Canonical has announced that Ubuntu 12.04 LTS “Precise Pangolin” will be supported on the desktop for five years, which is longer than a normal long term support release. LTS releases normally receive security and bug fix updates for three years on desktops, and five years on servers. Canonical cites business deployments of Ubuntu desktops as creating the demand for a longer support period.
Ubuntu’s fourth LTS release comes at a time when the product has seen unprecedented uptake at a large scale in a variety of businesses. Qualcomm, the City of Munich, LVM have all spoken recently of their use of Ubuntu at large scale.
I’m sure most enthusiasts keep their systems up with the latest releases, but I can definitely see a use for longer desktop support. Over the years I’ve set up a few family members with Linux systems, some of which now have severely out of date software. Since these Linux systems just keep working with little to no maintenance, I don’t get around to upgrading them. Once 12.04 is released I’ll be able to install that for family members and not have to upgrade them for five years.