Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby hinto on Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:24 pm

No problem... I've tried about every liveCD listed on Distrowatch. Each has their own merits. I'm not as adamant about rolling releases as a once was (since I keep /home on a different partition), but I just don't get my jollies installing/configuring Linux every 6 months (at least 6 years ago). Now I've borked my system enough and installers have come so far, that it's (a rolling distro) is like icing on the cake (or would that be stripes on my shirt).

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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby xenobrain on Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:51 am

I've been running Arch Linux on my home desktop for six years. Only twice in those years have I had a major issue with an update.

The first was an unbootable kernel and the second a KDE that crashed every login. Both were fixable by me, and both had advisories on the homepage and newsfeed (<sarcasm>silly me, forgetting to visit the website before and update....</sarcasm>)

So definitely not a server-class distro, but as a home user I am able, and have chosen to put with with such things because I feel the benefits of a rolling release outweigh the occasional faux pas. And by occasional, I mean once every couple years of near-daily updates. Not a bad track record at all, if you think about it.

So what are the benefits? Well, I LOVE fresh software. I CRAVE fresh software. Arch doesn't always have the very latest software either, but often very or potentially unstable software shows up in the user repository (AUR) and can be gotten there, and if not, it's actually very easy for me to grab Arch's official PKGBUILD script for a given package and update it myself (only takes seconds to update and a usually only a few muinutes to build).

I don't mind a 6 month reinstall cycle myself, but still it's nice I don't have to on my Arch box.


Now, as this is the Linux Mint forums, you might be asking why I'm running Mint if I'm so glowy about Arch. Well I run Mint on my laptop right now. Not that there was any problem with Arch's performance there, but I have a tendency to muck around with Arch too much and it's easier to resist that temptation with Mint, which just works (really well!) out of the box and is close to how I would configure my own desktop were I building it from scratch as per Arch.
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby tdockery97 on Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:45 am

Mint is nearly a rolling release with 3 years from the LTS. Remember that even rolling releases require a new install if major changes are made (just happened with PCLinuxOS)
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby ezas on Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:29 pm

hinto wrote:Those distros were even older at the time (~ 1 year ago). Any kernel later (newer) than 2.6.27 seemed to work fine. If you update the kernel in a "released" distro, you run the risk of breaking your entire system. Presumably with a rolling release yo have the latest software and kernel.
-Hinto


So there is no misunderstanding

In the RR Distro I use a kernel is never automatically installed. You have to use a package manager and select to install kernel x.y.z

Multiple kernel version and options (bfs/pae/a64) are maintained in the Repos. Installing, trying, changing (including grub entries) is easy peasy. No files to edit, no CLI commands. (unless you want to use them)
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby hinto on Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:45 pm

I ran apt-get dist-upgrade (including kernels) almost weekly with sidux.
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby linuxviolin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:08 pm

xenobrain wrote:II've been running Arch Linux on my home desktop for six years.

Arch Linux, or the art of making even more difficult than Slackware... :|
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby Robin on Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:11 am

I toyed with PCLinuxOS for a bit because I liked the idea of rolling release. It's easy enough using Synaptic. Just Reload > Mark all upgrades > Apply. That is the way they insist is the only safe way to do it.

My problem is the all-or-nothing approach doesn't suit me at all! I need to be able to choose which updates to accept. Sometimes the old kernel works and a new one borks something. So much stuff breaks after updating even selectively, let alone upgrading everything, every time.

Too scary for this kid!

-R
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby randomizer on Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:55 am

What do they define as safe? I can't see how selectively updating (especially between minor kernel updates) is going to break things just because they don't call it safe. Ubuntu breaks things even if you update everything.
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby viking777 on Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:17 am

exploder wrote:
Take a look at how PCLInuxOS is built and updated. :)

Edit: Today I got Firefox 3.6.7, Thunderbird 3.1.1 and K3b 2.0.80 just to name a few of the updates I received. These apps were tested, then put on the pass server for 8 or 9 hours, then pushed out to the main repos. I very rarely have any problems and when I do they are very quickly resolved in a matter of hours. I had a very minor issue with saving images about a week ago, I was given a resolution by the Lead Developer minutes after I posted the problem, now that's support! This is clearly a perfect example of how a rolling release should be.


Yep same for me with Sidux. I have had breakages, but very few, and there has usually been a workround or fix within hours (minutes sometimes) and bear in mind this is tracking Unstable where you would expect more untried updates and therefore more problems (I once got three new kernels on the same day!).

As an example they updated apt recently which broke both synaptic and gdebi (but neither of these programs are in the default Sidux install which is why they went ahead with the apt update). A new synaptic appeared the next day and gdebi the day after and in the meantime you could use apt-get and dpkg if you needed to. One thing that Sidux has is an Updates Warning section in their forum where they warn of such things as the synaptic/gdebi problems. The trick is to read these first and if you think you are going to be affected then either don't update at all or put the package causing the breakage on hold. Of course a proportion of the Mint user base is not really going to go for that as it involves some effort and decision taking, and it will be interesting to see how Clem handles that one. It also requires people who really know what they are doing to take an active part in the Update Warning section of the forum - ie. developers/programmers not just users who will generally not have sufficient knowledge to formulate workrounds and fixes.

Of course Mint is going to be based on Testing not Unstable so the packages that do arrive will have already undergone evaluation in the Unstable branch as well as developer testing before it reached that stage, so there should not be as many issues as there are with Sidux - and as I said there aren't many of those anyway.
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby zerozero on Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:39 pm

I've running Mandriva Cooker (the distro's development branch) for nearly one year now, and Cooker is at the same time rolling release and cutting edge, and that suits what i want. You may ask if Cooker is all that why am i here and bother to have Mint installed? Because Mint is the safe place, the one i can trust if i need something done. Cooker sometimes is broken or hardly usable, but is very funny and in there we can see the "future" -today i began to receive the updates for KDE 4.6

Alongside with Mint is the most user-friend distro i know, and i know a few :)
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby linuxviolin on Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:12 pm

zerozero wrote:I've running Mandriva Cooker (the distro's development branch) for nearly one year now, and Cooker is at the same time rolling release and cutting edge, and that suits what i want. You may ask if Cooker is all that why am i here and bother to have Mint installed? Because Mint is the safe place, the one i can trust if i need something done. Cooker sometimes is broken or hardly usable, but is very funny and in there we can see the "future" -today i began to receive the updates for KDE 4.6

Alongside with Mint is the most user-friend distro i know, and i know a few :)

And this post, like that by viking777 above, once more show well why a rolling release can be problematic and not a good design for "real" work. "funny" etc, ok, great but not a "safe place"... :roll:
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby hinto on Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:18 pm

linuxviolin wrote:And this post, like that by viking777 above, once more show well why a rolling release can be problematic and not a good design for "real" work. "funny" etc, ok, great but not a "safe place"... :roll:


After running sidux on a "production" machine at work, where I develop software for a living, I found a rolling release no safer or riskier than a non-rolling release. The "anecdotal evidence" comes from running sidux, kanotix (when it was sid), openSUSE, pcLinuxOS, OpenSolaris in a production environment.
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby zerozero on Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:48 pm

i'm going to try to clarify my point: i run a rolling release, but by feature it's experimental, cutting edge, in the same way it's sid.
But if you don't match this two features - rolling release and cutting edge- i can't see the drawbacks of it, the way squeeze goes. May not be rock solid, but i dare to say it's more stable than the Ubuntu stable releases.

And being the next Mint Debian based in squeeze alls good
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby linuxviolin on Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:03 pm

zerozero wrote:May not be rock solid, but i dare to say it's more stable than the Ubuntu stable releases.

On this, yes, we can believe it... :wink: :mrgreen:
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby adrianx on Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:26 am

linuxviolin wrote:
xenobrain wrote:II've been running Arch Linux on my home desktop for six years.

Arch Linux, or the art of making even more difficult than Slackware... :|

I disagree.

Arch has been good to me for over a year now. I update almost daily and sometimes even more than once a day. It seems that it is mostly people with very little experience that make statements like that..... or people that refuse to read the manual (for some stupid reason).

Edit: Oh, and another thing. Arch, in my opinion, has some of the best documentation out there (and I don't mean just pretty) :) ...
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby linuxviolin on Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:58 am

adrianx wrote:Arch has been good to me for over a year now. I update almost daily and sometimes even more than once a day.

Good, good for you. :)

adrianx wrote:It seems that it is mostly people with very little experience that make statements like that..... or people that refuse to read the manual (for some stupid reason).

It's quite the contrary... at least in my case :wink:

adrianx wrote:Arch, in my opinion, has some of the best documentation out there (and I don't mean just pretty) :) ...

About the documentation, yes, you're right. It's not the only with a quite good one but it is quite good, yes.
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby thenewguy on Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:34 am

I often wonder why people run Arch. It seems to have a very small, but vocal, group of users. Honestly, it took me longer to skim through the install documentation than it usually takes me to install a distro. Sure, the documentation is good, but I much prefer to use a system where I don't need the docs just to get the thing running. Which is why I like Mint. A nice, stable release supported for three years where everything is simple.
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby axel668 on Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:25 pm

thenewguy wrote:I often wonder why people run Arch. It seems to have a very small, but vocal, group of users. Honestly, it took me longer to skim through the install documentation than it usually takes me to install a distro. Sure, the documentation is good, but I much prefer to use a system where I don't need the docs just to get the thing running. Which is why I like Mint. A nice, stable release supported for three years where everything is simple.


Arch is much more than a distribution - Arch is a state of mind. Arch is not about quick results, it's about THE WAY you do things (see http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/The_Arch_Way). In the months using Arch I learned more about how Linux works than in years of Mandrake and Ubuntu before. Besides it feels really good when you got your desktop environment running for the 1st time ;)

Using Mint now because I don't have time to tinker with my system so much anymore, but Arch will always have a place in my heart ! In fact I'm feeling much like giving it another chance on the other partition, maybe, and see if I can get it to do everything I can do with Mint now - best thing you can do with a rainy Winter's weekend ;)
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby linuxviolin on Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:36 pm

axel668 wrote:Arch is much more than a distribution - Arch is a state of mind. Arch is not about quick results, it's about THE WAY you do things

:lol: Yes, like I said and I stand, I'm sorry adrianx lol, its motto is: "How to make more difficult than Slackware" :mrgreen:

axel668 wrote:In the months using Arch I learned more about how Linux works than in years of Mandrake and Ubuntu before. Besides it feels really good when you got your desktop environment running for the 1st time ;)

If I wanted learning "more about how Linux works", I think I 'll make it with Slackware... But maybe it's just me. :wink:

There is a little time I still had Calculate Linux (Gentoo), a quite good, flexible and stable distro. I guess I prefer it to Arch, even though I don't say Arch is a bad distro, don't misunderstand me. :wink:
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Re: Drawbacks of a Rolling Release?

Postby GoustiFruit on Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:50 am

Robin wrote:I toyed with PCLinuxOS for a bit because I liked the idea of rolling release. It's easy enough using Synaptic. Just Reload > Mark all upgrades > Apply. That is the way they insist is the only safe way to do it.

My problem is the all-or-nothing approach doesn't suit me at all! I need to be able to choose which updates to accept. Sometimes the old kernel works and a new one borks something. So much stuff breaks after updating even selectively, let alone upgrading everything, every time.

Too scary for this kid!

-R

I *don't* remember the last time - if ever - that I had such a problem with PCLinuxOS !
If any update was to break anything (still has to happen), then the next update would fix it. Point barre.

A rolling distro is a distribution that is corrected and improved day after day. It matures and perfects slowly.
Other distributions push a big update (=install), full of bugs, people complain and after a few months things start to get patched and working again. Just in time for the next big update (=install).
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