Just wondering why Ubuntu used kernel 3.11 in the new 12.04.4 release..? Isn't this kernel (EOL) END OF LIFE.

2 Answers 2


I think the answer needs to be split in two parts:

  1. why 3.11 and not 3.10 or 3.12?
  2. why choosing an End of Life release?

The answer to the first question is that backported kernels (newer kernels not released in the initial Ubuntu 12.04 release) are, at the moment, backported from newer Ubuntu releases (12.10, 13.04, 13.10, etc) and not from any possible kernel release. This can be seen reading informations provided in the LTS enablement stack page, especially looking at the ending upgrade policy diagram, and looking at the "Version Matrix" section of the Extended stable kernels page. As can be see the versions match the 12.10, 13.04 and 13.10 ones. Quite surely also the 14.04 kernel will be backported to a future 12.04 point release.

As for why they chose an End of Life release, I think that's because 3.11 was what Ubuntu developers thought was the most appropriate kernel release to have support for recent hardware, as non LTS releases are more about "new features" and "recent hardware support" rather than stability. Also I think that "longterm" kernel releases are selected to be such only after their initial release, not in advance as Ubuntu does. For example kernel 3.10, released on 30 June 2013, was selected as a longterm supported kernel only on 4 August 2013. That means Ubuntu developers do not know if a kernel they choose will be longterm supported or not, unless they choose an already proclaimed "longterm supported" release.


Perhaps "end of line". There was a vast increase of numbering of the Linux kernel releases since 2.6. The 3.11 line is a stable Kernel and it is relatively young.

stable:     3.11.10 [EOL]   2013-11-29

This also doesn't mean that you use an old kernel. For distributions it is more important to have a stable system. There are also a lot of packages which have to be customized for new kernels, so they probably wouldn't work with the latest stable release.

  • Could you please explain what does "End of Line" mean for Linux kernels? Please edit the post for explanation.
    – Aditya
    Feb 7, 2014 at 16:51
  • As I said "EOL" means probably end of line. In a development process there are milestones or release cycles who define a feature stop. I.e. in 3.13 there is a new firewall infrastructore (Nftables).
    – user224465
    Feb 7, 2014 at 17:22
  • I'm sorry, but you just invented that a kernel can be "End Of Line". There isn't such a thing like an "End of line kernel". If you go to kernel.org and hover with your mouse the [EOL] text you'll see that @gregurbo is correct: the website says "This release is End-of-Life".
    – Diego
    Mar 21, 2014 at 7:55
  • 1
    Releases reach a point where no new development goes into them, because the effort is switched to the next kernel in development. That's EOL. They are merely supported, not fundamentally altered. It doesn't mean they aren't secure or stable because they are. Mar 21, 2014 at 9:48

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