Linux Rolling Releases

Linux Rolling Releases

I have come to appreciate Linux rolling releases. Particularly Arch based or related distributions. The one issue I have run into on occasion has been stability after an update/upgrade. I haven’t experienced any show stoppers lately as my current favorite Manjaro XFCE has been very solid, but why take chances. My initial approach years ago would have been to dual boot Windows 10 with Manjaro. I never really thought I was gaining anything, other than to have the ability to run Windows-only software. If you don’t, then what’s the point. I’m not going to keep Windows around just for a security blanket

Yes, I’ve done the Win/Linux dual boot in the past more for convenience than practicality. Sure I could have gone the Virtual Box route, but that seems to have more drawbacks depending on your hardware than a dual boot.  Why divide up resources on a machine that’s already limited? Why go backwards? If I have to rebuild a laptop, so what? It’s good practice and a fresh start is sometimes a good thing.

Simple Solution

A simple solution for my backup laptop setup has been to load Ubuntu Mate on a laptop first (16.04.3 LTS (Xenial) Recommended for stability and mission-critical systems. Supported until April 2019), then install Manjaro and let Calameres partition the drive and add Manjaro alongside the now reduced in occupied drive space Ubuntu OS. (MANJARO 17.0.4  “X”)

I find this sequence works better for booting into either of the Systems. The reverse install order tends to leave me with a slower boot selection. To me, this type of dual-boot “potential” daily driver could be much preferred and I have found that it works well. That is the goal. I don’t have Windows available on this laptop, and I don’t feel that I need it. If I find that I really truly need a Windows machine, I’ll just run it on a separate laptop. In fact I sometimes do, but regrettably so. I might have to actually do a new install, but that’s not such a big deal, it’s just the update times I’m not a big fan of. The basic install is usually pretty quick – not as quick as installing a lightweight Linux distro, but not too horrible.

I do like some things about Windows 10, but the point is that I don’t want to be a “Windows User” if I don’t need to be because I like working with Linux a lot more. I know I have more control over my system, but with Windows, I’m never quite sure who’s actually controlling who. Anything “*nix”ish including OSX I enjoy working with. I’ll give MS credit for developing Powershell into a decent tool, but I already have decent shells to work on both Linux and OSX.

I could use this older Lenovo dual-boot laptop for my daily driver, but I prefer to rely on my very inexpensive, lightweight IdeaPad.Using Manjaro on that laptop — half the ram, and a third the memory – perfect!  I can experiment with the backup. You might question why I don’t use Ubuntu-Mate LTS on the daily driver. The answer is – there isn’t enough space for a dual boot — but I actually sometimes do run Ubuntu-Mate only but at the moment I’m happy with what I’m using now “Manjaro 17.0.4”. If I have a problem I know I have a usable backup. There is some comfort in that. If I feel the need to do some Distro hopping – I can use either laptop to try a new build. I have Manjaro on both, so I’m set there.

The fun is in learning and trying new Linux software and operating systems. A rolling release keeps me interested in what has been improved or changed. The LTS is simply just dependable – not overly inspiring, but dependable. You have the best of both.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is as always — does your system work for you, and are you getting the most out of what you have? You may be getting all this done with Windows 10. In some ways, Windows 10 also acts like a rolling release with some of the large updates that have enhanced and added some new functions. When it comes down to having something I can depend on and know works, I prefer Linux, but I do see Windows getting better and Linux-like in some respects. Whatever you prefer – one operating system, or multiple operating systems, if it works for you – great. If you really like a system, you’ll most likely get more use out of it.

Luckily there are a variety of systems to choose from. Try them all if you can.