A Saga Begins

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my operating system. Well, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged about anything much, so my latest round of Linux adventures is as good a place as any to start again.

If a Linux home workstation has any real disadvantage compared to Windows, it is this: most Linux users are tech people and Linux release models are catered to them. The phrase you hear a lot on communities is, “bleeding edge”. Not cutting. Bleeding. One way or another, the developers behind the most used distros are committed to the user communities always having the latest and greatest. This attitude has its downside.

There are two main release models for home Linux distros: biannual and ‘rolling’. Fedora and Ubuntu, the two main ones I’ve used over the past 8 years, release a new version every 6 months, usually packaged with the latest versions of the software applications (i.e. the latest version of the preferred browser, desktop environment, office package, etc.). When you upgrade or install, you have the most recent stable software at that date, packaged as a complete operating system that will be patched as bugs and security issues are resolved for a given length of time. (And I’ll come back to the length of time in a moment.) If you always want the latest everything, distros like Arch release the latest version of everything from app to kernel so you always have the option of the bleeding edge of everything. This constant updating does come at the price of more frequent issues than a development freeze-frame every six months.

The problem with the bleeding edge for the more general user is that nothing stays stable and working. Red Hat only supports a given version of Fedora for around a year, so unless you want the ball-ache of some serious maintenance DIY, you’re forced to upgrade at least every other version. At least Canonical supports every fourth version of Ubuntu for five years for the people who just want an operating system that works for the lifespan of their computer.

I know that some will argue that upgrading every six months or so only requires a couple of clicks. However, I’ve tended to do fresh installs ever since my first attempt at an Ubuntu upgrade, which made a total mess and resulted in my having to do a fresh install anyway. Furthermore, I do have a bit of an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Once I’ve got an operating system as I want it, I tend to resent all the fiddling to get my desktop looking and working as it used to. Plus, I prefer Fedora to Ubuntu – a given release candidate is (usually) less buggy in my experience, and I feel more like I’m in control of Fedora’s behaviour. Yes, I know I’m probably Gentoo’s target market.

Why am I telling you this? So that the saga of my latest computer woes (beginning next week) makes more sense.

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~ by Scary Rob on 11 May, 2016.

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