Canonical Breathes Longer Life Into Two Ubuntu Aging Releases

Canonical On September 21, it announced the lifecycle extension of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) and 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) to help organizations implement their transition to new applications and technologies.

This extension of the life cycle allows organizations to balance the costs of updating their infrastructure. Support extensions give you additional time to implement your upgrade plan. Lifecycle extensions provide support for a total of 10 years.

The Canonical Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) phase of Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 LTS enables a secure, low-maintenance infrastructure with live kernel patching and security updates.

The long life cycle of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS opens a new page in Canonical’s commitment to enabling enterprise environments, according to Nikos Mavrogiannopoulos, Canonical Product Manager.

“Each industry sector has its own implementation life cycle and adopts technology at different rates. We are providing an operating system lifecycle that allows organizations to manage their infrastructure on their terms, ”he said.

Better economy and cybersecurity

Organizations have made significant efforts and financial resources to phase out legacy systems. Those efforts have significantly increased IT budgets over the past three years, Canonical noted.

By extending the operating system life cycle to 10 years, Canonical is helping organizations better assess their IT budget to implement or plan their infrastructure upgrades.

Organizations face the constant challenge of attackers who exploit vulnerabilities to gain access or deploy malware. Regardless of the cybersecurity framework that organizations choose (ISO 27000, NIST, PCI or CIS controls), Ubuntu offers them a deployment path. Live kernel and ESM patches provide the foundation necessary for ongoing vulnerability management.

Extended security maintenance ensures that the Ubuntu operating system receives security updates. The Livepatch service reduces unplanned work that comes from Linux kernel vulnerabilities. This makes organizations more efficient when managing Ubuntu systems.

A boost from the base offering

Ubuntu users can typically receive security updates for the Ubuntu base operating system, critical software packages, and infrastructure components with extended security maintenance. ESM provides an additional five years of security maintenance, enabling ongoing vulnerability management for an organization.

ESM is available through a subscription to Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure for physical servers, virtual machines, containers, and desktops. It is free for personal use.

Ubuntu Pro premium images are optimized for the public cloud. They provide security maintenance for important and critical Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) for the entire collection of software packages shipped with Ubuntu.

Extended life cycle for everyone

The extended lifecycle is available to all Ubuntu users, not just business customers, Mavrogiannopoulos noted. The benefit comes at no additional cost and without any configuration changes on upgraded systems. This applies to Ubuntu Advantage and Ubuntu Pro subscriptions, as well as free personal subscriptions.

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“Canonical is on a mission to bring free software to the widest audience, and we have no intention of changing that,” he told LinuxInsider.

But this change in Ubuntu’s lifecycle schedule for Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 doesn’t change Canonical’s strategy for long-term support releases going forward, he said.

Transition factors

The number of Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 instances still in use today influenced Canonical’s decision to extend the lifespan. Canonical’s product manager estimated the user base to be in the hundreds of thousands.

Many of those running instances are part of the critical infrastructure in companies with a ton of capacity built on them over the years. They’re safe, easy to maintain, and they just get the job done, according to Mavrogiannopoulos.

Canonical is extending the ESM period to allow companies using Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 to implement their transition plan at the pace that suits them best.

“We discovered that there is no one-size-fits-all solution in lifecycle management, as different industries and sectors adopt technologies in different time frames and adhere to different requirements. We are extending the Ubuntu lifecycle to remain the platform of choice for users who value stability and long-term maintainability, ”he said.

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