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One reason I'm planning to switch from Fedora to something else is to get away from the need for regular upgrades. If something works fine with me, I prefer to stick with it. Fedora is intended for a different type of user, one who plans to pursue the cutting edge of technology.
So what Linux distributions have the long-term support I seek? None of the reviews I've looked at talk about this.
What's the difference between "getting away from the need for regular updates", and not applying updates? If you have a distribution that releases updates 4 times a year, how is that different from applying updates to Fedora 4 times a year?
Do you really think that software that is 3 or 4 years old that hasn't had any maintenance is somehow more secure than software that you haven't applied maintenance to for 3 or 4 years?
I know people that use Fedora, that only upgrade to every other even release (FC2, FC6, next Fedora10). Just because the distribution makes updates available, doesn't mean you must apply them. You have the option - for security fixes only, or specific bugs that you encounter. I personally (automatically) apply maintenance daily, to prevent encountering a known problem, but there's no requirement to do so.
Last edited by macemoneta; 03-11-2007 at 12:36 PM.
What happens when the new version is too much for your computer?
The trouble is that the newer versions of a Linux distribution often require more RAM, processor speed, and other resources than the previous versions. This is the bloatware upgrade cycle at work - just at a slower rate than Microsoft.
Or maybe I should have a hard drive install for offline use and a live CD for online use.
While functionality is added (a good thing) it is optional.
For example Fedora added Bluetooth support, UPnP, IPv6, ISDN, IRDA, MD (software RAID), Multipath I/O, NFSv4, and yum daemon to recent releases. Most people consider the added functionality and support a good thing. If you don't want them, don't enable them. Poof, they're gone.
They also make light-weight alternatives available. For example, Thunderbird vs. Evolution, XFCE vs. Gnome/KDE. You have a choice for low resource environments. You'll find that your resource requirements actually go down over prior releases with the new options.
I run 6-8 year old machines, and they get faster with each release. I get to pick and choose the functions I want - it's not bloat, it's a bigger menu.
I see confusion here between upgrades and support.
To me, support means having help available. For that, the community will be here for you forever.
As for upgrades (aka updates) I would not expect ANYONE to committ to continuous updates when their major energy is releasing entire distributions which are--in effect-- a complete update. What is great about Linux and OpenSource is that these new releases typically have substantive improvements--as opposed to proprietary products where the decisions are made by the marketing and legal departments.
Except that there are distributions that do provide long term support (security patches, phone support, etc.). Probably the most well known are Red Hat Enterprise and Novell. I know Red Hat supports an Enterprise release for a minimum of seven years from the release date. If you just need security updates and don't care about formal support then CentOS is a good choice. Also, Ubuntu designates some release as LTS (for Long Term Support). IIRC these are supported for 3 years on the desktop and 5 on the server.
These releases are aimed more at businesses who need a stable platform over a longer period of time (as I know from bitter firsthand experience, upgrading can break things so sometimes the less often the better). I agree that for the home user it is generally just as easy to upgrade every release or every other release. Note that if you get a long support distro you will still have to apply security patches etc.