Do Ubuntu LTS Updates Keep It On Same Level As newer non-LTS Ubuntu

I’ve been receiving and reading many It’s FOSS Emails. It started off with 16.04. Then came 16.10 followed by 17.04. I do regular updates of 16.04 which is an LTS. I don’t seem to be able to find an answer to the questions that **do 16.04 LTS updates result in me being on level with e. g. 17.04 (and later 17.10 etc)?

– Harold

In a way, no! You can clearly see the difference between the looks of 16.04 and 16.10 or 17.04. Ubuntu changes the functionality (minor or major) with each version. The LTS versions on the other hand get all the security updates but not the major functionality changes that could compromise the compatibility of the OS.

Let’s say, you are a developer and you develop applications. Now, if you develop applications on LTS version you can be sure that your software will not need to be upgraded until 3-5 years (long term support period) as the environment of the OS will be the same. This provides stability to (mainly) enterprises as they don’t need to upgrade every 6months/one year and change/upgrade their application to match the compatibility of the new version of operating system.

A good example of LTS system is Windows 7 which is still being used in IT companies world while and if they have to switch to Windows 10, a lot of applications/software they use won’t be compatible with Windows 7.

Why would you use latest version if LTS version is more stable and equally secure? The answer is “new features, eye candy, the latest version of software”. You won’t really want to wait 2 years to get your hands on those nice looking features which were doing rounds for some time, eh?

So, bottom line is, getting updates on Ubuntu 16.04 doesn’t bring you at par with the later releases . If you wonder what should you be using LTS version of Ubuntu or the latest version of Ubuntu. remember this, if you are an enterprise (including individual developers ;P), use the LTS version and if you are an individual, you may choose between the LTS (for a hassle free 4-5 years) and the latest release (if you are okay with backing up data and upgrading every 9 months).

I hope it clarifies the question that regularly updating the LTS version does not put it at the same level as the latest version. And it also answers which version should you prefer, Ubuntu LTS or Ubuntu latest .


I have a view opposite to Abishek’s.

For years I took every Ubuntu update. With each update, every six months, new problems were created. Programs that used to run then would not, dependencies sometimes got lost, things like that. They were not show-stoppers but were annoying. After two or three months of updates all these issues were solved. Then, three months later, the next update started the cycle all over again.

I switched to the LTS version and the issues became much less frequent. There were a few problems created by 18.04. These were fixed in updates and have not returned.

LTS is a more polished product in my opinion. There haven’t been any game-changing bells and whistles in the non-LTS versions and since I prefer knowing my way around the interface over having the latest eye-candy I’m happy to stay with the LTS flavor.

As far as security updates go, things get back-ported to LTS and its kernel. You don’t have to be in the absolutely latest Ubuntu version to be up to date on security.

Just my 2¢.


They are essentially 2 different streams for 2 different types of user.

The LTS gets security patches and sometimes a kernel update, however alot of the librarys stay the same version and the major software stacks don’t change. This gives you the stable system as things don’t change unless they have to.

The interim releases on the other hand always get the newer version of librarys and most often a newer kernel. This means new features etc BUT if a piece of software hasn’t been updated to use the newer library - it breaks. This leads to Don’s story and why most people recommend the stable LTS unless you need a newer version of a particular program that isn’t available for the now older LTS.

This choice is somewhat solved by Snap Packages, Flatpaks and Appimages. In most cases it doesn’t matter whether you have the LTS or interim release if the software you need is in one of these 3 formats as they always have the correct librarys regardless of the base system.

I agree 100%.

LTS is stable, the 9 monthly releases definitely are risky, and more likely to cause issues. For me, LTS is where I want to be.


The initiator of this thread runs version 16.04 (which is kept updated until April 2021) But he can readily upgrade to version 18.04 ,if in the update app he specifies that he wishes to be kept informed about LTS (Long Term Support versions)
I did that with Lubuntu 16.04 which I managed to upgrade to 18.04 without any hassle, be it that it took more time than installing 18.04 from scratch ,but all the apps and files from 16.04 were retained.

Frank in County Wicklow -Ireland

I upgraded to 18.04 LTS from 16.04 LTS without any problems. I stick with LTS versions because I don’t want any surprises on my Ubuntu server or my laptops. I used to go with the every 6 month updates but always seemed to run into issues. Only problem with 18.04 LTS is erratic movement of the mouse using the touchpad Dell laptops. I’m still trying to solve this.