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I'm using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, and although I would like to upgrade to 14.04 LTS, I don't want to have any troubles after upgrading. For example, I don't know if I can no longer use some of my software and have to reinstall it.

I'm also worry if my computer have the system requirements necessary to 14.04 LTS version.

That's why I'm asking if it is necessary to upgrade, I mean, will be any problem if I skip the upgrade? Can I stand in 12.04 LTS forever?

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It is best to swtich LTS to LTS every two years! –  Pandya Aug 17 at 14:52

3 Answers 3

Until about April 2017, yes: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Releases. LTS releases are supported for 5 years. However, the longer you stick with Ubuntu 12.04, the harder it will be to migrate. Things may have changed drastically in 5 years (just compare 8.04 and 12.04). I recommend that you upgrade next year, when 15.04 is out. A year's time should be enough for you to check on compatibility, and barring proprietary drivers and associated problems, 14.04 will run on most about anything that can run 12.04.

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You can technically stay in any release forever. However, eventually, every release becomes EOL (End of Life) which means they will no longer receive official updates. This will put your system at increased risk, as they will no longer have security updates, and all of your software will become out of date.

You can stay with 12.04 for 5 years from the release, as all LTS releases have a life-cycle of 5 years as opposed to the new 9-month life-cycle of the non-LTS releases, and still receive updates. Read here for more info.

This puts you at being able to use 12.04 securely and in an up-to-date manner until around April 2017.

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If hard disk space is not a problem , install 14.04 alongside 12.04. I had this same dilemma, I installed 14.04 alongside 12.04 and after a couple of days I completely moved to 14.04. You will almost find no difficulty in migrating, and 14.04 has lot of good improvements over 12.04

Couple of pointers if you are planning to install 14.04 alongside 12.04,

  • Move your home folder to a seperate drive if it is not already in a seperate drive. There is a thorough guide on this here. And when installing 14.04, mention this drive as your home partition.
  • You might find a couple of pointers here on how you can backup your software installations. Be careful, when following these steps. In my opinion, it is safe to get the list of your 12.04 installations manually and reinstall them in 14.04. I ran into some problems when I tried dpkg --set-selections. So, I highly recommend you to gradually migrate by reinstalling all your 12.04 softwares manually in 14.04 even if it takes some time to do it.

PS: When I was migrating I asked this question on how to backup my software installations. I was (and still am) confused on the doubts I raised in my above question, and I ended up manually installing all my 12.04 softwares in 14.04 based on the comments.

PS1 Can someone clear on this doubt I raised in this question ? If I copy apt sources from one distribution to other (like from 12.04 to 14.04) and apt-get update is run, will the distribution code name be automatically replaced (like precise to 'trusty'). If yes, is it a safe way of backing up software installations ?

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Regarding the PSs, apt-get update won't change any sources - it simply uses what it has. So you'll have to manually change them. However, copying the sources and changing them to point to trusty doesn't automagically install all the software you had - You'll still have to do that yourself. –  muru Aug 16 at 18:43

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