The problem with "stable" Linux distributions

Aleksander Demko, September, 2007

I like stable, long supported Linux distribution versions, like Ubuntu 6.04 LTS. Unlike the frequent, bleeding edge releases from Fedora and Ubuntu, these long term support releases promise a stable platform. This platform you could hope to depend on for at least a few years, with an assured stream of security updates.

However, most long term support distributions (Ubuntu LTS and RHEL, etc) only really provide support in the way of security updates. Software packages within the distribution are rarely updated. This has many drawbacks.

Newer (minor) versions of applications almost always contain much needed bug fixes or internationalisation updates. Incremental feature updates may also be included, and are often designed not to break compatibility with old data files.

When a user is hit with a show stopping logic, usability or other bugs or simply desire new minor feature in one of their packages, they are often told to either:

I propose that long term support versions, if they want to be more relevant to users, especially desktop users, do the following:

Off the top of my head, I stumbled upon these issues with Ubuntu 6.04: