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Action Required: New LTS Support and Ubuntu 16.04 Deprecation

If you operate a Stellar Core or Horizon node, there are some important changes to the way SDF distributes software releases you should be aware of.

First, a bit of background. In 2017, we started releasing Stellar Core and Horizon via Debian packages. The goal was to make the installation and maintenance of Stellar infrastructure simpler, and to align the process with industry standards and best practices. At the time, we only supported Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, which was the most recent Long Term Support maintained by Canonical.

What does Long Term Support mean? Here's how Canonical describes it on their website:

An Ubuntu LTS is a commitment from Canonical to support and maintain a version of Ubuntu for five years. In April, every two years, we release a new LTS where all of the developments from the previous two years accumulate into one up-to-date, feature-rich release. These releases focus on performance enhancement and stability. The LTS is what we recommend to large scale enterprises, general users and businesses. 

LTS releases have a planned expiration date, and in April 2021, Ubuntu 16.04 reached its end of life, meaning it is no longer supported by Canonical. We saw that deprecation coming, and so in preparation, we started supporting Ubuntu 18.04 and 20.04 LTS releases towards the end of 2020. As part of that work, we also set up tooling and infrastructure that allows us to support all future LTS releases as they are announced by Canonical. 

By supporting all LTS releases, we hope to encourage network participants to run their nodes according to industry best practices. It's a commitment on our part to ensure that we stay in alignment with Ubuntu, which should make it easier to plan ahead, and to maintain secure and stable Stellar infrastructure. 

What you need to do

If you have already upgraded your infrastructure to Ubuntu 18.04 or 20.04, all you need to do is to ensure your Apt source files include the correct repository for the version you run:

{% code-line %} echo "deb https://apt.stellar.org $(lsb_release -cs) stable" |
sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/SDF.list {% code-line-end %}

Our GPG signing key remains the same, but if needed you can retrieve it by running:

{% code-line %}wget -qO - https://apt.stellar.org/SDF.asc |
sudo apt-key add - {% code-line-end %}

If you have not upgraded your infrastructure and you are still running Ubuntu 16.04, you should plan to switch to a supported version as soon as possible. Until now, we have offered Stellar Core and Horizon Debian packages for 16.04. From this point forward, we will only distribute packages for nodes on 18.04 and 20.04. If for some reason you need to maintain a 16.04 environment, you will need to compile Stellar Core and Horizon from source.

If you want to find out more about Stellar Debian packages, check out the packages docs. They will walk you through the entire process of using packages from adding the SDF stable repository to your system to running Horizon in production.

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