With the release of the 2.6.16 Linux kernel, Adrian Bunk reiterated his previously debated intention of maintaining the 2.6.16.y kernel tree well into the future. The first 2.6.x.y release was 220.127.116.11 by Linus Torvalds [story], a quick one line fix for NFS. The idea was revisted a few months later in October of 2004 [story], but didn't actually gain momentum until March of 2005 [story] [story]. Beginning with the 2.6.11 kernel, the process was formalized with Greg KH and Chris Wright officially maintaining 2.6.x.y releases [story] until 2.6.(x+2) is released. For example, stable patches will be applied to the current 2.6.16.y kernel by Greg and Chris until 2.6.18 is released sometime well in the future.
Adrian's plan is to pick up the development of the 2.6.16.y kernel at that point, maintaining it much as the 2.4 kernel tree is is maintained [interview]. His intention is to maintain the tree as long is it is used and people contribute patches. The earlier debate on this idea was met with mixed reactions. At that time Greg KH cautioned, "the time and energy to do this for a long period of time is huge. If I were you, I would listen to the people who have and do maintain these kinds of kernels, it's not a simple job by any means."
From: Adrian Bunk [email blocked] To: Linus Torvalds [email blocked] Subject: 2.6.16.x will be a long-living kernel series Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 13:02:29 +0100 As proposed some time ago , I'll continue the 2.6.16.x series after 2.6.17 will be released. A short FAQ is below. cu Adrian  http://lkml.org/lkml/2005/12/3/55 Q: What will be the rules for patch inclusion in the 2.6.16.x series? A: There will be more relaxed rules similar to the rules in kernel 2.4 after the release of kernel 2.6.0 (e.g. driver updates will be allowed). Q: Why not start with the more relaxed rules before the release of 2.6.17? A: After 2.6.16.y following the usual stable rules, the kernel should be relatively stable and well-tested giving the best possible basis for a long-living series. Q: How long will this 2.6.16 series be maintained? A: That depends on how long people use it and contribute patches. Q: Stable API/ABI for external modules? A: No.
From: Arjan van de Ven [email blocked] Subject: Re: 2.6.16.x will be a long-living kernel series Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 13:05:22 +0100 On Mon, 2006-03-20 at 13:02 +0100, Adrian Bunk wrote: > As proposed some time ago , I'll continue the 2.6.16.x series after > 2.6.17 will be released. ehh are you doing this as part of the regular stable effort ? Or in parallel to that?
From: Adrian Bunk [email blocked] Subject: Re: 2.6.16.x will be a long-living kernel series Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 13:12:07 +0100 On Mon, Mar 20, 2006 at 01:05:22PM +0100, Arjan van de Ven wrote: > On Mon, 2006-03-20 at 13:02 +0100, Adrian Bunk wrote: > > As proposed some time ago , I'll continue the 2.6.16.x series after > > 2.6.17 will be released. > > > ehh are you doing this as part of the regular stable effort ? Or in > parallel to that? This seems to be the point I never manage to communicate correctly... After 2.6.17 will be released, there will be the last regular 2.6.16.x kernel by Greg and Chris. I'll continue the 2.6.16.x series _after_ this last regular stable kernel. cu Adrian -- "Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days. "Only a promise," Lao Er said. Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed