JoeBingo wrote:Let me ask these questions please ... If I were to just stick with Mint 11, after October when it is no longer updated ... what would happen?
- Would the existing updates still be available through the Update Manager?
I am not part of the Linux Mint team so I cannot answer with 100 % confidence. I just write out of my personal experience with Ubuntu since I still manage my girlfriend's Ubuntu 10.10 for which support stopped a few months ago.
Yes, the existing updates would still be available giving you the opportunity to have the most up-to-date Linux Mint 11 possible.
- Would the software repository still be available?
- Would the packages still be there in Package Manager?
Yes, to test this I have just installed a few minutes ago a package on my girlfriend's computer. It worked. I see no reasons why the Mint team would do something different than the Ubuntu team for this.
- What realistic real world security threats would I expose myself to by not having the latest kernel and so forth?
Not much. Today Linux viruses are almost non existent. The main attacks aimed at Linux, as far as I know, are taking control of your computer to use its resources, e.g., to make a spam dispatcher. If you keep your computer behind a NAT network, it is very unlikely that it will be a target. If you keep your computer with a public IP address, that is another story. I even think that a computer with recent updates has more security holes that an old distribution after the end of its support. New features means new security holes. Mate is really young while Gnome 2.32 was rock solid. Of course, I assume that you do not store vital data that people want to steal at any price.
- What am I NOT asking that should give me pause for consideration by sticking with Mint 11 after October?
To me the whole story boils down to a simple question: Does a more recent Mint version offer you a feature that was missing in Linux Mint 11 and that is really important to you? If the answer is "yes", try to update your graphic card and go for the new version. If the answer is no, stick to Mint "11".
As you could see, you more or less reached the limits of your hardware for very recent desktops (probably just your graphic chipset). Keeping updating your computer with new OS version is likely to become hard. After almost 25 years of Unix-based systems, my feeling is that you will loose more than you would gain. If I were you, I would stick to Mint 11.