Long Term Support vs Rolling Linux Release: Page 2

There are pros and cons to an LTS distro release yet they remain a solid option for a variety of reasons.
Posted February 8, 2016

Matt Hartley

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On the desktop, both Arch and Ubuntu LTS are both manageable. However, you must decide for yourself if you want to update with the frequency that Arch needs to remain current or not. There is no wrong answer, however, Ubuntu does mean less daily updating. If you want a more hands off experience and don't have the very latest PC tech (only a few months old), then Ubuntu LTS should be just fine.

If you want the latest software changes, super-current kernel and have no problem backing up your system on a schedule to minimize any surprises, Arch is a speedy alternative worth using.

When it comes to a NFS/Samba, Plex/XBMC, or other home servers, the choice becomes a bit clearer. Speaking exclusively for myself, it’s Ubuntu LTS all day long – not even a debate. The only urgency I have to updating my home servers come down to security and feature fixes. Both, of which I prefer to do on my own schedule and not all at once. I want old, stable...but patched and secure for these appliances.

Since these are not enterprise devices and are patched at all times, I don't need "bleeding edge" software on any of them. If there is a new feature that comes to the software running on them, the vendor provided repositories make upgrades easy enough when I have the time or interest.

Decide for yourself

Which distro is best for you? My response is simply this – it depends on what you expect from your operating system. Generally speaking, I believe Ubuntu LTS based distributions are the best bet for newcomers. I also believe it's the best option for those who prefer a more hands-off user experience (less daily updates). Myself, my "goto" fixed release distro is Ubuntu MATE. Contrary to popular belief, there are specific things added that make this a great install and forget it distro. TLP for power management, a working disabled touchpad while typing feature, among other fixes on the backend. Full disclosure, I contributed to small elements of the project and also contribute a little financially to it as well. But, I do so because they "got it" right.

Arch of course, has updates daily and this is why I selected it for my comparison. Be aware, however, there are other distros that are also rolling releases that are not as bleeding edge as Arch. If you want an install it and forget it distro, but would rather avoid building it yourself or using Arch derivatives, I'm a big fan of PCLinuxOS or LMDE. For someone wanting a more vanilla experience, you can also look to Debian Unstable.

What say you? Do you feel I have this completely backwards? Perhaps you feel Arch isn't the best comparable for the rolling vs LTS release comparison? Hit the Comments and share your thoughts.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Tags: Linux, Ubuntu, Linux desktop

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