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Old 04-07-2009, 01:05 PM   #1
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Registered: Jan 2002
Location: Sterling Heights, MI
Distribution: Mainly Ubuntu, Gentoo, RedHat
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Any "Infinitely update-able" distros?

In the olden days (2002-06 ), I ran Gentoo as my main OS of choice. Initially, I enjoyed the thrill of discovery while following the guide on doing a semi-from-scratch install. After a time, I could practically do it from memory using a Knoppix LiveCD. I was truly a geek.

Eventually, however, the administration (updates, mostly) started to become a PITA. The distro was also going through some ..."interesting" times. My view started to drift elsewhere.

I decided to try an upstart Debian-based distro called Ubuntu. It was simple, though brown . And it had a very nice update manager which allowed me to poke a couple of buttons to keep the system current. As I am getting old & lazy, it seemed to fit the bill. That it also had fairly stable LTS versions was icing on the cake.

Well, due to the relative inability of Ubuntu to seamlessly update from one LTS version to another, my desktop is seemingly stuck on Dapper Drake/Firefox 1.5x/OO.O 2.0x. I long for the days of Gentoo's install-once-and-update-forever paradigm, yet am not really looking forward to going back to worrying about compiler flags and slots. I would also miss the usability and simplicity of Synaptic.

So, the question is: Are there any distros out there which offer the usability features of *buntu/Synaptic with the non-necessity of a reload every couple years a la Gentoo? Opinions please!
Old 04-07-2009, 01:27 PM   #2
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Registered: Jan 2004
Location: NJ, USA
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While I am not really an Ubuntu user, my understanding was that Ubuntu got the ability to upgrade from one LTS to another right after Dapper Drake. If you do a clean install of the latest LTS (8.04) you should have no problem upgrading to the next one whenever it is released.
Old 04-07-2009, 01:27 PM   #3
Simon Bridge
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Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Waiheke NZ
Distribution: Ubuntu
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Short answer: no.

There are too many things which can change when you customize things to your liking.
So far, Ubuntu has been the easiest to upgrade that I know - but I still need to do a fresh install every so often just to clean things up.

You will get to plain-upgrade more reliably if you install the minimum, no third party software (proprietary drivers, and stuff you compile yourself), and keep things close to canon. Even then, you can get weird issues when there is a paradigm change in the distro development.

fedora is supposed to be reliably upgradable - I've never had this work. RHEL is supposed to be better - so CentOS may be the one to try. Even so - stay close to canon.

It's probably just as well, can you think of any OS which does not make you do a fresh install to get a new edition ... every half-decade or so?
Old 04-08-2009, 11:44 AM   #4
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: NY, USA
Distribution: Arch, openSUSE 11.1
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You could give Arch a shot. Similar to Gentoo without the compiling or need to worry about USE flags.
Old 04-08-2009, 11:50 AM   #5
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Registered: Jan 2002
Location: Sterling Heights, MI
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Originally Posted by Simon Bridge View Post

It's probably just as well, can you think of any OS which does not make you do a fresh install to get a new edition ... every half-decade or so?
Therein lies the crux of the biscuit...I was used to having to do this every year or so with Windows. But I thought Linux might have been better in this regard.

Re: Ubuntu - Many threads on about problems with the upgrade, hence my reticence.

Gentoo was really quite good on this measure. Perhaps it is calling me back "home". Since I am resigned to reloading the OS at least one last time, going back to Gentoo is as valid an option as any other. I was just hoping that the technology of the other distros had improved.
Old 04-11-2009, 12:40 PM   #6
Registered: Jul 2005
Distribution: Arch
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I'll throw in another suggestion to look at Arch, the rolling release is one of its biggest appeals for me. Since you said you also liked the ease that ubuntu gave you might also like chakra as long as you don't mind a kde environment. That's a fairly new offshoot from arch that will give you a preconfigured system as well as some extra tools by default. But once it's installed it's just like running any other arch system, including the abilitiy to just keep updating without needing reinstalls


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