Development > Linux Lite Software Development

Long Term Release vs. rolling distro


Rolling release, the good:
- Always latest software
- No need to do an upgrade

Rolling release, the bad:
- Always a chance something will break during an update, especially with cutting edge software
- No way to do full testing on a consolidated set of software versions

Periodic release, the good:
- Entire software set can be tested as a unit to ensure stability and correctness
- Better support and knowledge base developed over time

Periodic release, the bad:
- May not be latest software.  This can be mitigated (as LL has) by updating specific apps, but keeping the kernel back.
- Need to do a full upgrade or clean install to move to next version.  I have not found this to be a tremendous issue, as I like to keep my OS stable for a few years, especially if the latest apps are available.

Thanks for the good explanation. I have been reading arguments about the advantages and disadvantages of the LTR and rolling distro and looking for some opinions on this forum on the topic.


This is based on the wiki at

Regular releases are released every six months, and receive security updates for nine months.

LTS releases come out every two years, and are supported for five years. LL 1.0.x is now based on the current Ubuntu LTS release, 12.04.

Towards the end of this month, another LTS version, 14.04, will be released. The LL development team will then use it as the core release to develop LL 2.0. describes a rolling release, using Debian Linux as an example:

"Rolling Release means that were (sic) is no definite release date. The only quality assurance that will be done is that maybe some kind of snapshot is defined.

If you look at debian, you find both models.

    stable is an ordinary release branch (currently called 'wheezy').
    testing is the development branch (currently called 'jessie'). It is renamed to stable if it gets released.
    unstable is a rolling release branch (currently called 'sid')."

The LL development team has previously stated that a key LL development point is stability. Therefore, I don't see LL ever being a 'rolling release'. Perhaps by entertaining the idea of rolling releases, Canonical, the developers of Ubuntu, are finally starting to tire of updating everything in a wholesale fashion every six months.

Using LTS releases means one can update versions far less frequently and still receive support. With an LTS release, one isn't REQUIRED to update every six months.

Like trying to update Windows, updating ()Ubuntu can be a crap shoot, even though I've not noticed any issues when doing so. I guess it depends on what one has installed - which, of course, must be reinstalled if one does a 'clean install' every time...


What are the advantages of using a long term release like Ubuntu vs. a rolling distro for the basis of Linux Lite?

The more I read about Linux, the more confused I get. :-\


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