Canonical gives administrators the chance to drag their feet a bit more on Ubuntu upgrades

There was good news today for administrators looking nervously at their aging Ubuntu boxes. A few more years of support is now on offer as Canonical brings 14.04 and 16.04 LTS into the 10-year fold.

Users still running on 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), released back in April 2014, now have until April 2024 (up from 2022) to make the move to something more recent. 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), which dropped into Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) in April this year, has had this extended from April 2024 to April 2026.

Ubuntu has been quietly updating its support and blog posts to reflect the change.

The extension is a welcome one for enterprises, who might be reluctant to fiddle with that one server that has been plugging along happily for years without intervention, and should give administrators a little more breathing space. That is, assuming that somebody has coughed up for ESM, which requires an Ubuntu Advantage subscription (free for personal users or Ubuntu Community members, but otherwise requiring the spending of cold hard cash.)

The move is a marked contrast to the plans of Microsoft, which has been raising the axe over some of its own Long Term Serving Channels in an effort to persuade users to hop on the upgrade train. Then again, if those users have deep enough pockets, Redmond will keep Windows 7 (for which support ended in 2020) alive for a few years longer.

Like Microsoft's Extended Security Updates (ESU), Canonical's ESM is all about security, including Linux kernel LivePatching for high and critical CVEs in the base OS as well as whoopsies elsewhere in the distro ("where technically feasible".)

Later LTS distributions (18.04 and 20.04) remain unchanged at a potential 10 years of support, although both have yet to enter ESM. ®

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