we have an Ubuntu 16.04 LTS production server with application software that only supports 18.04 LTS so far, is it possible to update to that using do-release-upgrade instead of going straight to the latest LTS (i.e. 20.04)?

The man page doesn't reveal arguments to do this, do I simply not use that command and replace all occurrences of "xenial" with "bionic" in /etc/apt/sources.list and files under /etc/apt/sources.list.d/?

If so, what else do I need to keep in mind, i.e. what other things does do-release-upgrade do beyond what editing the sources.list files directly achieves?

  • 3
    There is no option to "go straight to 20.04". So run do-release-upgrade
    – Pilot6
    Feb 8, 2021 at 15:06
  • Thanks, I assumed it would go directly to newest :)
    – rndadm
    Feb 9, 2021 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


When using the do-release-upgrade command to update an Ubuntu system, it will update the system to the next major release in sequence after the current system release. This means that if you are currently running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, do-release-upgrade will choose Ubuntu 18.04 LTS as the next major release to upgrade to. It will not skip ahead to the most recent major lease (20.04 LTS in this case).

If you want to upgrade from 16.04 LTS to 18.04 LTS and not to 20.04 LTS, then just run do-release-upgrade once and stop after that has successfully completed.

  • Thanks, I didn't think of that, only remembered seeing a notice on a test server which has been upgraded to 18.04 already and assumed it would go directly to the latest.
    – rndadm
    Feb 9, 2021 at 15:50

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