32.Lock Code Circular

Canonical has announced extending Ubuntu's long-term support (LTS) to 12 years, providing security coverage from the initial release. While regular LTS releases receive 5 years of standard security updates, subscribing to Ubuntu Pro adds 5 years.

The new Legacy Support add-on offers an extra 2 years, resulting in a total LTS support period of 12 years. This move aims to provide organizations with peace of mind, stability, and extended security maintenance. For security practitioners, this raises questions about the implications for infrastructure, migration strategies, and the impact on critical systems.

What Are the Implications of This Decision? 

Business CybersecurityCanonical's decision to extend LTS support for Ubuntu raises several intriguing points. Firstly, this move targets organizations rather than home users. Upgrading production systems is not a simple task for businesses, enterprises, research labs, educational institutions, and cloud services. The upgrades often involve downtime, compatibility issues, and potentially costly software stack adjustments. Therefore, the extended LTS support caters to those prioritizing system stability and security over the latest packages.

From a security practitioner's perspective, this extended support brings benefits and challenges. On one hand, it offers a longer time frame for planning and executing migration strategies without jeopardizing security. Organizations can take the necessary time to ensure a smooth transition to newer versions of Ubuntu. This additional time can be invaluable for conducting thorough compatibility tests, addressing hardware upgrades, and resolving any incompatibilities with critical software stacks. By proactively protecting systems, security practitioners can ensure a secure environment for their infrastructure.

On the other hand, there are concerns regarding the implications of prolonged support. The end of support date for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS has been extended to April 2026 rather than April of the current year. While this allows organizations more time to plan and upgrade, it also means running older systems for an extended period. This raises questions on whether older LTS releases can keep up with evolving security threats and whether they will be equipped to handle emerging risks effectively. Furthermore, security practitioners must evaluate the potential impact on their organizations' compliance requirements, as extended use of outdated systems may conflict with industry standards.

Our Final Thoughts on Canonical's Announcement to Extend LTS of Ubuntu

Canonical's decision to offer 12 years of LTS support for Ubuntu brings benefits and considerations for security practitioners. It allows organizations ample time for migration planning and provides stability for critical systems. However, concerns arise about the ability of older LTS releases to keep up with evolving security threats and compliance standards. This extended support highlights the delicate balance between security, system stability, and the need to embrace updated technology. Security practitioners must carefully evaluate the implications, ensuring that their organizations balance maintaining security and staying relevant in an ever-changing digital landscape.