At the latest OpenStack Summit, the founder and CEO of Canonical Inc / Ubuntu mentioned that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Long Term Support) will be receiving up to 10 years of support. This is of significant news, since most LTS releases receive only 5 years of support – although Ubuntu 12.04 and 14.04 also received extended supports. Shuttleworth also mentioned that while 16.04 is technically reaching the end of its lifespan in April 2021, it too will be given extended support.
Mark said the extra 5 years of support is in part due to the “very long time horizons in some of industries like financial services and telecommunications but also from IOT where manufacturing lines for example are being deployed that will be in production for at least a decade.”
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS was released back in April 26, and featured a new server and cloud capabilities. This is profitable for Canonical Inc, because while the Ubuntu desktop OS is free, much of Canonical Inc’s profits come from server and cloud customers. Thus, extending Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to 10 years of support is simply a smart business decision.
Additionally, Shuttleworth also mentioned that there’s been a growing trend of former Red Hat customers switching over to Ubuntu. He explained that these customers aren’t technically replacing Red Hat, per se, but looking to Canonical for expanding into new industries such as edge computing, IoT (Internet of Things), and ML/AI (Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence).
Shuttleworth also predicted that IBM purchasing Red Hat could lead even more customers switching to Ubuntu, although the only competition between Canonical and Red Hat is within the enterprise Linux and cloud spaces.
Finally, Shuttleworth mentioned that Canonical is hoping to launch its IPO in 2019, when the company meets the metrics he has set for it.