<OT> ubuntu bad press

Avi Greenbury lists at avi.co
Thu Aug 25 08:41:46 UTC 2011

Basil Chupin wrote:
> I think that the point which you are missing is that LTS simply
> stands for Long Term Support - but it doesn't, or shouldn't, mean
> that you are stuck with old crap while necessary packages are
> available.

For several values of 'neccesary', this isn't the case. Necessary
updates (security patches, fixes for feature-breaking bugs) go in,
unnecessary updates (new features, different config file formats, new
ABIs) don't.

The thinking is that throughout the course of a release nothing major
should change: major changes are reserved for major releases. This way
nobody is surprised to find that suddenly something works differently
after a routine upgrade.

> Put another way, what exactly does "Long Term Support" actually mean? 

It means you get updates for five years instead of only three for
non-LTS releases. 

> Sounds very much like pure PR/Marketing mumbo-jumbo: "you is stuck in 
> the rut, baby, while the rest of the world moves right aloooong".

Nobody is stopping anyone from upgrading out of an LTS into the newest
stable release. Or, indeed, into the current development release if you
really want frequent breakage^Wupdates.

> Nevertheless, what he stated holds true: up-to-date applications
> should NOT be made available by having to obtain them from ppa
> sources but should be made available as part of the standard upgrade
> process of an installed system.

This is where users disagree with systems administrators. Sysadmins
*don't* want surprise changes in interfaces or functionality - an
upgrade should just fix what's broken (even if that fix is to add
features), it should not risk breaking things.

Users reckon that an upgrade should always pull in the latest and
greatest of everything, usually for differing values of 'latest' or
'greatest', and almost always only for a relatively small, but unique,
subset of 'everything'. 

I gather part of the point of the PPA system is to enable the latter to
get by without infuriating the former (who are, after all, the ones
giving money to canonical). Is there some problem with using PPAs to
manage precisely which packages you want upgraded and which you don't?
Is there a better way? 
I've not yet met a distro that keeps much closer to upstream than
Ubuntu but also doesn't break fortnightly as the new kernel/X/some
module/whatever has some bug as a result of that wicked cool new

Having the whole of Ubuntu as a swirling mess of bang-up-to-date
packages just isn't going to happen. If that's really what you want,
then you want a rolling-release distro. I gather Arch is quite popular
for that.


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