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Thread: What exactly is long term support?

  1. #1
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    What exactly is long term support?

    I’ve always wondered this: what does “long term support” mean to the average user? Personally, my idea of support in Linux is forums like this, so I’ve never understood why I should pay attention to which releases have LTS. Is there something I’m missing?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Re: What exactly is long term support?

    Long Term Support releases (referring to the desktop version here) are releases of Ubuntu backed by 4 years of security updates and bug fixes. Also they tend to get backports from the release that proceeded them such as the newer kernel and newer software like Firefox updates.

    12.04 was the first release to see 5 years of support.

  3. #3
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    Re: What exactly is long term support?

    As far as Ubuntu/Canonical is concerned, it means they'll provide security updates and bug fixes for that version.

  4. #4
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    Re: What exactly is long term support?

    Infinite diversity in infinite combination.

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  5. #5
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    Re: What exactly is long term support?

    Quote Originally Posted by JLeon85 View Post
    I’ve always wondered this: what does “long term support” mean to the average user? Personally, my idea of support in Linux is forums like this, so I’ve never understood why I should pay attention to which releases have LTS. Is there something I’m missing?

    Thanks.
    Basically it means you get a stable Desktop OS for 5 years that is kept up to date with Security Updates until it reaches end of support.

    If you want something that changes every six months (with all the problems that arise with new versions) then you use the "normal" Ubuntu releases, if you want something reliable that does not change then you stick with a LTS release.

    People have the choice of being "Crash Test Dummies" using new releases as soon as they become available so they get all the new toys and lastest versions of apps, or they stick with the current LTS and have something dependable that they know how to use.
    Last edited by dcstar; March 23rd, 2013 at 09:08 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Re: What exactly is long term support?

    As above, but two more important things to note:

    1. When support for a distro ends, its repositories get removed (well, actually, just moved). So, long term support means you can continue to install software on that distro for longer.

    2. Canonical sells support contracts including phone and e-mail support. They will be able to provide phone and e-mail support to their customers for any supported version of Ubuntu, but not any unsupported versions.

    Typically, Ubuntu Forums people are stricter on support lengths. Although Ubuntu 10.04 is still supported and will be for another month, if you post a question about 10.04 you'll probably have most people telling you to upgrade and not being able to help you with such an old version. When 13.10 comes out, you'll probably have increased difficulty in getting forum support for 12.04.
    I try to treat the cause, not the symptom. I avoid the terminal in instructions, unless it's easier or necessary. My instructions will work within the Ubuntu system, instead of breaking or subverting it. Those are the three guarantees to the helpee.

  7. #7
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    Re: What exactly is long term support?

    Thanks for all the explanations, now I totally get it. Most people want all the latest bells & whistles, but once you have a really stable installation I can understand not wanting to upgrade.

  8. #8
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    Re: What exactly is long term support?

    You are welcome.

  9. #9
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    Re: What exactly is long term support?

    LTS is basically getting 5 years of support/updates, etc. from the release date. Helpful for big companies who can't update their PCs operating system every 18 (1.5) years. The average user should be fine doing the in place upgrade to newer versions.
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  10. #10
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    Re: What exactly is long term support?

    Some of us like both.

    So we install the LTS and keep that current as the main working version, but the also install the newest to try out, see how well it works, maybe see if updates to some of the software may be worth the change and just help on bugs or being able to create work arounds for issues to help others in the forum.

    If you have really new hardware sometimes the newest kernel will support it better also. For the first time 12.04 changed kernels with 12.04.2. Always before a version kept the same kernel for its entire support period.

    I think the issue is that many of the new hardware can only be supported with new kernel so with a 5 year support kernel will have to be periodically updated.
    Last edited by oldfred; March 23rd, 2013 at 05:18 PM.
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