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Old 03-09-2017, 09:14 AM   #1
dcs.79c
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Rolling release versus fixed release


I recently read about Linux rolling releases. I'm intrigued. There are proponents & opponents of rolling releases.

I'm probably starting a flame war!

Opponents of rolling releases say that they aren't as stable as fixed releases. It seems to me that any bugs in a rolling release would be fixed faster than bugs in a fixed release.

Proponents of rolling releases say that it is always up to date & it isn't necessary to nuke the hard drive & do a clean install every 6 months or however frequently new fixed updates come out.

I've had both Windows & Mac. I currently have a Mac mini & a MacBook Pro. I admit that every year when a new version of macOS comes out, I nuke the hard drive & do a clean install of macOS. Sure, it's a hassle to backup my stuff & then reinstall my stuff. I do a clean install to clean out all of the junk files that have accumulated.

Rolling releases would be like Windows & Mac. And that's what I'm looking for.

So, I'm intrigued. I'd like to try out rolling releases of Linux on VirtualBox. But I also want to try out fixed releases of Linux on VirtualBox.

Let the flame war begin!
 
Old 03-09-2017, 09:24 AM   #2
szboardstretcher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcs.79c View Post
I recently read about Linux rolling releases. I'm intrigued. There are proponents & opponents of rolling releases.

I'm probably starting a flame war!

Opponents of rolling releases say that they aren't as stable as fixed releases. It seems to me that any bugs in a rolling release would be fixed faster than bugs in a fixed release.

Proponents of rolling releases say that it is always up to date & it isn't necessary to nuke the hard drive & do a clean install every 6 months or however frequently new fixed updates come out.

I've had both Windows & Mac. I currently have a Mac mini & a MacBook Pro. I admit that every year when a new version of macOS comes out, I nuke the hard drive & do a clean install of macOS. Sure, it's a hassle to backup my stuff & then reinstall my stuff. I do a clean install to clean out all of the junk files that have accumulated.

Rolling releases would be like Windows & Mac. And that's what I'm looking for.

So, I'm intrigued. I'd like to try out rolling releases of Linux on VirtualBox. But I also want to try out fixed releases of Linux on VirtualBox.

Let the flame war begin!
Unlikely. As you have already demonstrated there are more than one side to the release schedules of linux distros, and most of us are very well aware of the benefits of each. Not much to argue about here. Research and experiment, then pick the one that works for you.

Also, asking for a 'flame war' is silly.
 
Old 03-09-2017, 09:30 AM   #3
dcs.79c
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I debated on whether or not to send this. Perhaps the thread could be deleted. That's OK with me. If the administrator decides to delete the thread, then he has my blessing. Perhaps I should apologize for submitting the post. I apologize. Please delete the post.
 
Old 03-09-2017, 09:49 AM   #4
Mr. Macintosh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcs.79c View Post
I recently read about Linux rolling releases. I'm intrigued. There are proponents & opponents of rolling releases.

I'm probably starting a flame war!

Opponents of rolling releases say that they aren't as stable as fixed releases. It seems to me that any bugs in a rolling release would be fixed faster than bugs in a fixed release.

Proponents of rolling releases say that it is always up to date & it isn't necessary to nuke the hard drive & do a clean install every 6 months or however frequently new fixed updates come out.

I've had both Windows & Mac. I currently have a Mac mini & a MacBook Pro. I admit that every year when a new version of macOS comes out, I nuke the hard drive & do a clean install of macOS. Sure, it's a hassle to backup my stuff & then reinstall my stuff. I do a clean install to clean out all of the junk files that have accumulated.

Rolling releases would be like Windows & Mac. And that's what I'm looking for.

So, I'm intrigued. I'd like to try out rolling releases of Linux on VirtualBox. But I also want to try out fixed releases of Linux on VirtualBox.

Let the flame war begin!
Personally, I prefer rolling releases because it's always up-to-date and you don't have to wait six months to get an update. Probablems get resolved more quickly than a fixed release. And you don't have to nuke your hard drive every six months - though I guess you don't have to worry about wear and tear on the drive quite so much now that we have SSDs and they can take a lot of read/write cycles - 20 gigabytes a day for five years.


But if you go the fixed release route, you're definitely going to want to make a list of all of the programs and extensions you have installed. Though, that's a good idea for either method, since you're going to be moving to a new OS version eventually.
 
Old 03-09-2017, 10:14 AM   #5
sundialsvcs
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I observe that most of the time patch updates and so forth constitute "rolling releases," while maybe once or twice a year a separate line is drawn in the sand, a "fixed release." Such that both are really being done at the same time.

I think that these "fixed" points are very good as a "known starting point." Such as, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. A self-contained known starting point, periodically superseded by new known points (but without eliminating the older ones). If you're starting a brand-new Linux install, you're probably going to start from one of those points, and then move forward, because you can download a DVD-image for them. But you won't have to wait for the next "fixed release" because "rolling releases," as an under-current so to speak, are also happening all the time.

That's how I interpret the situation, anyway. That's how I interpret the terminology.
 
Old 03-09-2017, 10:33 AM   #6
GazL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcs.79c View Post
Rolling releases would be like Windows & Mac. And that's what I'm looking for.
I'm not sure I'd agree with that. Those both seem much more like the fixed release model to me and even with Windows 10 which Microsoft is marketing as a continuously evolving platform there are still distinct "releases" one can identify.
 
Old 03-09-2017, 10:59 AM   #7
Mr. Macintosh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GazL View Post
I'm not sure I'd agree with that. Those both seem much more like the fixed release model to me and even with Windows 10 which Microsoft is marketing as a continuously evolving platform there are still distinct "releases" one can identify.
The funny thing about that is that I remember I found a number of articles that said Microsoft was seriously considering making Windows 10 subscription-based. That was a while ago. I'm glad they decided against the subscription model.
 
Old 03-09-2017, 11:47 AM   #8
DavidMcCann
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Last year Distrowatch experimented by running several rolling releases for several months and seeing how the update process went. I'd say you can distinguish 3 types:

1. Those that are admittedly experimental, like OpenSUSe Tumbleweed or Debian Unstable. As the old saying goes, "The only guarantee is that if it breaks, you get to keep the pieces."

2. Those that work if you take care. The classic example is Arch, which did well in the Distrowatch test. The golden rules are to always check the Arch site for warnings before updating and to know how to roll things back if the worst does happen (which it probably won't). With its wonderful documentation, Arch is a good way of really getting to know Linux.

3. Those that are deliberately cautious and not so bleeding-edge as (1) and (2). The classic is PCLinuxOS, and I think Manjaro could be included here too. PCLinuxOS is aimed at the average home user and I'd say it meets its goals.

Last edited by DavidMcCann; 03-09-2017 at 11:49 AM.
 
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:05 PM   #9
sundialsvcs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Macintosh View Post
The funny thing about that is that I remember I found a number of articles that said Microsoft was seriously considering making Windows 10 subscription-based. That was a while ago. I'm glad they decided against the subscription model.
Wait a minute ... a "subscription-based" model actually has many good things going for it. (After all, newspapers and magazines have been doing it for years!) With this model, or some variation of it, your business is assured of a revenue stream, to help counter the fact that "you are still on-the-pole for maintenance (expense!) for the thing, even many-years after the last copy of it has been sold."

Obviously, you could not cause the software to stop working, but there are actually plenty of precedents for this sort of thing in the software industry.

"IBM = Income By the Month™" ... ... refers to it as "maintenance," as does, more or less, Red Hat. You are formally required to pay your pro rata share of IBM's ongoing maintenance costs with regards to the software that you use at your installation. Corporations are entirely accustomed to this practice and simply build it into their budgets. (And Microsoft actually does, today, do the same thing with regards to their corporate clients.)

Whether "John Q. Public" would go for that ... heh ... Microsoft probably concluded, "probably not." And, they were probably right. (Which is also why Red Hat offers "Fedora.")

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 03-09-2017 at 12:06 PM.
 
Old 03-09-2017, 12:53 PM   #10
Mr. Macintosh
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Originally Posted by sundialsvcs View Post
Wait a minute ... a "subscription-based" model actually has many good things going for it. (After all, newspapers and magazines have been doing it for years!) With this model, or some variation of it, your business is assured of a revenue stream, to help counter the fact that "you are still on-the-pole for maintenance (expense!) for the thing, even many-years after the last copy of it has been sold."

Obviously, you could not cause the software to stop working, but there are actually plenty of precedents for this sort of thing in the software industry.

"IBM = Income By the Month™" ... ... refers to it as "maintenance," as does, more or less, Red Hat. You are formally required to pay your pro rata share of IBM's ongoing maintenance costs with regards to the software that you use at your installation. Corporations are entirely accustomed to this practice and simply build it into their budgets. (And Microsoft actually does, today, do the same thing with regards to their corporate clients.)

Whether "John Q. Public" would go for that ... heh ... Microsoft probably concluded, "probably not." And, they were probably right. (Which is also why Red Hat offers "Fedora.")
It depends on how you look at it. It's great for the developer - and going by your post, I can only assume you're a self-employed developer. But for the consumer, it's a major pain, firstly because it's usually more expensive and secondly because it's another thing to write a check for at the end of the month. Though, I make exception on that first part if the subscription cost is the same as the pay-once cost in the end. For example, Adobe Creative Suite costs $1500 to buy outright and someone will use it for five years. And then Adobe switched to a subscription model of $30 a month. That's not too bad because you're not paying significantly more. It's still pretty bad because you're paying an extra $300 over the course of five years, but it could be worse. The best thing for the user would be to take the "outright cost" and divide it into monthly payments over a five year period. If Adobe took that approach, they would charge $25 per month. That would be acceptable, and it would be a lot less painful than paying $1,500 all at once.
 
Old 03-09-2017, 05:37 PM   #11
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In my opinion, as mentioned in the first reply, both rolling release and stable have their places.

Stable releases are required in large multi-user / multi-application (ex. corporate) environments where ANY change has to be properly managed and planned. A rolling release model is much more appropriate for a knowledgeable, individual (ex. home) user.

I agree with DavidMcCann's above comments (#8) in general and in particular concerning Arch as a successful rolling release - I've been using it for the past 7 years or so, and it's been a joy and a great way to learn about linux.

Cheers :-)
 
  


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