This is a rather general question, but I'd really like to know where I got it wrong. Less than a year ago on one of my laptops, I installed Ubuntu 12.04 precise (Kernel 3.8.x) Now I am told that HWE support is running out and I have to manually install trusty components. How does this combine with "LTS". Especially as there are discussions that this update is not as straight forward as the update instructions suggest.

So did I miss something in the small print in the first place? Note, if you are new to Ubuntu and get an LTS promise, you surely do not check the wiki on HWE, or care about kernel versions. (...now I do...)

  • It seems that something is not clear, 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) is still in support until 2017-04.
    – Mitch
    Jul 21, 2014 at 7:14
  • @mitch End-of-life (EOL) for 12.04, 12.04.1, and 12.04.5 HWE is April 2017 but for the other HWE stacks it is roughly when 14.04.1 is released: Aug 8, 2014.
    – Rinzwind
    Jul 21, 2014 at 7:26
  • lsb_release -a gives 12.04.4 LTS or 12.04 precise. It has Kernel uname -r 3.8.0-40. So according to the HWE wiki I am affected by the EOL and so I am told from the update manager. Still it says LTS, does it not? Jul 21, 2014 at 7:28
  • @Rinzwind. Exactly, there is a difference between the 12.04 EOL and the HWE EOL. In my case I can handle the update (I guess) but assuming a normal user coming from XP this spring: how should one know about this difference? Isn't the "LTS" somewhat misleading? Jul 21, 2014 at 7:33

1 Answer 1


As far as I can tell you are told to upgrade to 12.04.5.

From the mailing list:

In an effort to support a wider variety of hardware within the 12.04 Ubuntu LTS release, the 12.04.2 and newer point releases in Precise shipped with hardware enablement stacks composed of updated kernels and graphics stacks. The intention has always been for these hardware enablement stacks to only remain supported until the introduction of the kernel and graphics stack derived from 14.04. On August 7, 2014, the 5th and final point release for 12.04 (ie. 12.04.5) will deliver the kernel and graphics stack derived from 14.04. At that time, security updates and bug fixes for older hardware enablement stacks will no longer be provided. All users of older hardware enablement stacks will be encouraged to update to the 12.04.5 hardware enablement stack or fully upgrade to 14.04 proper. For any 12.04 HWE stack users interested in making this migration prior to the August 7, 2014 deadline, we have provided a mechanism to assist with this process. First, please ensure your system is up to date with the latest package updates for Precise. Then, run the command below and follow the instructions which are output:

hwe-support-status --verbose

For further information and details, please see: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/1204_HWE_EOL

Thanks, Leann Ogasawara

From the website:

What is HWE?

Hardware Enablement Stacks (HWE) are incorporated into installers for select Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) point releases. It is a special Ubuntu feature that provides an LTS release with hardware support introduced in newer Ubuntu releases. For Ubuntu 12.04 the point releases are .2/.3/.4/.5 and the corresponding Ubuntu releases are 12.10/13.04/13.10/14.04.


End-of-life (EOL) for 12.04, 12.04.1, and 12.04.5 HWE is April 2017 but for the other HWE stacks it is roughly when 14.04.1 is released: Aug 8, 2014.

How I read this? 12.10, 13.04 and 13.10 are end of life so their HWE are end of life. 12.04 and 12.04.1 use the 12.04 HWE. All other point releases move to the 14.04 HWE.

Seems logical?

  • I read the HWE_EOL wiki. Yes it is somewhat logical. But now imagine someone changing to Ubuntu this spring, as XP was running out. You go to the Ubuntu (download) page. At that time you still got 12.04 LTS. And that is the point. You got the impression you get LTS until 2017 for the version you download. Here they do not bother the normal user with 12.04.1 or 12.04.4 and kernel versions. So where did I miss the small print here, downloading an LTS version. Jul 21, 2014 at 7:41
  • Reading carefully the statement of the mailing list the question would be: Is the update done automatically after August 7 and is it only now that I have to use command line? That would render it somewhat LTS again, meaning the normal user does not have to bother with the details. Jul 21, 2014 at 8:18
  • @mikuszefski "Is the update done automatically after August 7" depends on your update routine (if manual... it will prompt for it). "and is it only now that I have to use command line?" yes seems to be the answer :)
    – Rinzwind
    Jul 21, 2014 at 8:20
  • So if I log in by shell all the "you are running out of support... upgrade to 14.04 or at least sudo apt- get install ...trusty stuff" is unnecessarily scary. It should at most state: On Aug 7 we will do some special update you might want to do in advance by doing this and that. Hence, I don't get the necessity of the message in the first place. Guess I'll check what happens on Aug 7. I'll get prompted then (hopefully). Jul 21, 2014 at 8:55

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