Ubuntu 18.04 EOL support for community supported apps

I have been using Ubuntu 18.04 for a few years. Used Unity DE initially but then moved to gnome and finally to Mate DE 1.20. But I had never installed Ubuntu Mate as a complete system so technically I may or may not be a ‘Ubuntu Mate 18.04’ user.

Have seen recent announcement reg EOL of Ubuntu Mate 18.04 after April 2021 (Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS reaches end of life - Announcements - Ubuntu MATE Community)
This has moved my Mate DE 1.20.1 to the unsupported category under Ubuntu 18.04…

That made me look up which other packages on my machine are out of support using command ‘ubuntu-support-status’.

The output of that command has thrown up quite a few surprises for me. Although I was generally aware that many packages on my machine may be unsupported to varying degrees, I now realize that what had clouded my vision was the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS five years support timeline. Unknown to me, many other apps (like audacity, hugin) had also moved to unsupported category possibly because I often relied on the Ubuntu store (and chose non-snap non-flatpak apps) and probably thought (wrongly – totally my problem) that I don’t need to worry too much about support of the apps from the store as long as the OS is supported. Clearly, I need to pay more attention to the support timelines of individual apps besides that of the base OS. That’s a learning for me.

Now, if my objective is to have as many apps as possible fully supported at any given time on my machine-

(1) Are there some good practices or strategies that can be used to select package sources (Store/snap/flatpak/appimage/PPAs)?

(2) How does one keep track of which product is going out of support when? Does it have to be done manually? Especially problematic are the library/foundation/runtime packages which pose an unsurmountable challenge of understanding and dependency to a very-mildly-technical person like me.

(3) Any specific suggestions regarding the EOL support for community supported apps on Ubuntu 18.04 after April 2021? I guess most users of 18.04 would be similarly affected? Good enough for publishing an article? I recall with pleasure so many instances where Its-Foss came out with just what end users like me needed. My decision to go with Mate DE was in fact based on one of such articles… :slightly_smiling_face:

PPA’s are the best route for keeping apps up to date, as Flatpak and Snaps are way to big and at this time buggy. Ubuntu 18.04 is supported till 2023, although depending on the derivative version of the Ubuntu based Operating System you’re using. Linux Mint 18.04 is supported till 2023 and they have their own version of the Mate DE, so might be worth looking into, as Linux Mint make a lot of their own Apps. Anything made or partnered with the Ubuntu family Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Mate, as you know reaches end of life this month, as for Lubuntu it looks quite confusing.

The best option is to upgrade to Ubuntu LTS (Focal Fossa), which is supported until April 2025 with security and maintenance updates, guaranteed.
You have 2 options:

  1. A clean install by downloading the new release ISO file and making a bootable USB Flash Drive or DVD (make sure you do a full backup of all your files before installation of the new system)
  2. Upgrade your existing installation by issuing the following command:
    sudo do-release-upgrade -d
    More information here: https://www.linuxtechi.com/upgrade-ubuntu-18-04-lts-to-ubuntu-20-04-lts/
    Let me know if you have any questions.
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Noted. Thank you.

Need to check which of my apps would work with 20.04 and which ones won’t.

Actually, Ubuntu 18.04 is supported until 2028. It’s a special case.

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Having to pay though surely? Does that mean that other derivatives of Ubuntu 18.04 do the same? Possibly not.

In my efforts to analyse which packages will remain supported with 18.04 and which ones won’t, it is emerging that I should consider upgrade to 20.04 not because anything is wrong with 18.04 per se but just because so many packages within the official Ubuntu repositories are ending support after April 2021.

An example: VLC (the media player by VideoLAN) is flagged as ending community support after April 2021. I have installed it from the official Ubuntu Bionic repositories. See the listing of apt -show below.

There are so many like that. In which case it seems logical that I should consider upgrade to 20.04 in the near future. The extension of 18.04 OS support till 2023 or 2028 should be a less relevant consideration for me.

Package: vlc
Version: 3.0.8-0ubuntu18.04.1
Priority: optional
Section: universe/graphics
Origin: Ubuntu
Maintainer: Ubuntu Developers ubuntu-devel-discuss@lists.ubuntu.com
Original-Maintainer: Debian Multimedia Maintainers debian-multimedia@lists.debian.org
Bugs: OpenID transaction in progress
Installed-Size: 225 kB
Provides: mp3-decoder
Depends: vlc-bin (= 3.0.8-0ubuntu18.04.1), vlc-plugin-base (= 3.0.8-0ubuntu18.04.1), vlc-plugin-qt (= 3.0.8-0ubuntu18.04.1), vlc-plugin-video-output (= 3.0.8-0ubuntu18.04.1)
Recommends: vlc-l10n (= 3.0.8-0ubuntu18.04.1), vlc-plugin-notify (= 3.0.8-0ubuntu18.04.1), vlc-plugin-samba (= 3.0.8-0ubuntu18.04.1), vlc-plugin-skins2 (= 3.0.8-0ubuntu18.04.1), vlc-plugin-video-splitter (= 3.0.8-0ubuntu18.04.1), vlc-plugin-visualization (= 3.0.8-0ubuntu18.04.1)
Homepage: Official download of VLC media player, the best Open Source player - VideoLAN
Task: kubuntu-desktop, kubuntu-full, ubuntu-mate-desktop
Supported: 3y
Download-Size: 33.7 kB
APT-Manual-Installed: yes
APT-Sources: Index of /ubuntu bionic-updates/universe amd64 Packages
Description: multimedia player and streamer
VLC is the VideoLAN project’s media player. It plays MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4,
DivX, MOV, WMV, QuickTime, WebM, FLAC, MP3, Ogg/Vorbis files, DVDs, VCDs,
podcasts, and multimedia streams from various network sources.
VLC can also be used as a streaming server that duplicates the stream it
reads and multicasts them through the network to other clients, or serves
them through HTTP.
VLC has support for on-the-fly transcoding of audio and video formats, either
for broadcasting purposes or for movie format transformations. Support for
most output methods is provided by this package, but features can be added by
installing additional plugins:

  • vlc-plugin-access-extra
  • vlc-plugin-fluidsynth
  • vlc-plugin-jack
  • vlc-plugin-notify
  • vlc-plugin-samba
  • vlc-plugin-skins2
  • vlc-plugin-svg
  • vlc-plugin-video-splitter
  • vlc-plugin-visualization