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Recently, there have been proposed and applied changes regarding “End of Standard Support” and “End of Life”. It is not clear, however, if this policy also applies to the official flavors.

For example:

While the main version of Ubuntu 18.04 (with GNOME) has not yet reached its “End of Standard Support” or “End of Life”, the flavors have.

I had a conversation with Zanna in the Downboat about this matter, but it seems that there is confusion even among moderators about it.

So, are the flavors considered off-topic in Ask Ubuntu after they reach their EOL or do we continue to support them for as long we support the main version?

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  • 1
    Does supporting Ubuntu flavors for as long as the main version create a hardship for you? Is there a good reason not to support them? Many users seem to stall want all versions of Ubuntu to be supported. Jun 17 at 14:14
  • 8
    @C.S.Cameron woah there. The OP is simply opening a discussion and is not taking a position either for supporting these or against supporting them as far as I can tell. You seem to have a strong opinion that they should be supported. Great! Please post an answer explaining why.
    – terdon
    Jun 17 at 14:21
  • 2
    It actually is a good question here. Since this is community driven, but it seems to me that the AskUbuntu site has become a specific support site of supported versions and flavors of Ubuntu. I have always pictured the unix.stackexchange.com site for questions in general that don't have support periods or being expired, and also allowing for cross distro questions as it is not limited to any one specific distro.
    – Terrance
    Jun 17 at 15:51
  • What would it mean for AskUbuntu to "not support" a given version? Immediately close questions about it? That seems unnecessary, unless there happens to be a high volume of such questions.
    – Jack M
    Jul 4 at 22:49
18

Interpreting Flavor Support Policy against Overall Ubuntu Release Lifespan

(This part is with my Ubuntu Developer and Lubuntu Council hats on.)

As a member of the Lubuntu Council I am fluent in this policy.

Essentially, while the core of an LTS release - Ubuntu Kernel, Main repository packages, etc. - are still supported through the LTS lifecycle of Ubuntu as well as a flavor, the Flavor-specific components (desktop environment, specific applications shipped with that Flavor but not others, etc.) are not 'supported' by that flavor's team past the 3 years. Which means you can still file bugs, etc. against those packages, but no new feature development nor any bug fixes are guaranteed to get any support from that flavor's development team (essentially becoming 'community supported' after that flavor's support timeframe).

Kernel, underlying core of Ubuntu OS, Main repository packages, etc. will still be 'supported' in the sense Security team and other teams are still going to handle bugs, updates, security patches, etc. But the flavor specific components (LXQt for Lubuntu for example) are not expected to get Lubuntu Development Team support after three years. Doesn't mean other developers and such can't fix critical bugs or do security patching, just means that it's likely to not happen after those 3 years for a flavor.

What does this mean for Ask Ubuntu though?

(THIS part is with my mod hat on)

Simply put: We don't follow the flavor-specific 'support' period, we follow the overarching 5 year LTS support limit that the 'main' Ubuntu release follows, even for the flavors of Ubuntu like Lubuntu, Xubuntu, and Kubuntu. We also qualify as 'community support'.

Therefore, using Lubuntu 20.04 LTS as an example, in 2023 the Lubuntu Desktop LXQt components will 'no longer be supported by the Lubuntu Development Team' for the purposes of bug fixing, etc. However, 20.04 still is 'supported' overall by Ask Ubuntu until 2025 because the primary Ubuntu release (20.04) has not gone past End of Standard Support (or End of Life) as dictated on the Ubuntu wiki. There's just no guarantee of bug fixes or such from the Lubuntu team after those 3 years.

Any flavor of Ubuntu outside of the flavor team's 'support' period is still supported by Ask Ubuntu until the overarching main Ubuntu release reaches EoSS or EoL (per the core "Ubuntu" version and not the flavors).

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  • Came out too late here for this one. Exactly what I was going to mention (with my former moderator hat on). Thank you @thomas. Jul 6 at 18:41
  • You know, it is interesting since I run Xubuntu 20.04 right now, and all the packages that come default state that they are supported until 4/2025 according to the ubuntu-security-status app that replaced ubuntu-support-status. Maybe we should go off the output of ubuntu-security-status?
    – Terrance
    Jul 15 at 13:37
  • @Terrance I think you're going to have to share that information. Regardless, the output of things for security status will show that things're still covered, and we've always followed the entire 5 year LTS release cycle, even with flavors only getting 3 years of 'desktop app' support from that distribution. You're also a little late to the conversation, this has been posted for over a month now...
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Jul 15 at 14:58
  • I'm always late, apparently... ;)
    – Terrance
    Jul 15 at 15:40
  • NO!!! I am not going to share it if you are just going to downvote me!!!
    – Terrance
    Jul 15 at 16:09
  • @Terrance I meant like in a pastebin or something, and comments, not as its own answer. Point is that we never intended to follow the '3 year LTS' - we intended to support the full 5 years even for the flavors, which is what we've always done. My answer goes in depth to explain the difference and what it means, THEN what we will be doing with Ask Ubuntu and how we'll handle it differently than a given flavor team ;)
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Jul 15 at 16:10
  • People here seem to post about the other flavors only having 3 years. Plus, you can no longer download them after that 3 years is up!
    – Terrance
    Jul 15 at 16:11
  • @Terrance yes you can if you know where to go ;)
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Jul 15 at 16:12
  • But it is not on the official supported pages. Yoo much crap on this site!!
    – Terrance
    Jul 15 at 16:12
  • @Terrance actually technically it is on releases.ubuntu.com. You also should reread my answer and note that I already answered the "3 year support" problem for Ask Ubuntu. I added some obvious emphatic statement formatting to make it easier to find what this means for Ask Ubuntu. Which should decisively end the discussion as it relates to Ask ubuntu about "Do you support only 3 years or the full 5 years?"
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Jul 15 at 16:14
  • The flavors are not there, only Ubuntu. Xubuntu 18.04 is not there.
    – Terrance
    Jul 15 at 16:15
  • askubuntu.com/questions/1342454/… has a note about the 3 year in a comment
    – Terrance
    Jul 15 at 16:17
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Jul 15 at 16:18

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