stable Linux. Truth or Myth?

Link to this post 17 Oct 11

No, Arch only roles out stable releases. The objective is to keep it simple and to make sure everything works. Any beta software installed is up to the user.

Oh, I forgot, Debian squeeze is another one. VERY good one. In fact try this first. It also uses stable software and version releases. You do have the option to use experimental and proprietary software.

Link to this post 18 Oct 11

I've very rarely had problems with Ubuntu. But on the two or three times I have, it's almost always been the result of a dodgy update (usually drivers) or hardware. These days I only install the mandatory security updates and leave all the optional ones unless they address a specific problem I have. Also, if I want to evaluate a new app, I generally install it into a VM before I put it on the host OS to try it out for stability and impact; learned THAT the hard way!

There are a few machines knocking around at my place that haven't been reinstalled in +/- three years and haven't given a day's trouble (even when they've been messed about by Windows apps running under WINE). If I get a reproducible crash situation I tend to start with hardware or something I'VE done rather than a problem in the OS.

This isn't me banging the Linux drum but I reckon you'd have to go a long way to find something more stable.

Link to this post 18 Oct 11

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't Arch a rolling release with a large quantity of beta and dev software?

I doubt there's any beta/dev software in Archlinux (unless you get to the "unstable" repos). Arch only gets latest stable releases :)

Link to this post 19 Oct 11

Most of the popular distros are stable unless you stray out of their subscribed repositories. There are many ways of creating instability while running a particular distro if you ignore their manual and install things generically by compiling code on your own from the developers website.

For example, in Fedora, if you decide to use the Nvidia proprietary drivers and don't follow the instructions that are in the forum, and, choose to use the .run file from the Nvidia website, you're certain to wind up with a broken system. Or, another example, is downloading OpenOffice or LibreOffice from their website instead of installing it from the Fedora repo, you can also run into problems. I'm not saying folks shouldn't experiment, but just realize that if you don't RTFM, occasionally you'll get bitten.

Sometimes when main features go through major revisions, such as, the switch from KDE3 to KDE4, or, the switch from Gnome2 to Gnome3, or, even the introduction of Unity by Ubuntu, the stability of the version that features that change drops until all the bugs are ironed out, but, these changes don't happen very often, so, saying that there's a problem with stability in Linux distros isn't a correct assessment.

As a matter of practice I use distros that skirt the bleeding edge so I can test and file bugs, and, even though I run distros based Debian Sid or run Fedora with the testing repos enabled, I've had very few instances of instability in the years I've been using Linux.

It's all a matter of how you use you're system as to whether it remains stable or not. Most distros take great care in not releasing unstable versions of apps into their main repositories.

Link to this post 20 Oct 11

Thank you for all the responses to my question. While trying to prep my desktop machine for a new install, I've managed to break it to the point where it doesn't boot at all regardless of the OS. At this point, I probably qualify for a job with my company's IT department whose motto seems to be: If it ain't broken, fix it until it is.

Oh well, I guess I have a lot more work to do. In the meantime, I dusted off an old laptop--with a corner broken off of it--that seems to run just fine on Mint 9.

Link to this post 21 Oct 11

Your CD-ROM may be broken. Did you try to replace it and make sure that your system is set to boot from a CD/ROM?

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