7

I've installed Lubuntu by following the instructions from chapter 1 of the Lubuntu manual.

In chapter 1.1, it said that I had to choose between LTS and Regular Releases. However, I was never asked to make a choice during installation. I used the image provided in the same chapter via rsync: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/lubuntu/releases/hirsute/release/lubuntu\-21.04\-desktop\-amd64.iso.zsync.

Did I do something wrong, or am I supposed to toggle on some setting to have LTS?

7
  • Dont worry about LTS on the desktop, just upgrade regularly. And remeber, that packages in the universe might not get Security updates, even before LTS runs out.
    – eckes
    May 27 at 10:32
  • Will keep that in mind. Thanks! @eckes
    – Senketsu
    May 27 at 20:32
  • If your 21.04 installation is recent, but you want LTS and are confident in your skills at installing a new system you should consider installing 20.04 (here, download under 20.04). Also, consider using a back-up tool. This one can provide you with a re-installable system already tuned/customized as you want it. By the way, are you aware of Xubuntu? As light as Lubuntu but with more options, more stable, more supported. It uses the well trusted Xfce desktop, while Lubuntu comes wit the newer and limited LXQT.
    – cipricus
    May 28 at 7:49
  • @eckes - Updating between releases can trigger a lot of problems, I am not aware what are the main factors at play (maybe odd hardware; and that no matter what Ubuntu guys say). I have just tried to get from Kubuntu 20.04 (LTS) to 21.04, got to 20.10 and the system became unusable (could not log in), so I reverted to LTS
    – cipricus
    May 28 at 8:29
  • Your initial choice of LTS seems the best to me. The fact that you ended up with a non-LTS may show you are new to Ubuntu. That's why (in order to help) I dare ask: are you aware of the different Ubuntu flavors? Have you used some of them before? Do you have special reasons to select a very light desktop instead of Gnome or Plasma?
    – cipricus
    May 28 at 8:34
28

You don't make a choice during installation.
You choose by selecting the correct release to download.

If you download 20.04, that IS an LTS release.
If you download 21.04, that's NOT an LTS release.

LTS releases occur every two years in April: 10.04, 12.04, 14.04, 16.04, 18.04, 20.04. See the pattern?

Both LTS releases and non-LTS releases are solid, stable releases of Ubuntu. You can run either and be quite happy.

3
  • 7
    Solid yes, stable maybe--but you also need to know that it will be supported for only a few months. Ubuntu 21.04's EOL is at the end of 2021, while 20.04's EOL Lis the end of 2024. (link)
    – Yehuda
    May 27 at 3:58
  • The problems come with the much praised inter-release upgrades. I think users should be aware and much more informed about how unreliable such upgrades are. After more than 10 years of using Ubuntu with various desktops I cannot trust the upgrade between release that's why I have to stay on LTS.
    – cipricus
    May 28 at 7:38
  • 1
    The OP did not ask about length of support, nor about problems you may-or-may-not have encountered. The OP did not ask "why" to choose one release over another. The OP asked only "how" to choose.
    – user535733
    May 28 at 12:36
15

21.04 is not an LTS release and cannot be turned into one (short of upgrading it into one in the future).

Currently there are 2 active LTS releases, so if you want an LTS today, these are your choices: 18.04 and 20.04. (I offer: out of which, at this point, due to it being more recent and offering 2 more years of support, 20.04 could be the more sensible choice.)

How to interpret LTS

An LTS version means: "Long Term Support" version.

It works such way that the collective of contributors decide (and pledge) that they will keep putting work into a given release (identified by the version number), to keep it alive and working flawlessly for a longer time.

In contrast, non-LTS releases mean that the contributors decide / agree to stop putting any more effort into those given versions, after a relatively short period of time. After that short support period expires, developers become free to pour their efforts into newer versions, and to tend to the ongoing needs of currently active LTS releases.

For this reason, a given version number does not have an additional LTS variant, neither a switch to enable LTS-ness.

The answer, instead, is simply: have the contributors pledged to support this given version for a longer time? The answer is a simple yes or no.

Redundant declarations?

(Note: thanks to substantial feedback from @guiverc and @ThomasWard, this section now contains updated information.)

Can such a designation as Ubuntu 20.04 LTS be considered redundant?

Well, yes and no.

In the past 10 years, it got established that every even year's April release (e.g. 16.04, 18.04, 20.04 — in which the first number designates the year, and 04, the fourth month, April) was an LTS release.

Insiders and experienced users then can recognize these releases as LTS'es, without the explicit LTS declaration.

How about the future though?

Well, in my original answer I offered that any version number matching this pattern (even in the future) would be rightfully expectable to be an LTS release (solely on the grounds of adhering to the convention). Turns out, I was wrong.

Thomas, in his answer in this thread (and in the appended clarification), revealed that however stable this ongoing pattern may come across, one should not take it as guaranteed that next releases strictly adhere to the pattern. Merely expecting it is okay though, I take it.

In case of doubt, one should be able to look up the corresponding Ubuntu flavor's documentation on releases, to check on this. Being the user of stock Ubuntu, I am familiar only with its corresponding release cycle documentation, but right now I don't know where to look up the one for Lubuntu. (Could someone suggest it please?)

(Regarding this linked document, it's also important to note that while the main Ubuntu project now offers 5 years of standard maintenance support on LTS releases, other Ubuntu flavors (including Lubuntu), as a rule of thumb, offer only 3 years.) (If interested in specific details of further variants of Ubuntu, you are advised to look those up (probably on those projects' websites).)

How to get to an LTS from Lubuntu 21.04

If you want to switch to an LTS release from your current 21.04 installation, your choices are:

  • Re-install from the 20.04 iso; this would involve destroying your current 21.04 installation, so, whether to opt for this or not, you will decide based on how much effort you have already invested into setting up your current 21.04 installation.
  • You can also keep your current 21.04, and go along with upcoming minor upgrades until you arrive at an LTS release. If you manage to do that upgrade, you will become "covered", and will have met your goal then. According to the above introduced pattern, the next LTS could be 22.04, getting released in April 2022.
    • Now, in this case you would have to plan with at least one intermediate upgrade to yet another non-LTS, 21.10. The reasons that make this step necessary are the following:
      • since 21.04 is not an LTS release, it will lose all support after a mere 9 months (according to this info here) (same as in regular Ubuntu), 3 months short before 22.04 gets released. So, to keep you covered with support (security patches) you will need to bridge over this 3 months gap by using the next minor release.
      • additionally (as I have learnt from @guiverc), the 21.04 system will never be "made aware" of the existence of the future 22.04 release, so it will not be able to perform the upgrade to 22.04. 21.04 will get enabled to upgrade only to 21.10. It will be, in turn, the 21.10 release that will get equipped with the necessary faculties (also called "upgrade path") to upgrade to 22.04.

Some further hints to help with making a choice

Non-LTS versions always tend to have fresher software ticking in them than LTS'es. This means a more recent kernel (wich includes some drivers for newer hardware), and also, more recent versions of user-space programs being available through the standard repositories. That's their main attractive side, I believe. (Btw. some similar advantages might be achieved on LTS'es too, but only at the cost of going through extra hoops.)

Now, to the strong side of LTS'es:

(L)Ubuntu (just like other Linux distributions, I presume) offers itself easily for substantive amount of tweaking and customizations. However, depending on how far you go with these, they may start to have an impact on how smooth results you may expect from upgrades. (To put it bluntly, it's about how much your installation appears to get demolished after carrying out the upgrade.) (People, in such cases come to this site and ask for hints on how to restore law and order on their machines. But it's already a headache, and extra efforts then (to put it mildly).)

So, if you are a heavy tweaker (either because — being a beginner — you plan on to try out a lot of things, or because you are someone with a strong appetite for special configurations), I would rather point you to an LTS release, which allows you to ride it out for longer, without having to worry about how any version upgrades would go, simply because you don't have to do upgrades. Your system just keeps steaming ahead on plain software updates.

Additionally — in a use-case avoiding upgrades altogether — if I ride out an LTS for 4+ years with relative convenience, then, when its support finally exprires, I don't mind at all to do a fresh install of the new LTS, and rebuild everything again. (Oops, I mean so many years with the main Ubuntu release.) (On Lubuntu, it could be somewhere between 2-3 years in optimal case, and now, considering 20.04 already being a year old, that much less.)

Sooo, yeah: you do your math, and decide from all this :)

9
  • Good answer; but "Maintenance updates will be provided for 5 years for Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Cloud, and Ubuntu Core. All the remaining flavours will be supported for 3 years." (fridge.ubuntu.com/2021/02/05/ubuntu-20-04-2-lts-released) If your 4 years meant from now; Lubuntu only has ~2 years remaining so it maybe was a typo?
    – guiverc
    May 27 at 11:02
  • I don't understand your "as I take the hint from Thomas Ward's answer (who is on the Lubuntu team)) may decide to opt out of LTS-supporting a release that would, according to the convention pattern, be expected to be LTS" as Lubuntu has no intention of that that I've heard... I'm not a Lubuntu Council member unlike Thomas, but I've not heard anything & can't see where you picked up this comment.. Not all flavors participated in the 18.04 LTS cycle, but Lubuntu hasn't missed any.
    – guiverc
    May 27 at 11:08
  • @guiverc thank you for all the corrections, I will update the answer as soon as I'm done attending to some immediate IRL errand (so in a few hours). 1.) The 4-years vs 5-years support was a memory glitch, indeed I could have seen the 5 years in the release cycle doc I have linked. 2.) 3-years LTS not only with Lubuntu but also other non-default flavors: I did not know that; now I do, thank you, I will also update that part. 3.) I took the hint from Thomas' answer, right in this thread. See his last sentence. I should have asked him to clarify that in a comment, instead of making assumptions.
    – Levente
    May 27 at 12:41
  • 1
    FYI: Ubuntu used to be 3 years too for LTS releases... then main Ubuntu (desktop server etc) was extended to 5 years; no flavor extended beyond the 3 years though (alas there are always exceptions, eg. Canonical offered to fund 5 years for Ubuntu Kylin's first LTS so it had 5 years but that was a one-off... it's always covered in release notes anyway fridge.ubuntu.com/2020/08/14/ubuntu-16-04-7-lts-released ; not a release note but my browser auto-fills/finds fridge as I'm posting there weekly+)
    – guiverc
    May 27 at 12:56
  • The problem of whether April of even-numbered years will be forever the time of LTS release seems less important to me than that of how unreliable upgrading between releases is!
    – cipricus
    May 28 at 7:55
7

There is no 21.04 that is LTS. 21.04 is a non-LTS release.

The last LTS was 20.04. The next LTS is likely to be 22.04.

1
  • 1
    @Levente "likely to be" means that typically LTS is every two years - 2018, 2020, 2022, etc. This is not 'hard coded' in stone, though, so it's likely that the trend will continue. (There is, however, no guarantee of it)
    – Thomas Ward
    May 27 at 13:53
5

If you look at the manual section you mention it states

Lubuntu offers two types of releases. The Long Term Support release, or the LTS, is the release recommended for most users. It is supported for three years after the release date and does not contain new features. Throughout the course of the cycle, the Ubuntu Kernel Team will deliver Hardware Enablement updates, or HWE updates, to Lubuntu via Linux kernel updates....

For users looking to try new features every six months at the expense of the support cycle length, Lubuntu offers interim releases, or regular releases. These releases, while they are considered stable, are testing grounds for major, new features which will be rolled into the LTS release. Users of the regular releases are typically enthusiasts and somewhat more experienced users looking for a fresher experience.

You make the decision of which you want to use, ie.

  • the LTS or long-term-support release (Lubuntu 20.04 LTS)
  • the non-LTS release, or latest stable release being Lubuntu 21.04 currently

at time of download, which is done at Lubuntu's web site.

The latest stable release is listed first (ie. 21.04/Hirsute Hippo), with the second option being Lubuntu 20.04 LTS.

You've misunderstood the choice you make, which is done before you download, not during installation.

Note: I've pasted from the stable version of the Lubuntu manual, which applies to 21.04 (not the LTS version which covers 20.04 LTS)

0

To my knowledge, 21.04 does not have an LTS release. If you want that, you'll have to install 20.04 instead.

1
  • 5
    "does not have an LTS release" — this wording still hints at limited understanding of the concept? Better understood, it would be: "is not an LTS release" (?)
    – Levente
    May 26 at 12:24

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