Thanks for clarifying. There’s a lot to unpack here.
As we don’t have a direct line to many of these (thousands) of users, it’s hard for us to ascertain why people are sticky on old, unsupported releases. Anecdotally we get people in various Ubuntu support channel who ask for help on these old releases and we do often encourage them to upgrade.
On the subject of upgrades, some people have been burned by upgrades, and will hold off for as long as they can on a release that “Just Works” . No amount of pop up dialogs will encourage them - indeed they may just irritate them - so they’ll just stay where they are.
Old releases do atrophy, slowly. The number of 17.04 and 17.10 users is diminishing, slowly. There’s often a large surge when a new release comes out, then a long tail of people who stick on their current release. For example it only took ~15 days for the number of 19.04 users to overtake the number of 18.10 users, with 18.10 userbase diminishing as users upgraded.
In the last 3-4 months, the number of 18.10 users has halved, so while I appreciate they’re a good target as it’s a recently EOL’ed, it is already dropping. Many of those users will be using a VM, and may only wake their system up periodically, to do some work. The overhead of having to do a 800MB download to upgrade the thing is a daunting task when you’re trying to get a job done.
In addition, some people just do not upgrade, but just clean install. So some of the 18.10 to 19.04 conversions will have been nuke-and-pave re-installations. So we’d see 18.10 go down, and 19.04 go up, but can’t tell which method the users used to achieve the same goal.
In the spirit of looking for solutions however. In the future, perhaps Update Manager could have a slightly more aggressive nag screen than it already does. Maybe it could be almost annoying, putting a (removable) overlay/watermark on the screen as a reminder. Bear in mind these are other people’s computers, and they may not like this.
For the current state, I don’t believe we can push updates to Update Manager in ye olde releases such as 17.04 as their archives are closed, and may have even been migrated over to old-releases instead of the stock archive in some cases.
I think we should organize a social campaign, with some less dense upgrade guides to explain how some of these users on EOL systems can get from their current release to a supported platform.
But after all that, we have to accept these are their computers, and if they want to run insecure, old, crusty software, they can.