How To Install The Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS Hardware Enablement Stack (HWE)

Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS hardware enablement stack

Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS was released on Friday for Desktop, Server and Cloud. This point release includes application updates, bug fixes, and a new hardware enablement stack.

[[Edit]] Ubuntu 18.04.4 is out, and with it an updated Hardware Enablement Stack.
Let me quickly explain what "point release" and "hardware enablement stack" mean. An Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) point release contains bug fixes and package updates since the initial release, as well as support for newer hardware through a hardware enablement stack. A LTS hardware enablement stack (HWE) provides newer kernel and X for an existing Ubuntu LTS release.

In the first hardware enablement stack (18.04.2) for Ubuntu 18.04, the kernel and X are backported from Ubuntu 18.10. In the second HWE, released in August 2019 (18.04.3), the kernel and X packages will be backported from Ubuntu 19.04. For the Ubuntu 18.04.4 hardware enablement stack, the kernel and X packages are backported from Ubuntu 19.10. You can view an Ubuntu 18.04.x kernel support schedule here.

If you're already using Ubuntu 18.04 with all available updates installed, you already have the fixes and package updates from the Ubuntu 18.04.4 release, but not the Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS hardware enablement stack.

If you want to use the LTS hardware enablement stack on Ubuntu 18.04 desktop, you can install it using (this always install the latest HWE, version 18.04.4 right now):

sudo apt install --install-recommends linux-generic-hwe-18.04 xserver-xorg-hwe-18.04

On Ubuntu 18.04 server only install the hardware enablement stack kernel package (this always install the latest HWE, version 18.04.4 right now):

sudo apt install --install-recommends linux-generic-hwe-18.04

Reboot your system after the installation is completed.

[[Edit: The latest HWE for Ubuntu 18.04 is 18.04.4]] This installs a newer kernel (it installs Linux 5.3; the first iteration of Ubuntu 18.04 used Linux 4.15) and X (it installs version 1.20.5+git; initially Ubuntu 18.04 used version 1.19.6).

If you've installed a previous (not the latest version) HWE, like the Ubuntu 18.04.3 hardware enablement stack, you'll receive an update (like for any other package) for the latest Ubuntu 18.04.4 HWE. That's because the hardware enablement stack packages are called the same for every Ubuntu 18.04 point release (.2, .3, or .4). So there's no need to install any extra packages to get the latest hardware enablement stack if you've installed these packages previously, you just have to install all available system updates.

If you want to check the date until your system is supported by Canonical, and see if you have a hardware enablement stack installed, you can use this command:

hwe-support-status --verbose

This is output of the hwe-support-status --verbose command in Ubuntu 18.04, without and with the LTS hardware enablement stack installed:

$ hwe-support-status --verbose
You are not running a system with a Hardware Enablement Stack. Your system is supported until April 2023.

$ hwe-support-status --verbose
Your Hardware Enablement Stack (HWE) is supported until April 2023.