Should You Use A Rolling Or Point Release Distro

When your read reviews of Linux distros, a lot of the time you will hear the terms, “Rolling release” and “Point release” a lot. A point release distro has many different versions, while a rolling release distro has one version, that gets continually updated, and you will never have to upgrade to a new release. Having a rolling release distro or a point release distro is one of the most important decisions when it comes to what Linux distro you want to use, so I am going to explain why you should consider using a rolling release or point release distro.

Rolling release distros

By far, the most popular rolling release distro is Arch Linux, however there are also others, like Debian Sid, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed, and even Gentoo. One of the main reasons that people use a rolling release distro is that, in most cases, you will a lot of the newest pieces of software. If there is a new kernel released, you are going to get it as soon as possible. This means that you will get the newest versions of the kernel and drivers, which is great for gamers and people who want to squeeze every last drop of performance they can out of their computer. Also, I would argue that updating is easier, as you don’t have to worry about being EOL or tracking when a new release is going to be out. With a rolling release distro, you just have update once every day-week and never have to worry about your software being out of date. Plus, if you have some technical knowledge you can write a shell script to update automatically.

Point release distros

Point release distros are by far the most popular in the Linux world. The most used Linux distros, like Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and OpenSUSE Leap are all point release distros. They are much more ‘stable’, when using a point release distro, your packages are all going to be tested to make sure that there are no bugs or security vulnerabilities. This distinction also makes a point release distro better when it comes to servers and enterprise machines, as you can run one OS for a extremely long time without ever having to worry about anything breaking. Plus, especially if you run something super stable like Debian, you won’t have to worry about updates, and go weeks without ever having to spend a few minutes updating.

Conclusion

So what release model should you use? I can’t decide that for you. Rolling and point release models both have their pro’s and cons. Hey, there are even some people running Arch on their servers and Debain oldoldstable on their desktops. You just have to decide what you would personally like to have for your usecase. Maybe you’ll find that your prefer.

Written on January 25, 2022