Daily Archives: 2009/04/19

Updating from Ubuntu 8.04 LTS?

A Phoronix article suggests that Dell should update the Ubuntu on its Inspiron netbook. Michael Larabel wrote:

Besides running faster, the newer Ubuntu releases have better hardware support, various package updates, many improvements to GNOME, and all sorts of other features. Ubuntu 8.04 is nice for its Long-Term Support with Canonical continuing to push out security updates for years to come, but a much better experience can be had on Ubuntu 9.04 with its faster performance, updated packages, and newer features.

I think this view is very wrong. It is really a rather geeky kind of way of looking at computers. Take alone the fact where they are basing their suggestion “For our Ubuntu 9.04 testing we used a development snapshot from 2009-04-10“. Jaunty also introduces two new design decisions/technologies like the new notification system and also the extended FUSA applet. Both cant be called stable and have caused some protest already. both technologies will either be removed or much better in the next LTS release.

The whole point of LTS is trading stability and predictability in favour of newer and quicker technologies. So Michael misses the core point of why LTS was invented. It also removes the need for administrators to look at updates besides the security updates. if the users running around with the newest non-LTS Ubuntu the admins will have to look on every update – this takes much more time on a current Ubuntu than on a LTS release.

It is still up to the decision of a user who bought such a netbook to update if he thinks Ubuntu Jaunty is better for him – if he desperately needs a quicker boot process and so on. So I am not arguing against progress but rather like to brake the very idea that newer is always better and that progress alone is an argument for updating. I know that this is a very common view in the Linux world, but outside of that it is not always a smart thing to do.

What was good some years ago does not become bad overnight.

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