back to article Canonical preps security lifeboat, yells: Ubuntu 12.04 hold-outs, get in

Canonical is extending the deadline for security updates for paying users of its five-year-old Ubuntu 12.04 LTS – a first. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS will become the first Long Term Support release of Canonical’s Linux to get Extended Security Maintenance (ESM). There are six LTS editions. All others have been end-of-lifed – and given …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Interesting situation

    I'm looking forward to seeing a comparison table between MS XP/Win 7 EOL and public reaction to it, and this.

    Somehow, I doubt that there will be as many holdouts, and I doubt even more that the rest will be pointing their fingers and laughing as much.

    1. AdamWill

      Re: Interesting situation

      Oh, you'd be surprised. I work for Red Hat. RHEL 4 (released 2005) is still in extended support until the end of this month (and we're likely to still have people using it on 'bespoke' support deals after that).

  2. wheelybird

    On the plus side

    Ubuntu does make the process of upgrading your distribution one of the least traumatic around (that is, for distributions with distinct releases).

    Of course, this will all be moot in the glorious future of minimal OSes running nowt but a container engine. :D

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: On the plus side

      The distro-upgrade usually only works if you have a fairly simple mount arrangement, I have tried it and sometimes it works a charm, other time it failed miserably on machines with odd mounting setups and/or MD RAID in use.

      My advice is always put /home on a separate partition, and if you have the space leave a blank ~50GB one as well. Next distro comes along, install it in the unused partition, and once working edit its /etc/fstab file to mount your old /home partition again.

      Once happy, you can overwrite your old root partition when yet another new distro is available.

    2. Nate Amsden Silver badge

      Re: On the plus side

      Do they make it easy now? in the past it was not a supported path to do a major version upgrade. I upgraded my company's systems from 10.04 to 12.04 years ago and the process at the time was entirely unsupported, and it took many hours of trial and error to get a robust way to do the upgrade.

      Debian by contrast (debian user since 1998) has always(as far as I know) supported major version upgrades. I believed since Ubuntu was based on Debian it should of been possible to do a major version change on Ubuntu even if it wasn't supported (thankfully we have VM level snapshots where I was able to test, break, revert snapshot, test break, revert snapshot until I figured it out)

      And for those more techie, to give an example as what I had to do to do the upgrade, here is a snip from the script:


      export DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive

      debconf-set-selections /mnt/scratch/tmp/ubuntu-upgrade/precise.preseed

      apt-get -y -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confdef" -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confold" upgrade

      debconf-set-selections /mnt/scratch/tmp/ubuntu-upgrade/precise.preseed

      apt-get -y -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confdef" -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confold" install dpkg util-linux

      apt-get -y -f install -o APT::Immediate-Configure=false python2.7-minimal passwd

      debconf-set-selections /mnt/scratch/tmp/ubuntu-upgrade/precise.preseed

      apt-get -y -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confdef" -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confold" dist-upgrade

      debconf-set-selections /mnt/scratch/tmp/ubuntu-upgrade/precise.preseed

      apt-get -y -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confdef" -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confold" install nsca-client

      apt-get -y -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confdef" -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confold" install nfs-common

      apt-get -y install vmware-open-vm-tools-kmod-3.2.0-41-generic

      dpkg --purge linux-headers-2.6.32-37 linux-headers-2.6.32-37-server linux-image-2.6.32-37-server vmware-open-vm-tools-kmod-2.6.32-37-server

      apt-get -y autoremove

      dpkg --get-selections | grep deinstall | awk '{print $1}' |xargs dpkg --purge


      It wasn't a simple apt-get dist-upgrade by any stretch ! I had to upgrade those named packages in that order else the upgrade would not complete. There was more to the script but that was the core dpkg stuff I used to upgrade from 10.04 LTS -> 12.04 LTS. I recall an earlier version of Ubuntu was it 7 or 8 maybe I had installed on my sister's laptop, I went through their GUI dist upgrade on that system and it mostly worked but still required some command line magic to get it to complete(I think it got halfway done and when I rebooted X was broken turns out there was a hundred or so packages that did not upgrade the first time round). Had a similar experience upgrading Mint recently on one of my laptops (I believe I read mint has a no upgrade policy too, though in the Mint experience I just clicked the upgrade button it wanted me to click on to upgrade, so I think that should of worked).

      I remember back in the early days of Fedora where they had 6 month cycles(maybe still do haven't had to use Fedora since 2007) they too had a no upgrade policy, and I think back then it was far more dicey to upgrade Fedora rather than reinstall, though I think I read in recent years that it is possible to do major version changes in fedora without reinstalling.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: On the plus side

        They only support version to version, or LTS to LTS, so you can't skip one.

        So 12.04 -> 14.04 works, but not 12.04 -> 16.04

        Or 12.10 -> 13.04 but not 12.10 -> 13.10

        1. streaky Silver badge

          Re: On the plus side

          Desktops seem to be more complicated than servers in my experience, never had a dist-upgrade fail on a servers but I see it all the time on desktops. Never really figured out why but they're usually fixable if you have even reasonably basic knowledge of linux.

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: On the plus side

            For a desktop Mint installation) and before that, Ubuntu, I've managed to keep a separate /home partition and re-install. So far, all the numbers have added up and by ticking the appropriate boxes during the install, a new install has done a clean job with the existing /home having all the right permissions.

        2. tr1ck5t3r

          Re: On the plus side

          Theres backdoors in all the software and hardware though, so why people are wasting money on support contracts, just demonstrates their stupidity because they cant even carry out simple tests to prove the existence of the backdoors.

    3. cmaurand

      Re: On the plus side

      I've tried upgrades of 3 12.04 machines. 1 was successful. 1 thinks it's 14.04, but the upgrade failed and I have one that all of the libraries and files for 14.04 installed, but it thinks it's 12.04. Upgrading is not all that painless. Both of those machines do not behave very well as guests. They're both about to be wiped.

      1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

        Re: On the plus side

        "I've tried upgrades of 3 12.04 machines."

        That's the one thing I've yet to understand, if a machine's kernel and all its packages are updated to be the same as the new release, shouldn't the system count it as the new release? A sort of "Ship of Theseus" problem, I suppose.

        But the mess with trying to label Linux distros by a version number is why I decided to roll my own (well, one of). I don't need any of the thousand and one packages that the various distros think I need (Like that Unity bullshit from a few years ago...)

  3. Mage Silver badge


    Pretty simple to change desktop without dataloss or re-install. Harder to switch distro, (say Linux Mint with Mate) without fresh install, but switching to a later Linux distro than Ubuntu 12.04 is painless compared to XP to Vista, Win7 (bug fixed Vista), mad Win8.x or especially Train-wreck Win10

    Dos User from 1981 to Dos 6.22

    CP/M 80 from 1980 to 1992

    Unix family from 1984

    Linux seriously since 1999

    Windows 3.0, 3.x, 95, 98

    NT from 3.5 to XP (server 2003) and supporting evil Vista, Win8 Win 10 (mostly replacing last 3)

    Supporting some Win7 still.

    Upgrade of a server recently from Linux Mint 17 to Mint 18.3 was painless. Without any data loss or re-install. Try that on NT4.0 to Server 2003 or Server 2003 to later?

    So really only windows left is 7, no comparison between XP hold outs and older Linux version users.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Also

      Where did you get Mint 18.3? I'm still on 18.1

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Mint 18.1

        Coffee / chocolate fail?

        I'm confusing 17.1 17.2 17.3 and 18.1, obviously.

  4. frank ly Silver badge

    Same old story

    “While it’s easy to upgrade to the next version of Ubuntu… we wanted to enable those that have big deployments of 12.04 more runway to plan effectively ..."

    If they'd planned effectively then they'd be on 14.04 by now and be exploring options for an upgrade to 16.04.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Same old story

      16.04 is the obvious way to go...but it has stupid systemd-related problems that are still not fixed "out of the box" a year on. Such as:

      NTP failing because ntpdate is taking longer

      Shut-down/reboot scripts hanging for ~1m30

      Stuff added in /etc/modules being ignored because its in a blacklist (e.g. watchdog drivers) which is fscking stupid - blacklisting is supposed to only apply to auto-detected modules.

  5. Missing Semicolon Silver badge


    There's the thing.

    12.04 still uses sysvinit/Upstart.

    1. saif

      Re: Systemd

      Would be very interesting to know how many takers there are...This would be a useful metric to see if everybody jumped ship too early, and if there is a potential for Devuan.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poetterix beckons

    Surprised that people aren't falling over themselves to get into 16.04 with sysemtd? I mean who isn't craving a monolithic piece of bloatware designed for the desktop in the image of Redmond's finest?

    I definitely love my headless servers to get randomly stuck on reboots because systemd had issues cleanly un-mounting some partition for reasons known only to itself.

    Also loving the constant reboot requirements when updates for it come in. We now have live kernel patching only to completely negate this benefit by swapping in a reboot happy desktop grade init system.

    How did we ever live without binary system logs? I mean why did it take over 40 years to come up with that "innovation" on 'nix. And let's not forget systemd's unique ability to segfault... such a pile of c**p. Mine's the 14.04 and soon enough the exile on planet BSD after 2019.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Poetterix beckons

      Here we go again. We've had mainstream distros using the dreaded 'systemd' for a while now and hey, the world hasn't ended yet.

      It is just different from the old system.

      I have to own up to abusing the old ini system in the past. You could hack it to your hearts content.

      I had to do that because of the limitations of it. Remember the Unix world was a very different place when the old init system was designed.

      Things are very much more complex these days and we needed something new.

      So far (touch wood) I've had no issues with systemd.

      Only time will tell if it is a step (or several) steps too far but for most Distros, there is no going back.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Poetterix beckons

        It is just different from the old system.

        Indeed. The old system was simple and stable, systemd is overcomplex, buggy & flakey.

    2. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

      Re: Poetterix beckons

      And the gods help you if your system isn't EN-*. Systemd's config parser will shit the bed if one of your config files contains a character not in the ASCII set, even if those characters are in comments or other free-text fields (Like in email addresses or someone's name)

      Had a headless / remote server die on me because of that. SysV worked quite well with non-latin characters (Specifically 'ø', which exists right in the middle of my name...). The configuration file was updated automatically from our config management system (and had my name and version/date information in comments at the top).

      Since none of our systems -require- Linux, we've been moving everything over to non-systemd Open/FreeBSD (everything either has a BSD package for it or the code will compile just fine on BSD)

      1. Walter Bishop Silver badge

        Re: Poetterix beckons

        'All configuration files are expected to be 7-bit ASCII or valid UTF8'

  7. Spoonsinger

    I like Dapper Drake. IGMC.

  8. Updraft102 Silver badge


    I upgraded Mint 17.3 to 18.0 with instructions provided on the Mint site:

    I ran into minor issues on one of my two PCs, but with the meager knowledge I'd gained after a few months of using Linux, I was able to get it straightened out, and both installations continue to work well now after an even easier upgrade to 18.1.

    Mint, BTW, can be started with Upstart or systemd. Both configurations are part of a normal Mint install; just pick which you want from the GRUB menu. Mint dev Clem has said he doesn't think systemd is ready to be used exclusively yet, so users can pick whichever they want.

  9. John Crisp

    init holdouts

    Think they'll have even more of a struggle getting people off Trusty 14.04 as that entails jumping into the systemd swamp.

    I've been sitting on the fence and weighing options on our next OS as I have until Apr 2019 to complete the move, but one decision I have already made is it will be to a non-systemd OS.

    It's been interesting seeing who has gone which way, and the development of non-systemd systems. Still not sure on the best option as yet, though *bsd seems the way to go.

    My view on systemd:

    One Ring to rule them all,

    One Ring to find them,

    One Ring to bring them all

    and in the darkness bind them

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