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I use 11.10 with Openbox/LXDE and I am thinking about upgrading. I downloaded 12.10, ran it in "live boot" mode and I think I like it. I think I even like Unity because it integrates everything and it's so keyboard-driven.
Then I notice there is an "LTS" 12.04 edition. LTS is good, right? Five-year support and stuff.
But the download page on the Ubuntu website says:
For long-term support, choose Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS is a long-term support release. While it lacks some new features, it will receive guaranteed support for five years from April 2012.
Now I've been trying to find out what exact "new features" I would be losing if I installed 12.04 instead of 12.10, but I can't find that information. Does anyone know?
Go with 12.04 if you like extended support (stability but no new features/applications) or 12.10 (followed by 13.04, 13.10, etc.) if you like to have the latest features and software applications and don't mind upgrading more frequently.
But I wonder, if LTS 12.04 is supposed to be supported and updated, isn't it supposed to catch up with 12.10 and have the same new features pretty much as soon as 12.10 is out? I still don't quite understand how or to what extent that support works.
Ubuntu releases are "frozen" and receive no new features after their release date (only security patches and bug-fixes). If you install Ubuntu 12.04 you will have a stable identical system through end-of-support in April 2017. Features from 12.10 are not added retroactively to 12.04.
For me, the advantage of 12.04 LTS is that I don't have to endure a major OS upgrade every six months. I started at 11.04. When I tried to move to 11.10, it was a disaster and took a month to finish the upgrade (with lots of help from Launchpad people). My problem apparently was that the machine vendor used a sources.list from a soon-abandoned location, and I was too Ubuntu-illiterate to know what was happening.
My move from 11.10 to 12.04 LTS was largely uneventful, other than 7 hours of residual terror from my 11.04-11.10 experience. I only have low-end DSL internet access.
So I am happy to stick with 12.04 LTS for as long as possible and just take updates as the Software Center presents them.
I am not sure a previous comment about missing out on applications updates under LTS is correct. The Software Center installs new application versions all the time. Whenever PC Magazine mentions a new Firefox, Opera, or Thunderbird, for example, the Software Center usually offers the upgrade within a day or two. I seem to get new kernel once a month or so.
If you have a big enough harddrive you could always install both and dual boot. You could keep 12.04 for stability on one partition and keep another partition to try out the newest release (or any other distro that might interest you). Create another partition to keep your personal files on so that you can access them regardless of which distro you are booted into.
BTW, I have a 11.10 install in a Dell Inspiron. I can't upgrade, I get a error about not having a Key. I tried everything I could find in the net but nothing works.
My question: I downloaded the 12.04 and burned it. IF I upgrade by this DVD, I will lose my data, or will it just REALLY upgrade, without damage?
We can help you with the "error about not having a key" if you tell us the error (copy & paste) rather than just saying "I tried everything but nothing works." (What did you try? What were the specific output/errors?)
I recommend that you read the Mint Upgrade page in the following link. Even though you are using Ubuntu and not Mint (so the specific instructions won't apply to you) it does a very good job explaining the pros and cons of upgrade vs. fresh install, as well as the supreme importance of backing up your data.
I've been happy keeping with the LTS releases. I still have a Kubuntu 8.04 LTS partition on a core 2 duo desktop, and the only manual intervention I have so far done is install the latest FF from source. I have a 10.04 Ubuntu Netbook Remix happily running on a Samsung netbook, and a Kubuntu 12.04 LTS running on my corei7 tower.
On all of these installations, I have yet to really want or need a specific upgraded package. Just some personal experiences I feel I should share.