posted 23 Nov 2017
I have been using Linux regularly since late 2003 as my daily driver, do-everything operating system. I have performed, many, many upgrades to many machines. Often, the nuke and pave route was my typical strategy. Upgrades often left a system partially working or with odd behavior. I like to fiddle with my Linux systems so my logic was to baseline after some time anyway. Over time, I haven’t been fiddling is as much, mostly because there is no need and have just been using Linux to get work done and performing distribution upgrades have been my typical upgrade path.
After a considerable amount of distro hopping towards the end of Mandriva / Mandrake Linux as I knew it, I landed on openSUSE in 2011 for a variety of reasons but with mixed feelings. The community was warm but I had felt like I had abandoned those that went to the OpenMandriva, Mageia or even PCLinuxOS that I had known for several years
Early this year (2017) I switched my primary machine from using openSUSE Leap to openSUSE Tumbleweed. I have enjoyed the comforts of the traditional static release for many years and have rarely had any problems with it but started to become more interested in this rolling release model that all the “kids” were talking about. So far, I can say I am extremely pleased.
Not a downside for ME but could be a downside for some: Upgrades have to be done in the terminal… I think… maybe you can do them in YaST but I do them in terminal. I think that Tumbleweed is targeting a power user rather than the typical mass user.
It has become increasingly simple and approachable to perform upgrades in the terminal, with a simple:
sudo zypper dup
The process has become much easier as the developers are very actively listening to the community. Depending on how many additional repositories you have added, there are occasions that may require user intervention and understanding of the software installed on your machine to resolve any version conflicts. This has not been a problem for me as I have clear understanding about what I have installed on my machine.
In my non-expert opinion, I can see how rolling releases could be the way forward for Linux distributions, but they really have to do it right, do it like openSUSE does it. They run software thru the automated quality assurance system, openQA, and deliver a product that just works. Are there packages of software that get thru and cause some hiccups? Yes, indeed it does happen but no more than what I have seen with the static releases.
I will continue to use Tumbleweed for my primary system and my low powered netbooks for the time being. Computers I do not touch as often will remain on Leap, for now. It may or may not change in the future but for now, I will continue to enjoy the spoils of the openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling release. I would say, a rolling release that is truly done right.