Linux Kernel Lifecycle: End Of Life And Support Status

Last updated on January 19, 2024

Linux Kernel is the underlying main component of the Linux operating system. It is the interface between the operating system and the computer hardware responsible for translating and communicating between the two.

The Linux Kernal is an open-source, modular, monolithic kernel that is very much like the Unix kernel. It is installed wherever Linux is installed, which includes machines like Android devices, embedded systems, personal computers, servers, and mainframes.

Support status guide

End of life (EOL) is the end of a product’s useful life. When a product reaches the end of its life cycle, the manufacturer no longer supports it. The following table explains the different phases of a product’s lifecycle. Testing status is when the product is initially released and EOL is when product support is no longer offered. The time between these two points is the support timeframe.

Testing

The software is not yet publicly available. It is in testing phase i.e., alpha, beta, release preview etc.

Active

The software is actively supported by the vendor.

Phasing Out

The software will soon reach its end of life. You need to look for upgrade or migration options. The software will automatically go into phasing out status 2 months before end of life.

End Of Life

The software is no longer supported by the vendor. You need to make sure your system and environment are safe.

Version

Released

Security Support

Linux Kernel 6.7
4 months and 3 weeks ago
(7 January 2024)
Ended 3 weeks and 3 days ago
(7 May 2024)
Linux Kernel 6.6 (LTS)
7 months and 1 day ago
(30 October 2023)
Ends in 2 years and 6 months
(31 December 2026)
Linux Kernel 6.5
9 months and 4 days ago
(27 August 2023)
Ended 5 months and 4 days ago
(27 December 2023)
Linux Kernel 6.4
11 months and 6 days ago
(25 June 2023)
Ended 8 months and 2 weeks ago
(13 September 2023)
Linux Kernel 6.3
1 year and 1 month ago
(23 April 2023)
Ended 10 months and 2 weeks ago
(11 July 2023)
Linux Kernel 6.2
1 year and 3 months ago
(19 February 2023)
Ended 1 year and 2 weeks ago
(17 May 2023)
Linux Kernel 6.1 (LTS)
1 year and 5 months ago
(11 December 2022)
Ends in 2 years and 6 months
(31 December 2026)
Linux Kernel 6.0
1 year and 7 months ago
(2 October 2022)
Ended 1 year and 4 months ago
(12 January 2023)
Linux Kernel 5.19
1 year and 10 months ago
(31 July 2022)
Ended 1 year and 7 months ago
(24 October 2022)
Linux Kernel 5.18
2 years and 1 week ago
(22 May 2022)
Ended 1 year and 9 months ago
(21 August 2022)
Linux Kernel 5.17
2 years and 2 months ago
(20 March 2022)
Ended 1 year and 11 months ago
(14 June 2022)
Linux kernel 5.16
2 years and 4 months ago
(9 January 2022)
Ended 2 years and 1 month ago
(13 April 2022)
Linux kernel 5.15 (LTS)
2 years and 7 months ago
(31 October 2021)
Ends in 2 years and 4 months
(31 October 2026)
Linux kernel 5.10 (LTS)
3 years and 5 months ago
(13 December 2020)
Ends in 2 years and 6 months
(31 December 2026)
Linux Kernel 5.4 (LTS)
4 years and 6 months ago
(25 November 2019)
Ends in 1 year and 6 months
(31 December 2025)
Linux Kernel 4.19 (LTS)
5 years and 7 months ago
(22 October 2018)
Ends in 6 months and 4 weeks
(31 December 2024)
Linux Kernel 4.14 (LTS)
6 years and 6 months ago
(12 November 2017)
Ended 4 months ago
(31 January 2024)
Linux Kernel 4.9 (LTS)
7 years and 5 months ago
(11 December 2016)
Ended 1 year and 4 months ago
(7 January 2023)

The above-given EOL dates are not always accurate since the project handlers can extend the duration of support for a specific Kernel version depending on whether there is enough interest. However, they usually start with at least 2 years of support for the LTS releases, and 4 months for the non-LTS versions.

That said, Linux Kernel is published from different channels, which are as follows:

  • Prepatch/RC: These are pre-releases, or preview releases, that are usually designed for other kernel developers and Linux enthusiasts. These releases may include new features, but since it is a preview version, it is not encouraged to use them on production environments, since major bugs may exist.
  • Mainline: A newer version is released every 9 to 10 weeks in the mainline channel. This is where most of the excitement lies, as this channel receives new developments and new features.
  • Stable: The releases in this channel are labeled after the release in the Mainline channel. Bug fixes for a stable kernel are backported from the mainline channel, and implemented by a kernel maintainer (contributor). This channel usually receives updates once a week but is on an as-needed basis.
  • Long Term Servicing (LTS): Versions released from this channel receive support for extended durations. They only receive critical bug fixes and don’t usually see frequent updates.