LTS - what's the point, really?

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LTS - what's the point, really?

Postby palo on Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:19 pm

I broke into the Mint scene when 13 was released and there was much enthusiasm because it was a much touted LTS release (all hail LTS). I assumed that was a good thing. I found that some outdated software had to be brought up to snuff with PPAs etc. With the newer release of 14, I am seeing that newer software is there but, mmmm, the software in 13 doesn't get updated. One example; GIMP is at version 2.8 in 14 but still at 2.6 in 13 so I can't really say that GIMP is getting long term support ipso facto. Maybe it means that stale ol' 2.6 will keep getting updates (which means nothing much) through the year 2017 while everyone else is enjoying the magic of GIMP 2.14. I am either missing some value to the term LTS or it should just be called SWOS - stuck with old software.

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Re: LTS - what's the point, really?

Postby Orbmiser on Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:20 pm

Didn't I read somewhere that Clem was going to backport a lot of the new stuff to 13?
As my understanding they have started to do that?
And there is always adding your own fresher Repos to the mix.

And would be a Happy Camper if we could get Mint 14 Cinnamon as a rolling release.
Tho don't think we'll ever see that?
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Re: LTS - what's the point, really?

Postby xenopeek on Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:37 pm

palo wrote:I found that some outdated software had to be brought up to snuff with PPAs etc.

The LTS is for users that, after having done the initial installation, don't want to have to worry about their computer and just want to continue to use it as installed. The security team manages security issues and ensures you get timely upgrades for packages on which security issues have been found. You do not get upgrades of packages for new features, for that indeed you would upgrade to a new release. This ensures you can expect for the full support period to have a stable system and stable applications, with any security issues managed by the security team.

Versions with new features would naturally introduce new bugs (and security issues), may not be fully compatible with older versions, or may even work differently. Average users may not have a need for the "latest & greatest" of all their software "just because it is available". Having a stable and functioning system, that they can continue to use without worry, is generally more important to average users.

If you have a few select applications for which you need a newer version because of some new feature you need, that is what PPAs are for :D

The LTS gives you the option to install once and continue to use it for 5 years without worry. All the above goes for normal releases as well, just that a normal release only has 18 months support.
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Re: LTS - what's the point, really?

Postby palo on Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:38 pm

Orbmiser> of course you are right - the Mint specific stuff will be moved back which is great for Mint. I was thinking more on the 'buntu side of the fence that has to do with the core of things. There was a post that I can't find where AlbertP quoted a maintainer as saying that a fix for a particular gizget would only go into the next release and not be backported - so I don't even have a lot of faith in the "support for existing version" claim. Came from a rolling release distro and it has a good/bad side but the notion of long term support looked better on the menu than on the plate.
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Re: LTS - what's the point, really?

Postby palo on Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:16 pm

Vincent - I can understand somewhat why someone maybe would want to install the OS and watch all the bits go stale while all they do is check their email for 5 years. On the other hand, it seems as though I have to either: 1) save what I care about, install a new version, set it up the way I like again, etc - all time consuming; 2) search out and install from PPAs and probably end up with 12 PPAs before long and hope they do not have any conflicting dependency requirements. The whole time it would seem like what I want is in the 'buntu repositories but someone is deciding that my Firefox or whatever needs to be updated to the next version but not my GIMP. If my updates presented all options Firefox, GIMP etc then of couse if I want to stick with the same old, same old I do have the option to decline the update for either. I think that should be option #3. It is a conundrum.

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Re: LTS - what's the point, really?

Postby zerozero on Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:21 pm

palo,
you might want to read these 2 wiki documents
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/StableReleaseUpdates (the rationale and the exceptions)
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/StableReleaseUp ... Exceptions (special cases handled differently)

in the end you see that not much changes after a release is considered gold (for the reasons Vincent gave above)
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Re: LTS - what's the point, really?

Postby exploder on Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:21 pm

palo, Mint is not a rolling release.
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Re: LTS - what's the point, really?

Postby TBABill on Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:59 pm

The objective of LTS is not to provide the latest and greatest of packages. Rather it is to keep the OS up to date with bug fixes, security fixes and updates to other packages as the maintainers update them. LTS has never been the cutting edge of software releases so unless you do plan to use PPAs or roll your own packages, having the latest will require you to either use a rolling release distro or upgrade to the latest release every 6 months.
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Re: LTS - what's the point, really?

Postby palo on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:29 am

zerozero> I read it and get it (up to a point). My hat's off to the developers for their hard work. It's just that I don't see that updating GIMP or rawtherapee is anymore of a threat to my system stability than updating Firefox. Ever seen a topic where someone says "got updates today for Chromium/Firefox and now my <whatever> doesn't look/work right?

I started this as I was looking to add yet another PPA to get something in 13 that is already in 14 and as the PPAs start mounting up it dawned on me that this was not going to keep working for the life of the LTS because LTS means one thing to the developers but not the same thing to those wonderful people that make PPAs. I say this because whenever I consider adding a PPA and look at the filter on the launchpad site, I see that some have support for many releases and some for only 1 or 2. I figure that 2 years from now when I want to update/add a piece of software from a PPA and find that my "LTS" is not suported then I have no choice but to either install the latest OS release or learn to install from source.

I may be overly concerned about it and worried over nothing - just want to establish what works best for me with minimal trouble - that's all that really matters :D

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Re: LTS - what's the point, really?

Postby zerozero on Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:23 pm

Pat,
the question here is that ubuntu is a frozen release and those are just the few exceptions the headquarters decided to allow (mint has a more "open" approach specially when it comes to software that is developed in the house [ cinnamon, nemo, mdm ] or directly sponsored [ mate ]

in the end of the day this is a limitation the frozen releases have: you can't go on updating app while keeping the base system as-is. not endless and not without risking instability, a couple examples:

- "everybody" is now happy because mint backported some new shiny features into maya but probably (specially regarding cinnamon) this will be the last backport: the next stable cinnamon version (the one to include in the upcoming mint15) will rely on system lib that are too new for maya and a nightmare to backport; the same happened already with lisa (it is frozen at cinnamon 1.4 because 1.6 depends on newer cogl/clutter)

- depending on the release you are you can't have any (read the latest) version of say vlc (because it requires a newer ffmpeg that will break all the other multimedia stack - been there, done that :lol: ), the latest versions of opera can't run on older editions (ok this an old issue but gives you an idea of the inter-dependencies at play)

if you decide to keep with the lts (specially this one supported for 5 years - but who in tux name will be using maya in 2017?) 10 ppa's is a light usage but at least you can add one ppa to install one app to help you manage the ppa's (does this sound reasonable :shock: ) https://launchpad.net/y-ppa-manager
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Re: LTS - what's the point, really?

Postby palo on Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:36 pm

Okay I think I have it figured out. Not needing to have the latest release just because it is the newest, but still wanting up-to-date apps in some cases, the prudent thing to do is keep apps up-to-date with PPAs; when an app is no longer compatible with installed release, update with last release; when last release is no longer compatible with hardware, update - awjeez.

I don't think I am near the point that I need a PPA manager but that looks like it has some useful features and I will look into it more. Thanks for shooting straight talk about LTS and SRU policy that isn't filled with buck-shot.

Pat

Edit for clarity.
Last edited by palo on Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: LTS - what's the point, really?

Postby zeke on Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:44 pm

I had the same reaction as palo when I started to become familiar with the linux environment. LTS is great as far as providing a stable platform that is supported long-term, but not everyone, or I would wager not many, want to be running the same application software for five years. A lot of linux applications seem to be works-in-progress, so the motivation for upgrading isn't just because one has to have the latest version of everything - it offers real improvements. I have no problem with ppas, but many (most) packages don't seem to be backported to more than a few previous releases. The six-month-come-hell-or-high-water release schedule exacerbates the situation in my opinion. To this naive observer, producing a new release every six months seems senseless. If there was rapid innovation going on I could understand it, but on the surface it looks like the new releases often simply break software and change up the default email client and music player. As far as I can tell the only attempts to make real changes (e.g. gnome shell, unity) get hammered in large part because they're not like the old way (e.g. gnome2). I can't imagine it's easy or efficient for small developers especially to port their applications every six months to a new operating system that is likely to be significantly incompatible with the "old" (i.e. six months old) one.
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