Confusion over ESM and "Standard Support" vs. End of LIfe

Thomas Ward teward at
Wed Feb 17 02:50:59 UTC 2021


I am emailing you specifically on this as there is no dedicated 
Canonical contact.  I am also CCing the Community Council and the 
Technical Board for awareness, as this is not only a community related 
question but a technical related one as it may dictate 
technically-defined limitations on support mediums such as IRC and others.

Ever since ESM has been made available for 12.04 and 14.04, there has 
been increasing confusion as to what "standard support" means, and how 
it applies to community support mediums such as IRC, the Forums, Ask 
Ubuntu, etc.  Traditionally, it has been accepted that if a release goes 
End of Life, it is no longer supported by the community support 
mechanisms.  Indeed, with 12.04 ESM this held true on Ask Ubuntu [1] in 
the past, mostly because "We really should be pushing people to upgrade 
to stay on a supported release, even if you can get extended security 
updates via ESM because most "new" software won't support old libraries, 
and ESM is more or less an extension of time for you to have to upgrade 
to newer or for old legacy solutions that need to be kept until 
replacement solutions can be found."

However, this question once again is rearing its head on Ask Ubuntu [2], 
and though it hasn't landed at the IRC level (as most people don't go 
into depth with the argument of "But ESM!" among other things), I would 
like to establish governance that is official as to how "End of Life" is 
determined from the community's perspective, and would like hard 
definitions for the Ubuntu "Standard Support" and "End of Life", and at 
what point the community support mechanisms are officially no longer 
capable of supporting a given release.

To point at IRCC decisions and policy, the factoids for 14.04 as a prime 
example still quote "end of life" and ESM:

 > Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) was the 20th release of Ubuntu. 
!End-of-life was April 25th, 2019. Paid support (ESM) is available. See 
also !esm, !eol, !eolupgrade

 > End-Of-Life is when security updates and support for an Ubuntu 
release stop. Make sure to update Ubuntu before it goes EOL so you get 
updates promptly for newly-discovered security vulnerabilities. See and for more info. Looking to upgrade from 
an EOL release? See

However, as you can see, the "End of Life" name in the original factoid 
and "End of Life" definition no longer match Canonical's definitions as 
the EOL date is not April 2019, but April 2024 per the wiki [3].

We also have conflicting information about what Ubuntu Advantage 
Infrastructure Essential actually entails, as I stated above, as people 
simply lump "ESM" and "Support" together at the global / general level 
without understanding ESM or UA-I and what it does/doesn't entitle you 
to in terms of general support.

Therefore, I would like to achieve the following with discussions and 
insight from you and relevant Canonical teams as well:

  1. Clarification on the actual definitions of "Standard Support" vs. 
"End of Life"

  2. More concrete clarification on the difference between "Standard 
Support" and "ESM" and what ESM actually implies given that there is a 
'free" version of UA-I Essential that's available for 3 systems (50 for 
official members) which has no paid support contract attached (but no 
definition of "No support contract" distinctly), and

  3. Based on the response to points 1 and 2, governance regarding 
"Community Support Mediums and the definition of Community End of 
Life/Support of a Given Release" which can then distinctly and 
concretely define:

     A) at what point community support for a release is no longer 
available (or alternatively, should not be available) via the IRC chat, 
mailing lists, and other support mediums such as Ask Ubuntu (which tends 
to follow Ubuntu / Canonical / CC advisories even though they're not 
directly under Ubuntu governance), and,

     B) once community / standard support is unavailable, definition 
that ongoing support issues and need for technical or user support must 
be executed via a UA-I Standard contract (which is a Paid Support 
contract), and not "Community Support" mechanisms.

Opinions are welcome on this message, as is your suggested guidance and 
insight into this, Mark.


Ubuntu Community Council Member




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