The initiative was announced last year. Every year there will be one release of a kernel suited to embedded products; this will then be maintained for two years. It gives certainty to businesses and reduces their overall costs. It also provides a means of paying the developer who handles the maintenance.
In the Foundation's own words: "The project creates and maintains a long-term industry tree, which is expected to be stable in quality for the typical lifetime of a consumer electronics product, typically 2-3 years."
Companies like Samsung and Sony are supporters of the initiative for obvious reasons.
The report, which covers kernel releases from 2.26.32 to 3.2, has loads of other statistics that show how development progresses, its speed and how many people and companies are involved. I'll deal with these in detail separately.
An interesting statistic is that Microsoft is now among the top 20 corporate contributors to the kernel. But given the fact that it wants to play in the server and virtual spaces, Microsoft really has no option but to ensure that its products work well with Linux. The boot is now well and truly on the other foot in the server and embedded markets.