We don’t usually see this kind of planning, but Debian is not your run-of-the-mill Linux distribution. They really like to plan things ahead, and they want to have Linux kernel ready for their users. The only problem is that the Linux kernel is only slightly predictable when it comes to its schedule.
In fact, the Linux kernel developers are only now trying a different approach, and for the latest branch, 4.1, they have announced that it’s going to an LTS before the launch. If everything goes well with the development cycle of a branch of the kernel, it usually takes about eight weeks. It’s difficult to anticipate when a certain new release will be made.
Debian is waiting around for Linux kernel 4.10
The Debian devs have said that they are planning to postpone the “freeze” for two months, which might be enough if we take into consideration the possible delays of the Linux kernel project.
“At a recent release team meeting, it was decided that the freeze for Stretch will be slightly delayed from earlier announcements. We anticipate releasing Stretch with version 4.10 of the Linux kernel, which means a longer upstream support period and improved compatibility. For the avoidance of doubt, this change is a one-off to align with an expected release of Linux only,” Debian Developer Jonathan Wiltshire says.
Jonathan has explained that this delay will only happen for the kernel, which means that other components won’t get the same treatment. This is understandable since they can’t really postpone everything for the next best thing.
With this new schedule, the transition freeze should land on November 5, 2016, the soft freeze on January 5, 2017, and the full freeze on February 5, 2017. As you can expect, these are not set in stone.