Standard (Point) Release vs Rolling Release


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Aug 17, 2018
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I understand that rolling release get updates with every new version which takes some time while rolling release get frequent package updates as soon as the package is out. My question is:

1. In the rolling release, does the OS also get updated or is the release just on the app packages?

2. In the standard release type, does it mean that , maybe a package software A in the apt repository won’t get any update until a new version of the OS is released?

3. Which is ideal for a new user?

Edit: I understand that both can be receiving security patches from time to time.
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1 and 2: The differences are mainly in the types of updates.

Rolling updates update everything at the point where it’s “safe” (according to each distribution’s criteria) to do so.

Point releases range in their approach for updates.

For example, Debian only applies updates that patch issues; technical (e.g.: performance), functional and security, both OS and apps; you won’t see very recent kernels going through, or new features.

Fedora applies all updates on the kernel and OS core libraries and most command line tools like if it was a rolling release, so you can have a 2 week or so old kernel, but desktop applications don’t get a lot of functional updates until the version upgrade every 6 months.

3: I would recommend a point release, with long term support preferably.
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Arch Linux and all its descendants, even Manjaro Linux, receive updates on anything including the Linux kernel. They are considered rolling releases on "bleeding edge."

Slackware has two modes: stable (coming from 1-1/2-year-old ISO for v15) and "current". But "current" is more of a do-it-yourself ploy. On a distro descended from Slackware such as Salix you're expected to update regularly as if it were Arch or Fedora.

OpenSUSE also has two modes, "Leap" which is the "stable" branch, and "Tumbleweed" which is the rolling release. "Tumbleweed" has to be treated like Arch and Fedora, do not leave it over two weeks or longer without updating.

I know less about Gentoo; I read a few people talking about an "unstable" branch which is the best choice but has to be treated like any other rolling-release distro.

There are other distros which are rolling-release such as Void Linux and Nutyx. These also have to be updated once a week or even less time for the truly demanding types.
Rolling releases are nice if you want the latest and greatest but be prepared to have to fix something that breaks once in a while, and that could be at an inconvenient time if it's your only machine.

For less experienced and new users they're better off sticking to a long term support stable platform like Linux Mint or others. Having support until 2027 for your operating system as a new user means you don't have to worry about it breaking any time soon.

Fixing a broken system is a time consuming affair for an experienced Linux user, and a new one can find themselves on a creek without a paddle.

Go nuts on trying on new distributions but always have these two things:
1) a backup of any data you care about
2) a known good copy of an operating system you can reinstall from just to have a working machine again.

Most of the distro hopping urge can be satisfied just running the live usb or live dvd in a virtual machine. No real need to install everything on hardware.
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