As I briefly mentioned a few weeks ago on my G+ page, the plan is for the 4.9 Linux kernel release to be the next “Long Term Supported” (LTS) kernel.
Last year, at the Linux Kernel Summit, we discussed just how to pick the LTS kernel. Many years ago, we tried to let everyone know ahead of time what the kernel version would be, but that caused a lot of problems as people threw crud in there that really wasn’t ready to be merged, just to make it easier for their “day job”. That was many years ago, and people insist they aren’t going to do this again, so let’s see what happens.
I reserve the right to not pick 4.9 and support it for two years, if it’s a major pain because people abused this notice. If so, I’ll possibly drop back to 4.8, or just wait for 4.10 to be released. I’ll let everyone know by updating the kernel.org releases page when it’s time (many months from now.)
If people have questions about this, email me and I will be glad to discuss it.