Canonical releases a new version of its popular Ubuntu operating system every six months — but most versions are only officially supported for nine months. That means if you want a stable version of Ubuntu that you can run for a long time, you’ll probably want to opt for an LTS release like Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

Those letters stand for Long Term Support, and up until recently that meant Canonical would offer five years of official support.

But now Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth says the company will support Ubuntu 18.04 for twice as long.

According to ZDNet, Shuttleworth said the move to a 10 year support cycle is meant to make Ubuntu a more attractive option for hardware developers creating Internet of Things appliances and specific industries including financial services and telecommunications.

While the announcement is aimed at commercial customers that are likely using Ubuntu on servers or IoT devices, it’s also good news for end users that run the desktop version of Ubuntu on laptops who prefer stability over bleeding-edge features. It means you’ll be able to install Ubuntu 18.04 today and continue receiving security updates and bug fixes through early 2028 even if you never upgrade to a newer version Ubuntu.

It’s unclear at this point if Canonical will commit to a 10-year life-cycle for future Ubuntu LTS releases. But the company has time to make that decision: the next LTS release will be Ubuntu 20.04, which isn’t scheduled to launch until April, 2020.

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9 replies on “Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to be supported for 10 years (really, really LTS)”

  1. I’m quite happy with Ubuntu MATE 18.04, as I was with 16.04. I waited a few months after 18.04 was released before I installed it. This allowed most of the inevitable bugs to be fixed. Some tweaking was still required. I’ll probably do the same thing when 20.04 arrives. The upgrade process is really quite simple.

  2. I suspect the announcement is more about the lack of popularity of 18.04, and they needed to do something. I’m still waiting for the full Wayland/Vulkan LTS release… and will be waiting for a long time.

  3. I have 18.04 installed on a couple of systems and it is still quite buggy, hope it doesn’t take 10 years to fix them. 16.04 is working great on other systems.

    1. For the record Xubuntu 18.04 is working quite well for me. There is a known problem installing Libre Office on Lubuntu 18.04 (a deal breaker for me) and I haven’t dealt with Ubuntu 18.04 but Xubuntu works fine for me. I hope they extend support on the derivatives (Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu) for ten years as well.

  4. I’ve seen a lot of coverage on this saying the same things, but it wasn’t spelled out completely. On older versions you could get support beyond the announced end-of-life, but you have to pay for it after that point. Considering the announcement was geared towards developers and people using Ubuntu Server and cloud services, I’m not convinced there will be 10 years of desktop support for free unless they specifically announce it.

    1. Paid support beyond the announced, normal support lifespan of a release is standard industry practice, and has been for decades. It’s an excellent way of keeping long term customers happy while continuing to make money off obsolete products. Of course, it doesn’t come cheap.

      So, there’s nothing in this announcement to believe that the usual LTS terms don’t extend to all versions of Ubuntu 18.04. Canonical wants Ubuntu to be the standard version of Linux on all platforms, and this is an excellent way to promote that.

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