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Thread: My grandma is still on Lubuntu 18.04 until COVID-19 lockdown is lifted

  1. #1
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    My grandma is still on Lubuntu 18.04 until COVID-19 lockdown is lifted

    I'm maintaining my grandma's old laptop and I've installed Lubuntu 18.04 on it back in 2018, but now, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, I cannot go out and visit her and upgrade her laptop, so what are the dangers of her using Lubuntu 18.04 past it's EOL which is this month.

    She uses the laptop for Facebook, Gmail and YouTube.

  2. #2
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    Re: My grandma is still on Lubuntu 18.04 until COVID-19 lockdown is lifted

    EoL system should be upgraded, let me start with this is case what I'm going to say next is misinterpreted.

    The risks are minimal.
    LTS releases have a 5 years support cycle which is reduced to only 3 for flavors like Lubuntu. This means that Lubuntu desktop specific packages won't be updated/patched after its EoL that you correctly identified. However, the common Ubuntu core will still get updates and arguably the potential exploits are in it rather in the desktop specific part but is conceivable that things can go wrong with Lubuntu specific things as well.

    Please keep in mind I'm NOT a security expert, very far from it. If a true expert replies here saying that what I posted is rubbish, please ignore me and listen to them.

  3. #3
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    Re: My grandma is still on Lubuntu 18.04 until COVID-19 lockdown is lifted

    Thanks for this answer. In my case I have no choice since I cannot visit my grandma right now and with the cases of COVID-19 going up in my country, I might not be able to visit my grandma until next year.

  4. #4
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    Re: My grandma is still on Lubuntu 18.04 until COVID-19 lockdown is lifted

    I'm not a security expert, either, but I agree with CelticWarrior.

    It's all the same software from the same repositories. The base bits - kernel, drivers, libraries, and so on - are maintained by Canonical, and they'll provide security updates and bugfixes for the five years. The Lubuntu-specific bits (and equivalents for the other flavours) are maintained by the Lubuntu team, which is way smaller and doesn't have the resources to maintain multiple releases for an extended period.

    There's a command you can use, which I can't remember, to see which parts have support for how long.

    As long as your grandmother is installing all the security updates that come down the pipe, you should be fine. Obviously keep an eye out for any problems that are specific to LXDE and reconsider if any crop up. Upgrade when you get the chance.

  5. #5
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    Re: My grandma is still on Lubuntu 18.04 until COVID-19 lockdown is lifted

    I agree with what's already been provided.

    I think `ubuntu-support-status` is the command @CatKiller couldn't recall; `ubuntu-security-status` for later releases, both of which (for appropriate releases) can be used to see what is still supported, what isn't supported etc.

    I'd evaluate the decision on what applications are being used. My guess is the primary program being used is a browser; so I'd recommend for sure using a supported browser eg. https://packages.ubuntu.com/bionic-updates/firefox which you'll note isn't a Lubuntu specific package thus will be supported beyond just this month (being a 'main' repository package)


    I have Lubuntu 18.04 LTS on a couple of systems here, and I'm not in any hurry yet to upgrade them. Likely significant though; they aren't my primary boxes (this box is and it's running hirsute and it'll be likely next to upgrade), but some of my 18.04 boxes are x86/i386 only so can't upgrade to a supported release (as 19.04 was last for i386), so for me it'll likely be switching to Debian.

  6. #6
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    Re: My grandma is still on Lubuntu 18.04 until COVID-19 lockdown is lifted

    Quote Originally Posted by guiverc View Post
    I agree with what's already been provided.

    I think `ubuntu-support-status` is the command @CatKiller couldn't recall; `ubuntu-security-status` for later releases, both of which (for appropriate releases) can be used to see what is still supported, what isn't supported etc.

    I'd evaluate the decision on what applications are being used. My guess is the primary program being used is a browser; so I'd recommend for sure using a supported browser eg. https://packages.ubuntu.com/bionic-updates/firefox which you'll note isn't a Lubuntu specific package thus will be supported beyond just this month (being a 'main' repository package)
    Yes, my grandma is using Firefox. Everything she needs was installed by default already. All I did was configure everything for her, like larger fonts on both system and Firefox because of her poor eyesight.

    Quote Originally Posted by guiverc View Post
    I have Lubuntu 18.04 LTS on a couple of systems here, and I'm not in any hurry yet to upgrade them. Likely significant though; they aren't my primary boxes (this box is and it's running hirsute and it'll be likely next to upgrade), but some of my 18.04 boxes are x86/i386 only so can't upgrade to a supported release (as 19.04 was last for i386), so for me it'll likely be switching to Debian.
    Thanks for the info, and damn, my grandma's laptop is 32-bit only too, so I can't upgrade her at all. I have no experience with Debian and I heard it's harder to maintain and configure and I heard that Linus Torvalds had a hard time installing Debian himself. Is Debian grandparent friendly?
    Last edited by salamilimos; April 2nd, 2021 at 09:28 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: My grandma is still on Lubuntu 18.04 until COVID-19 lockdown is lifted

    Quote Originally Posted by salamilimos View Post
    damn, my grandma's laptop is 32-bit only too
    It's worth checking that it's actually 32-bit, and not just "came with 32-bit Windows." Early 64-bit Windows versions were terrible, so 64-bit hardware came with 32-bit Windows for a long time.

  8. #8
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    Re: My grandma is still on Lubuntu 18.04 until COVID-19 lockdown is lifted

    Quote Originally Posted by CatKiller View Post
    It's worth checking that it's actually 32-bit, and not just "came with 32-bit Windows." Early 64-bit Windows versions were terrible, so 64-bit hardware came with 32-bit Windows for a long time.
    Yes, I've checked it, it is 32-bit only.

  9. #9
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    Re: My grandma is still on Lubuntu 18.04 until COVID-19 lockdown is lifted

    I had Debian on an old 32-bit EeePC until very recently. I have a rather peculiar way of installing, so I can't really comment about the inherent difficulty, but once it's set up, it chugs along like any other distro. A suggestion is that you try Debian in a VM and see for yourself.

    I suspect that a good deal is going to depend on the actual hardware involved. If it's something that's fairly mainstream, I would think that the install process is going to be relatively painless. The fun starts when you have some unusual piece of hardware and have to go looking for drivers and obscure configurations.
    Ubuntu membership via Forums contributions
    BACKUP before installing or upgrading.

  10. #10
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    Re: My grandma is still on Lubuntu 18.04 until COVID-19 lockdown is lifted

    Quote Originally Posted by salamilimos View Post
    Yes, my grandma is using Firefox. Everything she needs was installed by default already. ...

    .. Thanks for the info, and damn, my grandma's laptop is 32-bit only too, so I can't upgrade her at all. I have no experience with Debian and I heard it's harder to maintain and configure and I heard that Linus Torvalds had a hard time installing Debian himself. Is Debian grandparent friendly?
    If you were using Ubuntu 18.04 Desktop, everything that comes by default comes with 5 years of support, as they include only packages from 'main'.

    All the Lubuntu specific packages are from 'universe' where 3 years is full-life for a LTS release; so note it's only because `firefox` is also provided with Ubuntu Desktop that it has longer support (ie. a package Lubuntu uses from main Ubuntu Desktop). For details on repositories you can see https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Repositories/Ubuntu

    As for Debian, I tend to think of Ubuntu and Debian as being ~identical in almost every way. I use both and switch from one to the other ignoring which I'm using as I do see them as both the same for all practical purposes (I started as a Debian user though; maybe significant)

    I'll note the following differences though

    - Ubuntu and Debian release at different times, so they never perfectly align, and using Debian packages on a Ubuntu system, or Ubuntu intended packages on a Debian system involves risk and thus should be avoided; just as using a package built for one release (eg. trusty or 14.04) in another system (eg. bionic or 18.04).

    - Repositories have different names, but so what (eg. 'universe' in Ubuntu is 'contrib' in Debian), and other superficial issues that can trip up a newbie

    - Kernel modules (drivers) are easier in Ubuntu, as there are extra tools provided in Ubuntu systems like `ubuntu-drivers` but most of my hardware doesn't require this anyway; I do usually use the non-free Debian ISOs (Debian defaults to 'free' only, Ubuntu includes 'non-free' by default requiring you to purposely select 'free' only). FYI: I think it's the free/non-free that catches most users; many not even realizing Ubuntu has a 'free' install option, and some Debian users using 'free' media expecting it to be like a Ubuntu (with non-free as default)

    I've probably confused you, but 'free as in freedom, not as in free beer'.

    free = all free software, fully open-source
    non-free = no $cost to use but no source code provided (binaries only available), no freedom to modify, reverse-engineer it etc.

    I do see Debian as equally grandparent friendly as Ubuntu.

    FYI: if I have a system I tend to know I'll ignore and thus it'll fall behind in upgrades.. I tend to opt for Debian as I've generally found it easier to bring up to date than Ubuntu (but that could just be how I use the two)
    Last edited by guiverc; April 3rd, 2021 at 12:40 AM.

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