This is how you can add five more years of life to your Ubuntu LTS install

The Ubuntu logo on a white and orange background

In September, Canonical announced that it would be extending the Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) of both Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS by a further two years so that their total life reaches 10 years instead of eight. Canonical touts ESM as a paid product which it relies on for revenues, however, it’s actually possible to use ESM on three personal computers for free. Additionally, if you enable it, you get Livepatch on your system so you don’t have to restart for kernel updates.

Extended Security Maintenance and Livepatch are part of a product from Canonical called Ubuntu Advantage. To begin using these services, follow these steps:

  • Head over to Ubuntu.com and look in the top right of the website for a Sign In option.
  • Log in or create a new Ubuntu Single Sign-On account, you’ll want to pick either of these options and give permission for the login.
  • After logging in, you should be redirected to the Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure page. If not, tap your name where the Sign In option was and press UA subscriptions.
  • When you’re on the Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure page, look for a subheading titled Your free personal subscription and press the Get your free token button.
  • Copy the attach machine command and paste it into the Terminal with Ctrl + Shift + v.
  • Type your password if you’re asked for it.
The Terminal when connecting machine to Ubuntu Advantage
  • Once the attach command has finished, check the status of Ubuntu Advantage on your machine with sudo ua status. The esm-infra and livepatch services should be enabled.
The Terminal when showing the status of Ubuntu Advantage

That’s it, with your system attached, you can now sit back and receive your additional five years of security updates on top of the five years that LTS releases typically come with. Furthermore, you’ll very rarely need to restart your system with Canonical’s Livepatch service, which removes the need to reboot after kernel updates (other updates don’t need a restart anyway).

If, for whatever reason, you want to detach a computer from Ubuntu Advantage, just open the Terminal again and type sudo ua detach. It might be necessary to do this if you’re getting rid of an old installation or throwing out an old computer.

The Terminal when detaching Ubuntu Advantage from a machine


Have you enabled ESM on your Ubuntu machine(s)? Let us know in the comments section below!