Are you Windows or a Mac computer user? There are many computer users who have spent their computer life on Windows or Mac and for them, Linux has always seemed like a strange beast. Descendant of Unix, Linux is an OS software that users would rarely use if Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) aren’t available. Without GUIs, it’s difficult to work on command line interface. Having said that, you could still find many different popular versions of Linux that are in use daily.
Unlike Windows and macOS, there are many versions of Linux (different Linux distros). How many Windows OS versions that have been introduced till now? Windows 10, 8, 7, XP, and some server versions at the most. It’s the same story with Mac versions. But why different Linux distributions seem to have some upgrade every 6 months?
Reason Behind Frequent Upgrades
macOS and Windows upgrades are sourced from Apple and Microsoft respectively. One source for every upgrade, which makes it very convenient for users. However, Linux distros upgrades are sourced by multiple developers. What’s sad is that you will be totally unware of the upgrade unless you have subscribed to some newsletters (they are free) that cover Linux upgrades. But why so many frequent upgrades?
As mentioned above, Linux distros upgrades are majorly sourced by volunteers, who work as per their convenience.
What are these Updates about?
They can be invisible kernel updates, which are designed to fix bugs, repair security flaws or boost OS performance. Some applications are updated or even removed entirely and replaced by new ones in the distribution. Functionality like hardware support might change from release to release. New changes in the graphical user interface(GUI) might have been updated needing a total overhaul of how some functions work. Since there are so many factors many distributions choose to upgrade on about a 6-month cycle or at least once per year.
Do You Need These Upgrades?
Good question! However, the answer is- it depends. Any update if it’s dedicated to a security flaw, must be updated. It prevents your system from being attacked by cyber crooks. It is us who unknowingly make our computers an easy target for cyber criminals. Other than security upgrades, if you want to change the look of GUI or add new elements, you can implement those upgrades. We hope that answers your question.
It’s not necessary to implement each update if not critical. Doing that, you may go nuts when frequently upgrading the operating system.
Just because there is an upgrade doesn’t mean that you have to install the new version. If you don’t need a new functionality and are happy with what you are using, keep using your current version.
Some distributions have LTS or long-term support distributions. Many of these have at least a three-year support cycle. This is because most companies tend to upgrade their hardware on a three-year cycle. Many distributions have corporate clients that don’t want to upgrade all too often. If you want to, use a longer-term version like this to avoid upgrading to avoid having to do frequent upgrades yourself. Hence, all you need to do is just patch existing software rather than upgrading it completely. A much simpler process indeed!
Remember that it is not necessary to upgrade your operating system just because your present version has an upgrade. See if your system needs that upgrade and the features it offers, then act logically.