The published version of Ubuntu 12.04 in April 2012 was one of the known LTS. This means that his support extends for 5 years. During that time, receive updates and patches Ubuntu by Canonical and, in most cases, in the hands of developers. From time to time, Canonical releases new versions LTS compilations including default patches released since launch to date, but in this new compilation will come more.
As has read in the pages of Canonical, the Ubuntu 12.04.4 recompilation reach all users with a new kernel, specifically, will come with belonging to the branch 3.11.10 Extended Upstream Kernel Stable Release. These kernels are considered stable and are optimized and corrected as possible, so they are ready to run smoothly. The official support of this kernel will be until August of this year so that in future compilations, the kernel is updated to be offering security updates.
The reasons why Canonical decided to upgrade the kernel of your LTS system have been mainly to provide greater hardware compatibility to all users of Ubuntu 12.04 without force and manually compile the kernel or install from a terminal, a fact that generally, it is quite complicated.
Other changes introduced in the new version focuses on security patches, bugs fixed and new versions of the most essential distribution packages. With this, Canonical aims to encourage users to continue using the LTS version although already about 2 years old.
Ubuntu, a step near the Rolling Release
The fact that Canonical has decided to upgrade the kernel of its LTS version is a mix between updates which normally leads to its systems and Rolling Release. Some time ago we talked about the 14.x branch could be the last and that Canonical may be preparing new versions Rolling Release that allow users to always have the latest version installed by simply updating the system instead of having to reformat to get the latest version every 6 months.
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS still has more than 2 ½ years ahead support, so you may even throw some additional Canonical compiling this version before the end of official support. Also noteworthy is that the next version of Ubuntu to be launched in April this year wills also LTS, Ubuntu 14.04 so you will have 5 years of official technical support from Canonical.
Are you a user of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS? What do you think that Canonical update the kernel distribution of LTS?