Q&A with Ubuntu contributor Mike Basinger

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Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

?It's frustrating to a user to have to reinstall on a frequent basis. After playing around with various Linux releases, I settled on Ubuntu, mainly because of the ease in installing Bumblebee for my NVidia Optimus video card. I sort of like Unity and would even be happy with Gnome desktop.

In any case, the news of a very short 9-month support cycle for non-LTS releases was self-defeating to those proposing Linux as a useful distribution. For me, it's an annoyance to have to do it, but I can manage the reinstallation in spite of being a senior with somewhat limited skills. But for Ubuntu users with more limited skills, reinstallation is an inconvenient minefield that most cannot manage or understand.

I would hope that Ubuntu would change their download page to re-emphasize the above and recommend the use of LTS releases for the non-computer hobbyist/tech lover/average user.

A rolling release, by the way, as considered but rejected by the powers that be, would have been a neater, more user-friendly solution.

AI agree that unless you like the latest and greatest (with somewhat less polish), you should always use an Ubuntu LTS release. Although, if a user feels up to it, gettingget as many eyes as possible on non-LTS releases is helpful, so the developers get good feedback via bug reports. With the non-LTS releases, the developers can be more creative and aggressive in what changes and what can be added to Ubuntu.

As for a rolling release, I believe the main reason the Ubuntu Tech Board and developers have decided against it so far is because of the amount of daily QA testing that would be required.

I have used other Linux distributions that use a rolling release system, and they work great until a badly built software package gets in the repository. Things can go really wrong at that point. If you feel strongly about it, be sure to attend the next UDS, all of which are online now, because they'll probably have another session on this topic.

Mike Basinger

Mike Basinger is a long-time contributor to Ubuntu Linux. He formerly served on the Ubuntu Community and Forum Councils and currently works at the University of Utah Marriott Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, as an IT manager. If you have any Ubuntu problems you would like answered, send your questions to: mailto:mike.basinger@ubuntu.com.

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