Last Updated on May 22, 2022
Point Release Distro v Rolling Release Distro
A point release distro puts out installation images under a regular schedule. Often this can be every 6 or 9 months. Each release is given a unique name. Between these major releases only security patches and updates are released, although specific applications may get more frequent updates such as Firefox, Chrome, and LibreOffice.
Pros of a Point Release Distro:
- Stability – this distribution model has the opportunity for more end user testing of each release. Each release uses older, better tested software.
- Compatibility – most hardware is supported. It’s fairly uncommon for new hardware not to be supported by the latest distro point release, although there can be issues with specific types of hardware found in laptops.
- Convenience – you want to minimise disturbance from updates with less maintenance required. This may be an important factor depending on your skill set.
- Upgrades – many point release distros offer an upgrade path from one point release to another without having to wipe the system and reinstall.
- Possibility for Long Term Support (LTS) offering a greater period of support for a release. Efforts are made to stabilise the release early by significantly limiting the amount of new features, and avoiding structural changes as far as possible.
A rolling release distro is continuously updated in all areas, including the kernel, and all software applications such as the desktop environment, multimedia, utilities, and development tools. The distribution of installation images serves only as a starting point for a new system.
Pros of a Rolling Release Distro:
- Latest hardware support – this may be an important factor if you have a new computer (particularly laptops) that has specific hardware (such as touchpads, wireless network adapters and graphic display controllers) which are not recognized with older versions of the Linux kernel.
- Software – offers the possibility of the most current versions of software. This may include programs which are generally not included in the periodic updates of a “point distro”. The latest versions may offer essential new features you need, fix bugs, improve security, and more.
- Upgrade – often this process is painless and incremental although there’s the possibility of more maintenance required given that updates are more frequent.
In the next article we walk you through installing a distro.
All articles in this series:
|Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.
There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.