Canonical has announced the extension of support for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS versions to 10 years . This means that paying users will benefit from something that was already implemented in subsequent LTS releases of the system: 18.04 and 20.04.
LTS versions of Ubuntu made available for free offer up to five years of support. Those five years refer mainly to servers, while on desktop the regular support is served for three years and in the remaining two they focus on security updates. However, in exchange for paying Canonical, the lifespan of an installation of an LTS version can be extended after the free support period has expired.
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS have been maintained for an additional five years through the paid service Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) or Extended Security Maintenance. What Canonical has done has been to retroactively extend what it has implemented for the 18.04 LTS and 20.04 LTS versions. In other words, Canonical has added 14.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS to the 10-year release cycles by expanding ESM support .
We remember that this retroactive change does not affect those who use Ubuntu for free as it is a measure aimed at companies, which generally do not usually or cannot make as many changes in their environment as home users. With this, Canonical provides an opportunity for those companies that have pinned down to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS or 16.04 LTS to continue receiving security updates and bug fixes.
In short, and in exchange for going through its box, Canonical has officially extended support for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS until 2024 and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS until 2026 . Possibly the case of Ubuntu 14.04 is special, as it is the last LTS to use Upstart as init instead of systemd.
Since ending its strategy around convergence and the home market, Canonical has focused on servers and the corporate market, where it competes with SUSE and Red Hat. With companies becoming its only customers, because it is obvious that a home user is not going to pay for Ubuntu, Mark Shuttleworth’s company has to move to position itself against its rivals, and expanding the support of old versions is a good measure in a sector that tends to be very reluctant to change.
Finally, Canonical has released by surprise Ubuntu 18.04.6 , the latest maintenance release of the penultimate LTS with the latest security patches. This highlights the inclusion of the patch to correct BootHole, a critical vulnerability that affected GRUB.