Fedora and long term support
Posted Oct 18, 2008 14:47 UTC (Sat) by maney
In reply to: Fedora and long term support
Parent article: Fedora and long term support
Ubuntu LTS for desktops, IME&O:
It's a nice idea, but at least for the rules of engagement that were (are?) used for Dapper I don't think it's very useful. Two years (the next LTS, which is the only usefully supported upgrade path) is at least twice too long to wait IFF volatile things like Firefox don't get some sort of new-version during LTS lifetime option. My wife's machine ran Dapper from somewhere around the time of its release (may have switched her during the extended beta, a couple weeks ahead of release) until shortly after Hardy, and there were issues with both web-based and other services that had drifted past the support in Dapper's packages (Gaim, I think, but there was another that I can't now recall that's used by a bunch of the Distributed Proofreaders gang that was an annoyance) well before the next LTS came along.
Then again, Hardy was not all roses either - the biggest one was that they insisted on sticking Firefox 3 in, without proper versioning/alternatives support, at a time when it was in our opinions grossly unready. That's the price a project pays for leaving large swaths of functionality to be added by third-party extensions: if the extensions one relies on aren't ready, neither is the base project. Oh, and pulseaudio, which Just Worked on some machines and Just Didn't on others. That has gotten better since release, though my own desktop still had some issues until I switched the old Creative card out for a low-end Diamond.
On the server side I'm using Debian Etch and nothing else. I had a test server using whichever Ubuntu release was current around the time Etch came to fullness, but saw no advantage to it, and of course there was no supported upgrade path from the existing Sarge installs to Ubuntu. I suppose I ought to reevaluate that again now, but I doubt I'll have the time for it, especially as I've had no complaints about Etch for servers.
I'm not really happy with either the six-month or the two-year cycle for desktops; the former is just too damned much churn, the latter really is too long for the inherent rate of change in services one wishes to connect to. Note that I am NOT talking about corporate desktops here, so I don't expect any commercially-funded distro to pay the least attention to this...
footnote: when I talk about a supported upgrade, I mean an in-place upgrade that doesn't need a lot of manual fixup afterwards. Having been accustomed to this level of support since I moved all my machines from Slackware to Debian a decade ago, anything less is annoying. I don't expect perfection - if the upstream has drastically altered the config file format there's not much to be done about it other than leaving things in a safe state until the admin can revise it - but it's never acceptable to just dump old config settings. Debian has come awfully near this goal repeatedly; Ubuntu seems just a bit less reliable, but the desktop stuff has gotten a lot more voluminous since I switched to Ubuntu for those machines, nor have I been keeping a written score.
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