New Ubuntu operating systems, starting with 13.04 (Raring Ringtail), will only benefit from nine months of support.
The Ubuntu Technical Board took into consideration shortening the support period for new Ubuntu Oses, and they decided to cut it in half.
This means that interim releases, such as Ubuntu 13.04 (Raring Ringtail) will only have 9 months of support, instead of 18. The LTS (long-term support) version will still have 5 years of support.
“The change in support length from 18 months to 9 months will reduce the number of releases we need to support in parallel while still allowing enough time for our users to upgrade to the next release,” reads the official announcement
The Ubuntu Technical Board also decided on a number of other important issues. Shortening the support time also means that new users will have a limited window (3 months) to upgrade to a new operating system.
The goal of Canonical is to have less stable/LTS releases out at one time, giving them more resources to implement new features instead of offering support.
“These stable/LTS releases will be better supported and leave developers and other contributors with more energy to focus on designing and implementing the next big idea. As Ubuntu enters the age of convergent devices, its contributors will need all the energy they can get for that development,” the announcement also mentions.
As it stands right now, the regular users will not be affected by this change. The numbers show that people will install and use the latest version of Ubuntu and only a small part of the community will be affected by this change.
On the other hand, the developers of third-party software will have to keep up. The rate of Ubuntu releases will not change and every six months a new version will be released, but with the support time cut in half, Canonical's developers will start to implement a lot more features and changes.