Boston Linux & Unix (BLU) Home | Calendar | Mail Lists | List Archives | Desktop SIG | Hardware Hacking SIG
Wiki | Flickr | PicasaWeb | Video | Maps & Directions | Installfests | Keysignings
Linux Cafe | Meeting Notes | Blog | Linux Links | Bling | About BLU

BLU Discuss list archive

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Discuss] Ubuntu alternatives and upgrading distributions

A couple of articles relating to the thread on Ubuntu alternatives and
Linux desktop distributions in general.

Linux Mint 12 "Lisa" now available, is most popular open source OS

  In just the last twelve months, Linux Mint has surpassed Ubuntu as the
  most popular open source operating system on open source ranking
  website DistroWatch. Why, you ask? Perhaps because the latter has been
  looking with a new perspective on the user interface, and begun aiming
  at mobile platforms instead. However, note that Linux Mint is actually
  built on Ubuntu, so it has quite a few of Ubuntu's advantages while
  doing away with some of its shortcomings...

I thought Mint was still pretty much a minority player, though we
shouldn't confuse DistroWatch rankings with how widely deployed a
distribution is. I'm sure Ubuntu, which spent years at or near the top
of the DistroWatch rankings, still dwarfs the number of Mint
deployments. Still, DistroWatch could be accurately reflecting a trend...

I see that this version of Mint uses GNOME 3, so don't expect Mint to
insulate you from substantial UI changes. The article describes it as "a
solid desktop interface that isn't trying to do something crazy. "

Elsewhere Alex Handy in an SDTimes blog posting looks at the problem of
Linux OS upgrades from a server/application developer-perspective:

  ...there really isn't a 10-year Linux. ...when it comes to long term're looking at 2 to 5 years of support, max.

  You can't use Debian, because their release cycle is glacial. You
  can't use Ubuntu because their release cycle is break-neck. Is there
  room for a Linux that is released once a year, but each year's release
  has all security patches and bug fixes ported to previous versions?

  ...the short no. But this isn't because the market is
  moving away...It's because we're all doing it wrong.

  In 2003, you didn't want to touch the OS layer. Your app worked on a
  single instance of an OS, and it ran on a specific version, due to
  some requirement, or compatibility issue. But today, that whole
  paradigm of sticking with an old system to avoid change is rather
  wrong headed. When it comes down to it, if you're building a Web
  application, you really don't need to worry about the OS layer too

  The days of a Linux kernel patch breaking your application should
  really be behind you. When it comes right down to it, it's the items
  in your stack over which you should be executing version control. The
  right versions of the right libraries and components are still
  essential, and likely will be for years to come.

  But the actual OS you're using should be getting more and more
  irrelevant. The OS is just the container for your application...

  So, we're now drawing a line in the sand. If you're worried about
  upgrading an OS that's below a Web or mobile application, you're doing
  it wrong.

  And, of course, the inverse of this whole blog entry seems also to be
  true: as the OS layer becomes less relevant, there's less reason to
  upgrade it, ever. If it works, you might as well keep that virtual
  machine and disk image in its present state forever.

(I've edited this heavily, removing several qualifiers the author
included, so if you disagree with his premise, read the full text first.)

While this is talking about web apps running on servers, you should be
able to extrapolate the same ideas to the desktop...yet you can't.
Surprisingly the core of the OS - the kernel - is actually relatively
easy to upgrade without upgrading the full OS. Instead the linchpin for
any desktop OS version seems to be the libc version and secondly the GUI
environment version.


Tom Metro
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA
"Enterprise solutions through open source."
Professional Profile:

BLU is a member of BostonUserGroups
BLU is a member of BostonUserGroups
We also thank MIT for the use of their facilities.

Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS!

Boston Linux & Unix /