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How To Receive Ubuntu 12.04 Kernel Updates After 7 August 2014

Bill Malchisky  July 16 2014 10:40:28 AM
Certain versions of Ubuntu have an older version of their Hardware Enablement Stack (HWE) and thus it needs to be upgraded, or on 7 August 2014 you will no longer receive kernel and graphics stack updates; all other software updates will proceed unimpeded. Below is what I learned along with excerpts from the Ubuntu wiki post on the event. The current release schedule and EOL announcements for each Ubuntu build is located here.


What is HWE?

"Hardware Enablement Stacks (HWE) are incorporated into installers for select Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) point releases. It is a special Ubuntu feature that provides an LTS release with hardware support introduced in newer Ubuntu releases. For Ubuntu 12.04 the point releases are .2/.3/.4/.5 and the corresponding Ubuntu releases are 12.10/13.04/13.10/14.04." --excerpt via Ubuntu's wiki post.


Verifying the Need

As I have multiple Ubuntu builds, I verified the upgrade need on two of them initially. Below are my findings.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS x64

malchw@san-domino:~/Documents/ibm.champion$ hwe-support-status --verbose

You are not running a system with a Hardware Enablement Stack. Your system is supported until April 2017.

malchw@san-domino:~/Documents/ibm.champion$ lsb_release -d

Description:        Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS



Ubuntu 12.04 LTS i386

bill@ubuntu:~$ hwe-support-status --verbose


Your current Hardware Enablement Stack (HWE) is going out of support

on 08/07/2014.  After this date security updates for critical parts (kernel

and graphics stack) of your system will no longer be available.


For more information, please see:

http://wiki.ubuntu.com/1204_HWE_EOL

To upgrade to a supported (or longer supported) configuration:


* Upgrade from Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS by running:

sudo do-release-upgrade


OR


* Install a newer HWE version by running:

sudo apt-get install linux-generic-lts-trusty libgl1-mesa-glx-lts-trusty xserver-xorg-lts-trusty linux-image-generic-lts-trusty


and reboot your system.

bill@ubuntu:~$ lsb_release -d

Description:        Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS



What is nice with the latter output, is that they give you the correct commands to utilize to ensure success--either by upgrading to the latest LTS version, or just upgrading the HWE to 12.04.5. Now, what I find interesting is that according to the documentation, all 12.04.4 releases should require the upgrade, but clearly from the above output, I am fine with the x64 system, so I suspect there is a gap in the description between memory pointer size flavors.


The Upgrade Process

Today, I received a new option in my Ubuntu software update dialog box. One that I do not recall previously. "New hardware support is available".

Image:How To Receive Ubuntu 12.04 Kernel Updates After 7 August 2014

That seemed slightly odd, as their product offering is software with obvious links to hardware, but lacked any description before depressing Install . To play it safe, I loaded up a VM and tried the installation there.

Image:How To Receive Ubuntu 12.04 Kernel Updates After 7 August 2014

Clicking Upgrade here simply upgrades the HWE stack, rather than the LTS version. Then the software download process started.

Image:How To Receive Ubuntu 12.04 Kernel Updates After 7 August 2014

Followed by the installation process.

Image:How To Receive Ubuntu 12.04 Kernel Updates After 7 August 2014

Of course, when you are finished, you will need to reboot.

Image:How To Receive Ubuntu 12.04 Kernel Updates After 7 August 2014

The system returns sans issue and all looks good. Running the verification process confirms success.

bill@ubuntu:~$ history |tail -6
  884  hwe-support-status --verbose
  885  lsb_release -d
  886  ls
  887  lsb_release -a
  888  exit
  889  history |tail
bill@ubuntu:~$ !884
hwe-support-status --verbose
Your Hardware Enablement Stack (HWE) is supported until April 2017.
bill@ubuntu:~$ !885
lsb_release -d
Description:        Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS

All-in-all, it's a very straight forward and easy process. The steps here illustrate upgrading the HWE stack, rather than a full upgrade. You should checkout all of your LTS virtual and physical machines to get them current either by upgrading to the latest LTS or installing the latest stack.

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