Which One Ought to You Select?

Linux distributions have several options for delivering software to their users. But which should you choose – stability or the latest software?

One of the most important decisions many Linux users make when choosing a Linux distribution is its stability, or how much the software will change.

Some distributions prefer stable, proven software, while others include newer software that may not be as reliable, also known as bleeding-edge, a game of cutting-edge.

So which one should you choose? Let's find out.

Stable: Best for most people

If you are completely new to Linux, you probably want a more stable distribution like Ubuntu, Debian, or openSUSE. The software on these systems doesn't change that much.

In most cases this means that you are using older versions of the program, but there is little benefit in running the latest versions. Distributions usually make new software packages available to fix bugs or security problems. The latter is very important when dealing with Internet-enabled programs such as browsers. Therefore, you should update your packages on Linux regularly.

For all of these reasons, stable distributions are a good choice for running servers.

Bleeding edge: ideal for advanced users, developers

If you're more experienced with Linux, you might want to try a distribution that has newer, cutting-edge software versions like Arch, Gentoo, Debian Unstable, or Fedora. These distributions appeal to advanced Linux users as the newer software offers newer features.

Bleeding edge distributions are also popular with developers as they have newer versions of languages, libraries, and drivers. The downside is that these distributions are more prone to crashing because the software is less tested than a stable distribution.

Related: Linux operating systems that offer bleeding edge updates

Compromise: Running a bleeding edge distribution in a VM

You don't always have to choose between one or the other. You can run a state-of-the-art distribution on a stable host computer by using virtualization software such as VirtualBox.

You can have the best of both worlds: a stable system for daily work, whether Linux, macOS or Windows, and an experimental virtual machine for development or handicrafts.

Linux gives you a choice when it comes to software novelty

Linux gives you a wide variety of software that you can install on your system. When you switch distributions you may wonder whether or not you can keep your data. The answer is yes. "You can keep your important data if you want to install a different Linux distribution to try something new.

How to upgrade or switch Linux distributions without losing data

Switching between Linux distributions? How to change your Linux distribution without losing data.

Continue reading

About the author

David Delony
(58 published articles)

David is a freelance writer living in the Pacific Northwest but originally from the Bay Area. He has been passionate about technology since childhood. David's interests include reading, watching quality TV shows and movies, retro games, and collecting records.

By David Delony

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