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What do these terms mean?

  • End of Standard Support
  • End of Life

Does this mean that I can't use this specific Ubuntu version, or something else?

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  • You can use them, they will still work, but they will not receive any more updates. It will also be very difficult to upgrade them to a newer version. If you use them you also setup yourself for security problems that would be fixed in supported versions. This site does not support help questions for unsupported versions either.
    – crip659
    Nov 3, 2019 at 20:38
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    Although this is relates to Where can I find the status of the released versions of Ubuntu? and What are the specifics of 18.04's ten year support?, I don't think it's currently a duplicate of them. In particular, as far as I can tell, neither has answers that explain or even mention "end of standard support" -- though that answer mentions "5 years of standard security support". I've voted to reopen this, but if it's to be considered a duplicate, it would be useful to have another answer. Nov 4, 2019 at 10:58

2 Answers 2

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From Wikipedia:

"End-of-life" (EOL) is a term used with respect to a product supplied to customers, indicating that the product is in the end of its useful life (from the vendor's point of view), and a vendor stops marketing, selling, or rework sustaining it. (The vendor may simply intend to limit or end support for the product.)

With this in mind, we can deduce that a Ubuntu version in EOL means that it won't get supported in any way by Canonical. That is, it won't get any updates or support.

But what about a product that is in End of Standard Support? According to this article made by Canonical,

As Ubuntu LTS releases transition from the standard, public maintenance window, Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) is available for organisations with their workloads on Ubuntu LTS releases to maintain that stability and continuity, ensuring system security and compliance. With the end of its five-year standard support window in April, Canonical is announcing the availability of ESM for 14.04 starting 25 April 2019.

ESM for 14.04 provides ongoing kernel security fixes through a secure, private archive for three years until April 2022. This continued protection from major security vulnerabilities enables development and operations teams to plan and manage application upgrades in a failsafe environment.

ESM is available as a feature of an Ubuntu Advantage subscription.

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  • 5
    In short, End of life=End of Standard Support (free) + End of Extended security maintenance support (paid)
    – Kulfy
    Nov 4, 2019 at 12:37
  • 3
    Do the updates provided through ESM ever get released to the non-paying customers after a certain period?
    – warsong
    Mar 30, 2020 at 15:41
  • This link is broken: ubuntu.com/blog/… Jun 15, 2021 at 11:48
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End of Standard Support is a newer term Canonical have been using to replace End of Life (for LTS releases) when the reach the end of their 5 year freely supported window (ie. when LTS transitions to ESM).

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS reached EOL using older terminology 2019-04-25 (http://fridge.ubuntu.com/2019/05/02/ubuntu-14-04-trusty-tahr-reached-end-of-life-on-april-25-2019-esm-available/) and the Fridge post reflects that (using language in header consistent with prior LTS EOL's). Canonical though wanted to use the term End of Standard Support.

Users of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS had the choice of release-upgrading to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to still receive updates, or start paying for security upgrades and switch themselves to Ubuntu 14.04 ESM (Extended Support) though Ubuntu Advantage.

Ubuntu LTS (desktop; Unity for 16.04 LTS, GNOME for 18.04 LTS), server and main products come with 5 years of free support, however flavors of LTS products only generally have 3 years of such support (the exceptions are shorter lives, not longer). Thus whilst Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is still covered in the initial 5 years of support (see http://fridge.ubuntu.com/2019/03/01/ubuntu-16-04-6-lts-released/), Lubuntu 16.04 LTS along with all other flavors (excluding Ubuntu Kylin 16.04 LTS) are EOL as they only came with 3 years. If you installed a 16.04 LTS flavor (such as Lubuntu) your desktop, programs or anything added from 'universe' will be unsupported, as can be seen by running ubuntu-support-status where you'll have a good number of packages in the unsupported category.

In essence, you should read your release notes and take note of what it states. Ubuntu Studio 18.04 was not a LTS release, so assumptions should not be made (ie. seeing 18.04 doesn't mean LTS!). People using Ubuntu Studio 18.04 need to add a PPA for extended support for that flavor as has been covered in numerous posts to get their 3 years (flavor) of support.

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