel bumped to six years.
How to decide LTS Linux Kernel for your porject?
There are currently six LTS kernels with six years of support, as follows: v5.4, v4.19, v4.14, v4.9, v4.4, and v3.6. Therefore, any of these kernel versions are available for those who need to implement an LTS Kernel to their project.
However, you can check out the suggestions by Greg on the latest stable or LTS release for Server, and the latest LTS or older LTS release for Embedded devices.
Alternatively, you can choose from Linux distributions like Ubuntu or Debian that ship the most stable Linux kernel.