Ubuntu Pro becomes free for individuals and small companies

Canonical has launched free Ubuntu Pro subscriptions for individuals and small companies for up to five machines, enabling anybody to get longer-term support and features that were only reserved to paying enterprise customers so far.

Canonical provides Ubuntu for free with LTS versions released every two years and supported for 5 years. The latest Ubuntu 22.04 LTS was released in April 2022, meaning it will be supported until April 2027. But if you’d like to get 10-year support and extra security features you can now do it for free through an Ubuntu Pro subscription for up to 5 machines.

Ubuntu Pro Free

Let’s compare the key differences between Ubuntu LTS and Ubuntu Pro first.

Ubuntu LTSUbuntu Pro
Security patching - 2,300+ packages in Ubuntu Main repository5 years10 years
Security patching - 23,000+ packages in Ubuntu Universe repositoryBest effort10 years
NIST-certified FIPS crypto-modulesNoYes
USG hardening with CIS and DISA-STIG profilesNoYes
Common Criteria EAL2NoYes
Kernel LivepatchNoYes
Systems management at scale with LandscapeNoYes
Optional supportNoYes

You’ll get 10 years of support instead of 5 with Ubuntu Pro and as well as improved security. If you are upgrading to the latest LTS soon after it is out, the 10-year support may not be worth much to you, but you’d still get improved security compliant with government standards. Livepatch is possible with Ubuntu LTS too, but it’s not automatically enabled.

Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, explains more about the Ubuntu Pro public beta in the video, notably how business partnerships enabled the company to release a free version of Ubuntu Pro.

I’m still using Ubuntu 20.04 right now, and that’s OK since Ubuntu Pro works with Ubuntu 16.04 and greater.

The only downside of Ubuntu pro that I can see is that you’ll need to setup a Ubuntu account and they’ll know which machines you are using. I already had a Ubuntu account, so I just went ahead and registered for an Ubuntu Pro subscription.

Ubuntu Pro Free Personal Token

You’ll be given a token that you can attach to your machine(s). You’ll need to upgrade your installation to make sure you have the latest ubuntu-advantage-tools package:

You’ll see which services are enabled at the end of the output:

If a service is disabled, you may opt to enable it with the adequate command, for example:

Note that some services are mutually exclusive, and for instance, you cannot enable FIPS when livepatch is enabled.

There’s a tutorial further explaining how to enable “Expanded Security Maintenance for Applications (esm-apps)”:

… and check if there are any new security updates:

I do have a few so I can just upgrade my installation again:

Note that it’s still supposed to be beta, so it might not be a good idea to run those commands on a production machine or server just yet.

More details may be found in the press release.

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