Google Finally Shifting To "Upstream First" Linux Kernel Approach For Android Features
Google's Todd Kjos talked today during Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC2021) around their Generic Kernel Image initiative. With Android 12 and their Linux 5.10 based GKI image they have further cut down the fragmentation to the extent that it's "nearly eliminated". With the Android 12 GKI, most of the vendor/OEM kernel features have now either been upstreamed into the Linux kernel, isolated to vendor modules/hooks, or merged into the Android Common Kernel.
They are making good progress on the GKI front and also ensuring vendors adapt to the new approach to cut down on the kernel mess. But perhaps most exciting is their outlook for 2023 to 2024 for further reducing technical debt.
They are going to pursue an "upstream first development model for new features" in making sure new code first lands into the mainline Linux kernel rather than aiming straight for lodging within the Android source tree.
Google is also committing to "work towards upstreaming all out-of-tree patches in Android Common Kernels."
If they can pull this off and seriously commit to "upstream first" of new kernel features it will be wonderful, but we'll see how it pans out over the coming years.
More details via the presentation below and the accompanying slide deck.