[kwlug-disc] What's the best desktop distribution?

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Mon Feb 8 14:44:19 EST 2010

Khalid Baheyeldin wrote, On 02/07/2010 10:46 PM:
> On Sun, Feb 7, 2010 at 10:08 PM, unsolicited <unsolicited at swiz.ca 
>     Khalid Baheyeldin wrote, On 02/07/2010 7:37 PM:
>                   I can see your point is some (?) years as Drupal
>         settles down.
>                   You've pointed out that Drupal is currently still in rapid
>                   evolution. In your experience / expectation, is LTS,
>         today,
>                reasonable?
>                Ubuntu LTS is indeed viable. I never had something break
>         on me
>                on a server because of an apt upgrade. Shouldn't say "never",
>                but at least I don't recall such
>                an incident.
>            You took me the opposite way. What I meant was, if you're in the
>            middle of frequent updates anyways, does non-'LTS' really add any
>            significant effort? Do you gain / lose much?
>         Sorry, now I take the question to mean: "If non-LTS forces
>         frequent upgrades, then what is the value in using them at all?"
>         Hope I got it right this time?
>     Close. If you're there already for Drupal updates, in your
>     experience, is the gain of non-LTS currency against the expense of
>     more frequent updates it brings, over LTS, balance the scales in any
>     way? Because you're already there for Drupal updates anyways. (This
>     is getting hard to say.)
> With Drupal, it is only one application, and I know where to get updates 
> (drupal.org <http://drupal.org>)
> and how to get alerted on new updates (update.module in Drupal 6). That 
> works well for minor version updates (6.x to 6.x).
> The Drupal cycle is now around 2 years, if not more. So major version 
> upgrades are the less painful when we had a 6-8 month cycle.
> With Drupal, I can replicate the site to a test machine in 10 to 15 
> minutes, and upgrade it there. I can't upgrade my laptop from a non-LTS 
> version every 6 months and find out that wireless did not work, or the 
> screen resolution is bad, and then back it out. I can't do work without 
> my desktop.
> This is why the rule is to be on LTS, and make exceptions where the need 
> arises (e.g. KDE unstable, Drupal on servers, ...etc.)
> Did I get it this time?

Gotcha. In essence, the non-repository updates are well quantified / 
identified / bounded. The LTS updates have, traditionally, not broken 
critical functionality for you, such as wi-fi, or KDE. Non-LTS updates 
have, such as 8.x to 9.04. [Mind you, we should all have paid more 
attention to the little voice in the back of our heads telling us to 
be wary of a major upgrade of KDE.]

>         First, a bit of background: One thing that Ubuntu does which is
>         disconcerting is that after a while the repositories of non-LTS
>         versions will be made unavailable, meaning
>         that you cannot install anything some time after the release
>         becomes unsupported.
>         The reason I use non-LTS releases on the desktop is Ubuntu's
>         decision with 8.04. That release was meant to be an LTS release,
>         supported for 5 years for servers and 3 years for desktops. That
>         was true for servers and the Gnome Ubuntu. For KDE, the release
>         of KDE 4 caused the Canonical team to decide that 8.04 will NOT
>         be an LTS release for Kubuntu. I decided to skip 8.04 on the
>         desktop. When I got a new laptop I installed 9.04 on it since it
>         was the latest available. That was a very buggy release, and had
>         lots of problems. Now with 9.10 out, things are back to being
>         both stable AND functional. But it is not LTS and hence I have
>         to keep upgrading until an LTS comes out.
>     I remember your commenting on 9.04, which matched my own experience,
>     and others. How likely are you to not stay with a more current
>     release on the desktop, anyways? Heck, there are still warts in 9.10
>     that I don't expect to be fixed until the next release. And not long
>     after we'll be into this cycle again.
> If I were forced to stay with 9.04 (e.g. 9.10 hypothetically never was 
> in the making), then I would have done something drastic. I was already 
> considering Xubuntu (no Gnome, no KDE) because 9.04's KDE 4.x was so bad.

I'm guessing going back to 8.x wasn't an option, it being a new laptop 
for you at the time. And we're back to hardware / security support of 
old version on new hardware.

>  From a day to day thing, they are the same. I feel at home enough on client
> machines that are Debian. Did not do full version to version upgrades though
> to say one way or the other.
> Now, if it is RedHat/CentOS with Plesk, I start cursing in Arabic ...


Thanks for this. Good to know.

Including, yes, even at just a command line, that the differences 
between Debian/Ubuntu and CentOS/Fedora are significant enough to be 
irritating and annoying, if you're not 'native language' comfortable 
with both. Even for a former Mandriva user.

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