Ubuntu Linux 14.04 and 16.04 each get a decade of support from Canonical

If you are a home Linux desktop user, there is a good chance you like living on the bleeding edge. When a new version of a Linux distribution is released, you may find yourself upgrading immediately. After all, if something breaks, you can just reinstall the OS or move back to the previous version. This is particularly easy if you store your data on a secondary drive and you can format your boot drive without worry.

For business users, however, constantly upgrading to the latest and greatest often isn't feasible. Instead, an organization may want to install a Linux distro and just have it work -- with several years of official support. For instance, Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) and 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) are pretty dated, as they were released in 2014 and 2016 respectively. Age aside, they are rock solid from a stability standpoint. Despite newer versions of Ubuntu being available, some organizations simply don't have the resources to upgrade. Plus, why fix what isn't broken?

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If your organization is still running Ubuntu 14.04 or 16.04, I have some amazing news. Today, Canonical announces that it is extending the life of both versions of the operating to a decade. In other words, Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 are getting longer Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) periods as Canonical pushes back their End of Life (EoL) dates. The former will now get security updates until 2024, while the latter will receive them until 2026. Impressive.

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"This lifecycle extension enables organizations to balance their infrastructure upgrade costs, by giving them additional time to implement their upgrade plan. The prolonged Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) phase of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS enables a secure and low-maintenance infrastructure with security updates and kernel livepatches provided by Canonical. The announcement represents a significant opportunity for the organizations currently implementing their transition to new applications and technologies," says Canonical.

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The Ubuntu-maker further says, "Organizations are constantly being challenged by attackers taking advantage of vulnerabilities to gain access or deploy malware. Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) and kernel Livepatching provide the necessary foundations for continuous vulnerability management. Extended Security Maintenance ensures that the Ubuntu OS receives security updates, while the Livepatch service reduces the unplanned work that comes from Linux kernel vulnerabilities, making organizations more effective when managing Ubuntu systems."

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Before you get too excited, official extended support for Ubuntu Linux is not free. To get the benefits of ESM, you must subscribe to a paid Ubuntu Advantage (UA) plan. Thankfully, while UA does have a cost, it is not at all expensive. You can view annual pricing here. Don't want to pay for extended security updates? You can simply upgrade to a newer supported version, such as 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) or 20.04 (Focal Fossa).

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