Linux 6.1 Will Likely Be This Year's LTS Kernel Release
There has been some speculation recently whether Linux 6.0 would be the LTS version or if it would be Linux 6.1 that should debut as stable toward the tail-end of the year. There has also been some suggesting Linux 6.0 is more akin for being the LTS version due to being the last version prior to the Rust code introduction and other major changes, etc.
After being prompted on the kernel mailing list, Linux stable maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman commented:
I usually pick the "last kernel of the year", and based on the normal release cycle, yes, 6.1 will be that kernel. But I can't promise anything until it is released, for obvious reasons.
With the Linux 6.1 merge window landing lots of exciting features like new AMD GPU IP support, Intel DG2/Alchemist improvements, the initial Rust infrastructure, big Btrfs improvements, possibly MGLRU, and much more as I've been writing about, this makes for an exciting LTS version to be adopted by enterprises and others seeking a kernel version to use for the long-term.
The merge window closure and Linux 6.1-rc1 will occur on 16 October. That then puts the Linux 6.1 stable release likely taking place either on the 4th or 11th of December. So barring Linux 6.1 being in very rough and extremely unusual shape where Linux 6.1 would somehow manage to get dragged out several additional weeks, Linux 6.1 will be here before the end of the calendar year and should become the next annual LTS version.
Linux 5.15 LTS is last year's long-term kernel version currently set to be maintained through October 2023. But it may get extended if there is enough organizations willing to help in testing and using that LTS version, similar to the commitments made to Linux 5.10 LTS that is being supported through December 2026. The same would go for Linux 6.1 LTS is that it would be supported through December 2025 but if there is enough users and people willing to test the release candidates, etc, it's possible this year's LTS kernel would be supported for that six year period - through December 2028.