We have been informed by Canonical's Leann Ogasawara about the upcoming second point release of the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) Linux-based operating system.
After publishing the release schedule for the Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) operating system, which is currently under heavy development, it appears that Canonical also managed to update the current Xenial road map with a release date for Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS (Xenial Xerus) as of Thursday, January 19, 2017.
As you might know, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) is a long-term supported release, which means that it will receive security fixes and software updates for five years, until April 2021. During this time, the OS usually gets a total of five point releases. Currently, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and 16.04.1 LTS are powered by the LTS Linux 4.4 kernel branch.
"Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS will be powered by Linux kernel 4.8"
That's about to change with the release of Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS, as Canonical plans on delivering a newer HWE (Hardware Enablement) kernel based on the one used in the Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) operating system. In other words, Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS will be powered by Linux kernel 4.8, and will also adopt a rolling HWE kernel model.
"The biggest change is that we are moving to what we refer to as a 'rolling HWE kernel; model," said Leann Ogasawara. "Essentially, consumers of an HWE kernel will automatically be upgraded to the next HWE kernel offered in subsequent point releases until reaching the final HWE Kernel offered in 16.04.5."
Another change that will happen with next year's release of Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS is that the Ubuntu Server ISO images contain both the GA and the HWE kernels, the former being enabled by default. On the other hand, the Ubuntu Desktop ISOs are shipping only with the HWE kernel.
Those of you who can't wait until January 19 to update their Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) installations to the 16.04.2 release can now get an early taste of the Linux 4.8 HWE kernel ported from Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) by running the following command in the Terminal app after enabling the "Proposed" channel in the Software Sources utility.