Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, has announced that Hardware Enablement (HWE) kernels will receive updates via the Livepatch service, just like Long-Term Release (LTS) kernels. The first kernel to gain support will be Linux 6.2 which will ship with Ubuntu 23.04 Lunar Lobster next week before being made available as an HWE kernel in Ubuntu 22.04 LTS in July.
For those not familiar with Livepatch, it’s a service available to customers with an Ubuntu Pro subscription. If you don’t have a subscription it can be enabled on five of your personal machines. With this enabled, you are able to get the latest kernel updates installed on your computer without having to reboot. Linux kernel updates are one of the very few packages that typically require a restart in Ubuntu but with Livepatch there’s no need to restart.
With HWE kernels, users of the more stable Ubuntu LTS releases get support for the newest hardware. New HWE kernels typically arrive around the time of Ubuntu point releases following the launch of an interim Ubuntu release, such as 23.04. If you decide to enable Livepatch as a result of this news, there’s another major benefit.
Out of the box, Ubuntu LTS releases are supported for five years. By turning on the Ubuntu Pro features, you automatically extend the support of your Ubuntu LTS system by another five years, bringing the total to 10. If you have Ubuntu 22.04 LTS and switch on Ubuntu Pro, you could keep getting updates for your system until 2032, by which time, at least four more LTS releases will have been made available.