Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Each release of Ubuntu Linux is supported for nine months, with the Long Term Support (LTS) versions getting five years of updates and security fixes. Canonical is now pushing that even further, starting with a new program aimed at corporate deployments.

Canonical already sells Ubuntu Pro as an optional subscription for home users and businesses, which adds another five years of updates and software support for Ubuntu LTS releases, on top of the existing (free) five years of support. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS was released in April 2018, and mainstream support ended after May 2023, but it will continue to receive updates through Ubuntu Pro until April 2028.

Canonical has announced a new Legacy Support program, which extends the life of Ubuntu LTS releases to 12 years. The program is an optional subscription on top of Ubuntu Pro, starting with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Trusty Tahr LTS. That update will reach the end of standard Ubuntu Pro updates in April 2024, and then it will get two more years with Legacy Support. The program will be extended to other LTS releases after they reach ten years old—the next one will be Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus in 2026.

The blog post explains, “Long term supported Ubuntu releases get five years of standard security maintenance on the main Ubuntu repository. Ubuntu Pro expands that commitment to 10 years on both the main and universe repositories, providing enterprises and end users alike access to a vast secure open source software library. The subscription also comes with a phone and ticket support tier. Ubuntu Pro subscribers can purchase an extra two years of security maintenance and support with the new Legacy Support add-on.”

Microsoft already offers extended support for certain editions of Windows, so this seems like a move to make Ubuntu systems as functional as Windows PCs over long periods of time. Microsoft has the Windows 10 Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), which is supported for ten years, but is only intended for use by businesses (unlike Ubuntu Pro). Microsoft also continues updates for some versions under expensive support contracts—the U.S military had multimillion-dollar contracts to keep Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 systems alive as recently as 2018.

It’s unclear if the Legacy Support program will ever be offered to home users. It’s primarily intended for embedded devices, servers, and other hardware that are too costly to update normally. That’s a common problem for factories, hospitals, and other industries with specialized software and equipment, but not so much for home desktops and laptops. Most people running Ubuntu at home will be fine with the standard or LTS Ubuntu updates.

Source: Canonical

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By John P.

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