In the consumer space, some devices never get updated, and you can consider yourself lucky if the manufacturer provides updates for several years, often just two as Linux LTS (Long Term Support) kernels had been supported that long so far. Google and the Linux Foundation realized that was not enough, so they recently announced 6-year LTS kernels at Linaro Connect SFO 2017, starting with Linux 4.4 released on January 2016, meaning it will keeping being maintained until January 2022 with security patchsets and bug fixes.
But in the industrial/embedded space, they need even longer periods of support due to the longer equipment’s lifespan. I first heard about the Linux Foundation’s Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) project last year, when I covered the schedule for the Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2016. The project aims at providing a super long-term supported (STLS) open source “base layer” for industrial grade software.
Read more at CNX Software – Embedded Systems News.