Is it possible to upgrade Ubuntu 16.04 LTS running on an AWS vm to Ubuntu Pro to gain access to the extended support? Or do I need to spin up a new instance?


Is it possible to upgrade Ubuntu 16.04 LTS running on an AWS vm to Ubuntu Pro to gain access to the extended support?

Never ever for whatever reason do you upgrade an instance.

Or do I need to spin up a new instance?

Always create a new instance.

And for the simplest of reasons: you do not have a live session, nor do you have access to GRUB. If the boot fails due to some stupid error your instance is dead, gone, never to return and you will need to depend on backups to restore your system. You only take that risk when you are toying around with instances.

Besides that:

4th December 2019 – Canonical today announced the availability of Ubuntu Pro images for Amazon Web Services (AWS). Available via AWS Marketplace, covering Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, 16.04 LTS and 18.04 LTS, these new premium images allow enterprises to purchase extended maintenance, broader security coverage, and critical compliance features by simply selecting and running an image on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) — with no contract required.

Ubuntu Pro IS an image. Not an upgrade from another version.


Ubuntu 16.04 ESM

I tried out ESM on Ubuntu 14.04, (16.04 should be the same). It was pretty easy to set up.

I started out by installing an Ubuntu 14.04.4 ISO I had in my downloads folder. (I probably should have downloaded ubuntu-14.04.6-desktop-amd64.iso from https://releases.ubuntu.com/14.04/) . At this point we at least know for a fact that the downloading of 14.04 and 16.04 Desktop and Server is fully supported by Canonical.

During the install process I selected the option to download updates while installing. I think that if I would have used point release 6, there might have been fewer updates and the process might have gone faster.

It was a pleasure to log into 14.04 after so long, sort of nostalgic.

First priority was security. For 14.04 and 16.04, this means signing up for Ubuntu Advantage (UA) client and installing ESM.

The Ubuntu discourse page for information on installing Ubuntu ESM is https://discourse.ubuntu.com/t/ubuntu-advantage-client/21788. the page directed me to https://ubuntu.com/advantage where I completed the registration process and ended up with a free token.

Back on https://discourse.ubuntu.com/t/ubuntu-advantage-client/21788 I continued with Installing the UA client by running a couple of commands as instructed. Next I proceeded to Attach the UA client. I ran the line I got when registering sudo ua attach [UNIQUECODE], (Please use your own free token).

Running sudo ua status I confirmed that ESM was enabled.

I completed the upgrade by running sudo apt update and then sudo apt upgrade. The installer ran for quite a while.

I ran Software Updater and It installed quite a few security updates. All Settings/Overview tells me System Up-To-Date.

It appears to me that Canonical is truly supporting Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 for free. The question is whether Ask Ubuntu will also continue to support Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 until their End of Life as claimed on the Help page?


  • 1 small issue: AWS is a little bit different than a normal install. – Rinzwind Apr 12 at 8:17
  • @Rinzwind I do not recall a need to reboot while setting up ESM. Updating process seems to me to be the same as before ESM. Is this not true with instances? I would agree that a backup is recommended before proceeding. I better study AWS a little more. – C.S.Cameron Apr 12 at 8:46
  • Yes and no. You can upgrade but it is far too risky. Since Canonical provides instances for this it is far easier to connect a copy of your personal partition to a copy of instance. And after that you can burn your old instance if wanted. – Rinzwind Apr 12 at 10:39
  • @Rinzwind So what provision is there for continuing to receive security for 14.04 and 16.04 with AWS without cost? Some poor people have a valid reason not to upgrade to 18.04 and higher. Are these Canonical instances free? – C.S.Cameron Apr 12 at 10:46
  • Same rules apply... you create a new instance of your old instance and you alter the new instance. You do not mess with your current instance. And only when the new instance is working as intended you can burn the old one (or keep it as a backup) – Rinzwind Apr 12 at 10:50

You do not need to change anything if you want ESM. After April 22 simply sign up for it.

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