Android Phones Might Launch with Unsupported Kernels

It was reported that new Linux kernels will only be supported for two years. This drastically affects the current Android development cycle.

The original picture Google painted in 2017 was that phones take two years to be developed and that the kernel is locked in near the beginning of the engineering process. The LTS kernel would be hitting end-of-life right around when the phone finally shipped, and customers would use obsolete kernels for the lifetime of their devices.

I managed to read this one before you posted it, Mike :slight_smile:

My only real concern is with the Google Pixel. Google has promised a minimum of 5 years of support.

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Maybe Google will support the kernel for longer. Or, maybe something else will happen.

I’m not 100% sure about what will happen because it sounded like the underlying presentation was not publicly available. And, then, it kind of sounded like the author, Ron, was improvising the part about Android.

On the PC side, I upgrade my kernel as soon as my distribution releases it. And, with Manjaro, I used to have so-called “stable” kernels which were much newer than even the latest LTS. So, the argument that older LTS kernels are not used makes sense to me. I’m not sure how much server deployments might depend on LTS kernels. Though, I guess that containers would be less sensitive to the host kernel.

Supposedly, most Android manufacturers never bother updating the kernel anyway, security fixes included. I don’t know enough about it to make a definitive statement. Google is in the best position to deal with this as the upstream. No idea what impact it will have though :woman_shrugging:

I run rolling releases. I’m not concerned with the kernel version or branch I’m running, but newer is better. As long as it’s not rt

From reading the Ars comments, my understanding is enterprise distributions maintain their own LTS kernels separate from the kernel.org branches, so they aren’t impacted as much. These are distributions like RHEL and Ubuntu’s enterprise offering; I think Ubuntu’s normal LTS offering lasts 5 years with kernel upgrades.

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