Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Why Linux Mint going LTS is a great thing!

Linux Mint is one of the biggest distros out there. So big in fact that it is seemingly the new Ubuntu as the go-to distro for new users. In fact I used to use Linux Mint back in the days when its theme was black and green. Linux Mint 7 still remains as my favourite, I will never forget installing that on my computer, and everything just seemed to work. It was a sad day when support ended for it.

The big problem with many ubuntu-based distributions is the 6 month release cycle. It means that developers have to keep making new releases or they're going to get out of date fast, but it also means that devs can't pool there efforts and talents into one main release. It now seems obvious that that is the reason they release LMDE. But with less people using it it kind of defeated the object - obviously this was an unexpected result. Fewer but loud voices calling for such a distro.

In my opinion, the best move they could have made is to become an LTS release - short of making LMDE their primary release. Its a toss up of two bests, Newer packages and a debian style two year release cycle. What this means is more quality testing, the ability to backport newer software, and the opportunity to not rush anything. Ergo more opportunity to work on Cinnamon and MATE, its a fantastic concept.

LTS is known to be more stable, it has better security support, better kernels, often the best software, and that longer release cycle really makes a difference. In the end Mint is really going to benefit from this funnelling of energy. Six months just isn't a long time. It will also allow them to benefit more from ubuntu's offerings. For instance support tends to end quickly on a non-LTS release, if memory serves after 6 months we're doing to security updates but no package updates. Yet on an LTS its two years package updates and 5 years of security updates.

This is also going to allow for more stability for users. No longer will Mint users have to keep wiping and re-installing. Its hard work for them, and their hard-drives. Of course this is going to weed out the OCD weirdos who love to wipe their hard drives! But for us normal folk this turn-around is great news.

Although I use arch, if arch suddenly disappeared from the universe by some cataclysmic event. I would happily use a Mint LTS version. Ubuntu may suck, but Mint's high quality development team, they tend to make things just that much better.

Webupd8 article here

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