New versions of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution come out every six months, but most are only officially supported with bug fixes and security updates for nine months.
But every two years Canonical issues an LTS (long term support) release. Up until a few years ago that meant you’d get five years of support. But starting with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Canonical began offering 10 years of support through an Extended Security Maintenance program. Now the company is reaching back and extending the lifecycles of some older versions of Ubuntu.
Canonical has revealed that Ubuntu 14.04 and Ubuntu 16.04 will also now both get 10 years of support from the time of release.
That means Ubuntu 14.04, which was released in April, 2014, will now be supported until April, 2024. And Ubuntu 16.04 will be supported until April, 2026, which marks ten years since its initial release.
Ubuntu 18.04 and Ubuntu 20.04 will be supported until April, 2028 and 2030, respectively, but that’s not a change – those were the original “end of life” dates for those operating systems.
What’s new is that individuals or businesses running older versions of Canonical’s operating system can now continue using it for longer without upgrading to a more recent build and/or losing support for software and security updates.
One thing to keep in mind is that unlike the basic 5-years of support available for free with all Ubuntu LTS releases, you do need a subscription to take advantage of extended support. But Canonical offers an “Ubuntu Advantage Essentials” subscription with extended support maintenance free for individuals that want to use it on up to three machines. Enterprise customers who need more than that and/or want phone and ticket support can pay for a subscription.