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So, I am still using 14.04 at the moment and I know that end-of-support is coming at the end of this month unless you have extended security maintenance (which I don't).

However, I am a bit confused as to what exactly will happen. Searching online, I have seen two terms floating around: end-of-support and end-of-life. From what I can tell, both are different from what Canonical means when they refer to a release's lifespan. The trouble I have is telling if there is a difference between the two. Some pages I read treat them interchangeably while others do not. Some posts I have read use end-of-life to refer to when the repositories get moved/archived; thus preventing things such as the auto-update from working.

Regardless of which is which, when does the Ubuntu repository get archived? There doesn't seem to be a mention of that on the information page and the online posts I found simply mention that it happens, not when.

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    for starters it's end-April (not end of March), so it's end of next month. There is no set date when the archives get moved to old-releases; for 17.04 it occurred within 96 hours as I recall; however usually it's week(s) (and usually later for LTS releases). All documentation is vague other than specifying it won't occur until after EOL has occurred (meaning they can do it when they can). There was a reason why 17.04 was done very quickly, and I can't see that happening with 14.04 LTS (12.04 LTS would be your best example of what to expect; or 17.10 if you can't remember that far back). – guiverc Mar 26 '19 at 21:45
  • See also: wiki.ubuntu.com/Releases & ubuntu.com/about/release-cycle – oldfred Mar 26 '19 at 21:55
  • In theory when 14.04 hits EOL; if you never run sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade again, you'll never have a new problem. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Mar 26 '19 at 22:38
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Ubuntu 12.04 LTS had 5 years of supported life, so 5 years will not be reached until at least 17-April-2018 (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Releases or https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-announce/2014-April/000182.html) and many pages say it's not till end-of-month or 30-April-2019.

Many pages will tell you that when a release reaches EOL, after this date archives will be moved from archive.ubuntu.com to old-releases.ubuntu.com, it'll be country mirrors will drop the release, and mirrors also will drop it. If you look at https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+archivemirrors you can get a glimpse of how up-to-date mirrors are, some are listed as 'last date unknown' (too long ago for counter) which means they could be much later in dropping the archives.

The best example of how fast it'll occur would be 12.04 LTS reaching EOL. It took months as I recall for it's archives to be moved, which is a huge contrast to 17.04 which took in comparison only hours. LTS releases are usually slower in moving, but without a set date you shouldn't rely on it.

It's easy to change your references to archive.ubuntu.com to old-releases.ubuntu.com (dropping any country code if you use it; eg. au.archive.ubuntu.com becomes old-releases.ubuntu.com too). If you are fully up-to-date before this move occurs though, I would expect a do-release-upgrade to be able to work anyway (I haven't tested it though), it gets far more complex if the next release (16.04 LTS) is EOL though.

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  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (5 year support) will live on as Ubuntu 14.04 ESM (5+2minimum life span). 14.04 ESM is not a different product, if you pay for ESM you get a package that adds the ability to update from ESM repositories, which is just extending the 5 years for payment (ubuntu.com/esm) I suspect it's this variable-length-life-span that has confused you, as it's 5 years but .... 14.04 LTS will be EOL, but 14.04 users who switched will still get support via 14.04 ESM so Ubuntu 14.04 will still have support, but not here as 14.04 LTS is EOL. – guiverc Mar 26 '19 at 22:21
  • So, if I am understanding correctly, there is no official time frame for the moves. However, there is typically enough time that you can still have a window of time get get the last updates even after EOL. – Andrew Shum Mar 27 '19 at 20:45
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    Yes (no official day/time count), with the minor exception of 17.04 which was surprising close to date, most releases have had decent time (17.10 had months), and LTS usually longer. 17.04 was last release with no spectre, no meltdown mitigation; which of course 14.04 LTS/16.04 LTS & later releases have – guiverc Mar 27 '19 at 21:28
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The answer seems to be: Whenever someone has time to do it.

So, there is no official rule, otherwise it would probably have been mentioned within the offical EndOfLife Process. This information is also backed by a conversation between cjwatson and Thomas Ward.

See also:

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