Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Distros and End Of Life

Now, call me weird, but last time I checked, when a distribution reached End of (supported) Life, the repositories and such for it didn't just vanish, right?

Unfortunately, that's what's gotten into some people's heads locally. For example, on my home network, there's three PC's running Ubuntu Jaunty, and everyone's telling me they MUST be upgraded come April (Which might be when Lucid is released, but I've never really paid attention to that) or they'll cease to work, or you'll never get updates, and other such doomsday prophecies.

The truth is, I couldn't care less.
Let's examine my network as it stands:
There are four laptops. One for each of us. The parents are running Vista and 7, because they came with the laptops. I've given up trying to suggest Linux might be worth trying on either laptop.
My own laptop and my brothers, both ancient Dell Latitude C400s, are both running Ubuntu Jaunty alone. While mine is ailing and dying (Though *still* hasn't died yet - it's persistant), his is still happily plugging away.
Then there's the two desktop PCs.
One dual boots Jaunty with Windows XP, because unfortunately we still find need for it from time to time. It seldom gets much use.
The other, this one, has Fedora 12 on it alone. This has the interesting effect that no one else will use it. At all.

Now, Fedora 12, despite some time ago cursing it off as the worst thing I ever saw, I've learned a bit more about, and it's not quite the big bad ogre I once thought it was, and truth be told, I'm considering upgrading to Fedora 13 as soon as the stable is out.
Ubuntu Jaunty, is, in my opinion, the last good Ubuntu there ever was. Some say Intrepid, some (mistakenly to my mind) say Karmic, but I say Jaunty. Karmic it far too buggy and unstable to be considered, and Lucid... I won't even go there.
So what am I to do, with three Ubuntu Jaunty installs that everyone thinks I'm going to have mayhem with come April?
There's all kinds of possibilities.

I like Jaunty. I might decide to stick with it. Given that the truth is that it'll still be perfectly fine, with only security updates and anything 3rd party repositories provide, I don't really see much wrong with it. But if I have to change it, there's only a few options.
I've gone off Debian and Ubuntu based systems. the DEB package format isn't bad, but Debian and Ubuntu, along with most of their derivatives, seem to make things too easy.

There's the possibility of going into Gentoo, Source Mage, Sourcer or Lunar, all of which are source-based distros. That's nice, but I'd like to have a graphic desktop now, rather than compile it myself, which is where Sabayon comes to the rescue.
Sabayon is based on, and maintains compatibility with, Gentoo, which as you may know, is an ongoing fascination of mine. (Incidentally, I remember seeing someplace that you can add Portage to other distros. I've no idea of the consequences, but for the adventurous among you, see what a search turns up.)
Sabayon provides binary packages, which is perfect for those in a hurry, but who also don't mind going back to good 'ol Gentoo's compiling. It gives you a KDE environment, and like most distros, a small suite of applications, then leaves it all up to you.

Alright, so what's the more flexible possibility?
Arch I've never got along with before. 'The Arch Way' is something that used to give me no end of trouble.
But then, that was before I realised that like Gentoo suggests reading the handbook as you install, so does Arch suggest reading the wiki, and I learned more.
Arch is nice in that it gives you the core system, and a command line, then essentially says 'Ok boss, what now?'
I can choose literally everything. No more installing and finding applications that I'll never know the purpose of or never use, because 99% of them will be ones I selected.

What other options are there, you ask?
Without going into much detail, Fedora, as mentioned, has my attention (The Yum package manager beats the pants of APT, and I really wish someone would port it to DEB)
Also in favour at the moment are Wolvix and Slackware. While I have had a few issues with Slack and Slack based systems, I'll grant I mananged to milk a great deal more out of my systems than on most other distros - something I hope to rival with Arch someday.
There's a pair of BSDs that have garnered my interest as well, GNOBSD, the only one I know of that provides Gnome on BSD out of the box, and PC-BSD, one of the few with a graphic installer - something useful for those who don't get the BSD naming schema.

As usual, there's a lot of choice. But since everyone's complaining I shouldn't be keeping Jaunty around, and I refuse to let Karmic on my network, it's looking likely that I'll just branch out my knowledge a bit.

1 comment:

  1. I have used various distros over the years and am currently back to mandriva 10.0. I have always been a fan of the MCC (Mandrake/Mandriva Control Center). YaST is good as well, but I'm just not as big of a fan.

    Anyway back to your point...If Jaunty works fine for you and you don't want to change it. DON'T!!! only you can make the correct choice for you. That's one of the great things about linux.