Do the LTS versions of Ubuntu have any advantages for the non-paying customers (who don't get any support?)

From the tech spec only, these versions seem outdated in many aspects - mainly drivers and installed software versions.

For instance, My previous (bounty!) problem regarding the AGN 5100 drivers would have been solved under Ubuntu 9.04.


2 Answers 2


From the Releases page on the wiki:

Ubuntu releases are supported for 18 months. Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) releases are supported for 3 years on the desktop, and 5 years on the server.

This means that normal releases are will have bugfix and security updates for 18 months, while LTS releases are maintained for 3 or 5 years (depending on the version).

In other words: if you don't want to upgrade your system at least every 18 months, you'll want to use a LTS release so you'll be able to get security updates for a longer period.

As of the 12.04 LTS release, there is no distinction between server and desktop releases. LTS support is for 5 years despite release type. There is no longer any 3 year support. For a visualization of the support coverage see the Ubuntu wiki page about LTS: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LTS.

  • So I guess the regular release is aimed at workstations?
    – Adam Matan
    Aug 4, 2009 at 9:21
  • 2
    Yes, in general the regular release is probably going to be more attractive to a workstation (desktop/laptop) user, while the LTS release might be more appreciated by people running servers. Aug 4, 2009 at 13:41
  • 7
    That's not accurate ... both LTS and regular releases are available in both server and desktop versions. There are definitely reasons why to go with an LTS desktop, especially for large deployments.
    – JoelFan
    Aug 5, 2009 at 3:36

For a normal user I don't think the LTS versions provide any advantage, as the software just gets to old and troubles when installing new hardware will certainly arise. LTS however provides an advantage when you have a system that should do exactly one thing and that continuously for years to come. In those cases LTS gives you a stable system where you don't have to check if things are still working after a dist-upgrade, instead it can happily do its job without much intervention.

So in short, use normal Ubuntu for any system that you actively use and LTS for those that you don't want to ever touch again after the initial setup is done.

  • 2
    You seem to be giving people the impression that LTS isn't updated with new kernels, drivers and programs. That's not the case. What choosing LTS does is keep you from having to do a reinstall / major update (700 MB download) every 6 months (Ubuntu's release cycle is 6 months). Some people find that attractive, especially those who have a primary application that's working well with their current LTS version. Many folks who use LTS for most of their system also have another system with "current" version for test purposes.
    – hotei
    Jun 21, 2010 at 15:18

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