To fulfill the evolving requirements of its members and users, the Yocto Project announced a new plan to extend support for selected releases. The new support plan covers an initial two-year period and the first candidate to benefit from this change will be the Yocto Project 3.1 release.
A very important criterion for evaluating and adopting a software platform is support. This holds true when it comes to development tools as well. Yocto Project releases are usually maintained for one year. Beyond this period, releases move to community support, which means they only receive occasional patches for critical defects and updates, and no regular defect fixes and security updates. Although this follows the open source culture, where development is particularly known for speed and bleeding-edge innovation, there has been a rising interest among project members and end users for extending this period. As a result, the Yocto Project technical leadership put together a proposal to address this need as well as arranging the tools and processes to allow it to best benefit the project and its users.
The project aims to choose an LTS release every two years. The project components covered under the new plan will match the core subset of those included in the standard release process: Bitbake, OE-Core, meta-yocto, and yocto-docs. These components will now receive the usual defect fixes and updates for the extended period of two years. Additional layers, such as meta-mingw, meta-gplv2 or general OSV vendor layers will not be covered and will follow their usual standard support models.
The LTS release will support the original kernel it has been shipped with. Yocto Project technical leadership will continuously evaluate other similar older LTS kernels on a case by case basis depending on the status of upstream support. The version of linux-libc-headers would not change to avoid user-space problems.
This change will also benefit other downstream projects relying on Yocto Project releases that have longer life cycles such as AGL, RDK etc. The decisions that the technical leadership makes will take into account the community feedback, people committing resources and input from the member organizations.
The LTS maintainer will be responsible for queuing and reviewing suitable changes and starting and monitoring builds. The maintainer may have assistance from the community in resolving new issues identified during build or the QA run. Reviews will use the usual community review mailing list processes. For example, where applicable, a merge request will be sent to the appropriate repo owner once all issues found during the review have been addressed.
The Yocto Project LTS maintainer role hasn’t been appointed yet. At the moment, the project technical leadership is focused on finding the dedicated resources. For more information, and to discuss the LTS maintainer role, contact email@example.com.