Greg Kroah-Hartman, the maintainer of Linux Kernel, confirmed on Thursday that the Linux 4.9 branch has been chosen to be the “longterm”, or LTS (long-term support), as commonly referred by many.

This hardly qualifies for an unexpected development, though. If you recall, it all started even before the official release of Linux kernel 4.9 last month, on December 11, 2016. In fact, it goes all the way back to August 22 when Greg Kroah-Hartman announced via a Google Plus post that 4.9 was going to be the next LTS.

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However, he changed mind shortly after media reporting began and announced on September 6 that he reserved the right to mark Linux 4.9 as “longterm”.

“I reserve the right not to pick 4.9 and support it for two years, if it’s a major pain because people abused this notice. If so, I’ll possibly drop back to 4.8, or just wait for 4.10 to be released. I’ll let everyone know by updating the kernel.org releases page when it’s time,” the developer explained in a blog post.

Fast forward to Jan 2017, Linux kernel 4.9 already had its four point releases with the latest being Linux 4.9.4. More importantly, finally Greg Kroah-Hartman thought it was time. On Thursday, he confirmed that Linux 4.9 was now ready to be categorized as “longterm”.

“Yes, 4.9 is the next longterm kernel. I’ve been saying that for a while, but somehow if it wasn’t on the kernel.org website, no one believed me,” he announced.

It goes without saying that the latest development will be welcomed by most GNU/Linux users as Linux 4.9 kernel branch brings along several exciting new features including, but not limited to the initial support for AMD Radeon GPUs from the GNC 1.0 Southern Islands family to make use of open-source AMDGPU graphics driver.

[Via Marius Nestor]