Leann Ogasawara has announced that the next point upgrade to Ubuntu 16.04 will arrive in January of 2017. The new point upgrade (Ubuntu 16.04.2) will provide a new Hardware Enablement (HWE) kernel. The HWE kernel features new hardware and driver support, enabling Ubuntu LTS releases to run on modern hardware. Ubuntu Desktop users will automatically be upgraded to the new HWE kernel with each point release while Ubuntu Server installations will default to a more conservative kernel without new hardware support or features. Server installations can switch from the conservative (GA) kernel to the HWE kernel if the administrator wishes.
“As with previous point releases, we will deliver a newer Hardware Enablement kernel with the point release. This newer HWE kernel will be derived from the 16.10 Yakkety kernel (ie v4.8 based). There are some changes however that we wanted to make sure were communicated. The biggest change is that we are moving to what we refer to as a ‘rolling HWE kernel’ model. 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.”