Google to supply a four-year assist interval for Linux kernel releases utilized in Android telephones

In a nutshell: Android’s kernel relies on the long-term assist branches of the Linux kernel. LTS releases are important for the well-being of Google’s cellular OS, a lot in order that the corporate determined to increase the assist interval past what was already assured by Linux builders.

Google lately up to date official documentation on Android Common Kernels (ACK) with new assist lifetime pledges and refreshed end-of-life (EOL) dates for at present supported kernels. ACKs are the principle branches of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which incorporates Google’s personal Android implementations for third-party firms working within the Android ecosystem.

Starting in 2017, Linux builders determined to supply six years of assist for LTS releases. That determination was later revised, bringing the assist interval again down to 2 years. The LTS Linux kernel is an important codebase for Android, as Google selects essentially the most safe open-source kernel whereas including further performance and vendor-specific options required by Android units.

The ACK-Linux LTS relationship is now strengthening because of Google’s direct involvement. The firm will present further assist to steady LTS kernels, with most Android variations now being supported for 4 years or extra. Android 14, which relies on the Linux 6.1 LTS department, will likely be supported till 2029. Meanwhile, the Android 15 kernel (Linux LTS 6.6) will likely be supported till 2028.

The new assist coverage will impose further necessities on third-party distributors. OEM producers launching telephones based mostly on Android 15 or later will now be required to make use of both the 6.1 or 6.6 LTS department of the Linux kernel.

Linux LTS is repeatedly maintained with safety patches and bug fixes, nevertheless it does not embrace the most recent (and probably unstable) options launched in non-LTS kernel branches.

Google’s official documentation clearly states that “ACKs obtain LTS merges from upstream and bug fixes for Android-specific code.” These Android-specific fixes embrace the safety patches the corporate lists in its month-to-month Android Security Bulletins. Starting with kernel 6.6, the assist lifetime for the steady (LTS) kernels is 4 years. When kernels are not supported, units working the related Android variations are thought-about “susceptible” by Google.

Furthermore, Mountain View is simplifying the ACK launch cycle. The firm will now present only a single new ACK department for every kernel launch, which is why Android 15 will completely use the android15-6.6 department.

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