The Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS maintenance update was originally scheduled for release today, February 15, 2018, but Canonical decided to delay it last month due to the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities that have been publicly disclosed last month and found to affect billions of devices.
Furthermore, a new release date was not announced until today when Canonical said that it would release Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS very early next month, on March 1st, 2018. Until then, the company expects to have all the updates ready in the archive for existing users who would want to update their installations.
Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS would be the fourth of five scheduled maintenance updates for the long-term supported Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series, and it will ship with up-to-date kernel and graphics stacks based on those from Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark).
Canonical promised to offer five years of support for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, until April 2021. The operating system was released two years ago, on April 21, 2016, and it received three such maintenance updates until now. One more maintenance update is planned for the Xenial Xerus series, Ubuntu 16.04.5, which could arrive later in the year.
Until then, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS users using the Ubuntu 16.04.3 milestone released last year would be able to update their installations to the Ubuntu 16.04.4 release on March 1, 2018, without the need to download the new ISO images, which are designed for new installations only.
On April 26, 2018, Canonical plans to release a new long-term supported Ubuntu series, the Bionic Beaver, a.k.a. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, which will be supported with similar maintenance updates containing the most recent security and software updates until April 2023.
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht