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Old 05-17-2018, 01:27 AM   #1
linuxuser7
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What is a rolling release?


Ok, not strictly a newbie, but this is a newbie question so I am putting it here.

I have always upgraded to LTS versions of Linux going from one to another. I know there is something called a "rolling release" but I don't understand the concept. Is this something that is updated daily and has to be constantly downloaded? I have a limited data allotment on my internet service, and I can't have something that is updated ever day. Or am I misunderstanding something?

So my question is what is a rolling release and how is it implemented?

If someone could explain this too me, I would greatly appreciate it.
 
Old 05-17-2018, 02:59 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxuser7 View Post
Ok, not strictly a newbie, but this is a newbie question so I am putting it here.

I have always upgraded to LTS versions of Linux going from one to another. I know there is something called a "rolling release" but I don't understand the concept. Is this something that is updated daily and has to be constantly downloaded? I have a limited data allotment on my internet service, and I can't have something that is updated ever day. Or am I misunderstanding something?

So my question is what is a rolling release and how is it implemented?

If someone could explain this too me, I would greatly appreciate it.
As the sticky at the top of this forum (Linux Newbies - How to choose a distro) basically says; it means a distribution where you don't need to reinstall the system, to upgrade to the next major version. You can just update it as you normally would and you should be able to just do that, to get the next major version of distribution xy or z. In other words: if it's not a "rolling release" then, yes, you would need to reinstall the software/distro in question, to get updated versions of it. "Small and frequent updates" seem to be the key words.

But, there's also part-rolling, etc as well, so really depends on what type of "rolling" your talking about.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_distribution
 
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Old 05-17-2018, 05:39 AM   #3
linuxuser7
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I'm still not completely understanding it. Would this be something where I would be faced with downloading 1 GB every day?
 
Old 05-17-2018, 05:46 AM   #4
wpeckham
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Originally Posted by linuxuser7 View Post
I'm still not completely understanding it. Would this be something where I would be faced with downloading 1 GB every day?
Short answer: No.
Long answer: possibly, you will only be downloading the updates and changes submitted in one day and that is likely to be a LOT less than a gig. Many days there will be nothing to download, other days a few updated libraries. Large updates will be very rare.

Debian stable and testing are very traditional, but sid (unstable) is a rolling release. A new version of stable requires a new install. SID is always an update against what went before and never (or almost never) requires a new install.
 
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:31 AM   #5
yancek
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Generally speaking, the updates will likely be in the MB range but it all depends upon how often you update. If you go several months without updating, yes it will likely be in the magnitude of hundreds of MBs. The system I use recommends updating on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. The total download isn't going to be any different but updating in smaller increments lessens the chances of problems with things like a loss of your connection.

Using a non rolling release which has regular new releases on a set basis (annually, semi-annually) will also give you the opportunity to keep the system updated with security/software updates and actually doing a distribution upgrade which is definitely going to use hundreds of megabytes. It is basically a matter or choice.
 
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:42 AM   #6
AwesomeMachine
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Picture Debian. If you choose to treat your installation as a branch (stable, testing, or unstable), you get a rolling distro. No matter which release (etch, jessie, squeeze, etc.) is current, you will always have that one. You just do the updates and it stays on that branch forever.

If you treat the installation as a release, then you have to upgrade to the next release every so often, about every 5 years for Debian.
 
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:15 AM   #7
Mill J
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Rolling Linux, unlike Windows gives you control on when you want to update and most allow you to hold certain apps, of course these have to be updated eventually or the libs start conflicting with the app.

However you can go for years without updating(not recommended!) as long as you don't install any additional software.

I'd recommend just setting up a rolling distro such as Manjaro, Void, etc and just playing with it.
 
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Old 05-17-2018, 11:21 AM   #8
linuxuser7
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Thank you kind folks for the explanations! Now I have a better picture because I was honestly afraid that it would max out my data allotment (I have no choice other than satellite internet).

Due to problems I'm having finding a distribution that works with my AMD/Radeon integrated chipset, I am once again searching for a new distribution. At present, I am considering OpenSuse Tumbleweed and hence the question about rolling distributions. I used Suse years ago and had a lot of luck with it on laptops so maybe it's time to return to the fold. Also, a rolling distribution will ensure that I always have up-to-date drivers.

Thanks again, everyone!
 
Old 05-17-2018, 11:41 AM   #9
hydrurga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxuser7 View Post
Thank you kind folks for the explanations! Now I have a better picture because I was honestly afraid that it would max out my data allotment (I have no choice other than satellite internet).

Due to problems I'm having finding a distribution that works with my AMD/Radeon integrated chipset, I am once again searching for a new distribution. At present, I am considering OpenSuse Tumbleweed and hence the question about rolling distributions. I used Suse years ago and had a lot of luck with it on laptops so maybe it's time to return to the fold. Also, a rolling distribution will ensure that I always have up-to-date drivers.

Thanks again, everyone!
If you're constrained to satellite internet, and it's expensive, I would probably suggest that you stick to a long-term distro and get that shipped to you by another route (e.g. CD/DVD/USB stick by mail). Then the only updates you will be getting, on the whole, will be security updates and suchlike. It all comes down to how expensive the satellite data charges are.
 
Old 05-17-2018, 11:59 AM   #10
linuxuser7
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Originally Posted by hydrurga View Post
If you're constrained to satellite internet, and it's expensive, I would probably suggest that you stick to a long-term distro and get that shipped to you by another route (e.g. CD/DVD/USB stick by mail). Then the only updates you will be getting, on the whole, will be security updates and suchlike. It all comes down to how expensive the satellite data charges are.
I have a big allotment of data from 2:00 am until 8:00 am so I can do this at night. It's burning the candle at both ends, but what the heck, you only live once.
 
Old 05-17-2018, 12:16 PM   #11
hydrurga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxuser7 View Post
I have a big allotment of data from 2:00 am until 8:00 am so I can do this at night. It's burning the candle at both ends, but what the heck, you only live once.
Also suitable for setting up automated updates at a specific time, if you decide to go down that route.
 
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