A month or so ago, an Ubuntu developer speculated on the concept of making Ubuntu a semi-rolling release, with new rolling LTS versions every two years. Last year saw the release of the first Ubuntu LTS that also had the full five year support on desktop, showing Canonical’s commitment to the more stable releases. Complimenting this strategy is the new plan to reduce support of the standard Ubuntu releases.
Currently, Ubuntu releases that aren’t LTS enjoy an 18-month support cycle, one that ends a year after the succeeding version is releases. Under these new plans, a nine-month support timeframe will be implemented, meaning people who want to be kept up-to-date will always have to upgrade to the next version of Ubuntu.
This decision has two effects – firstly, and most importantly, it will allow for more resources to be focused on the newer and LTS distros. With the five year support for LTS, more overlap will begin to occur when 14.04 arrives next year, so focusing on the distros that matter should help in the long run. Of course, there will also be the conspiracies of forcing people onto the newer distro.
For now though, 12.10 still has the full 18 months, but 13.04 will be the first to get the truncated release.