Posted by: Anonymous
on September 17, 2007 09:43 AM
The feeling you have suggests that you are probably using the wrong distribution for your needs. To avoid the "beta software" feeling there are two things you should aim for; choose a stable branch and choose an old release. By stable branch, I mean that you should choose RedHat Enterprise Linux or CentOS rather than Fedora. You should choose Debian Stable rather than testing. If you are choosing Ubuntu you just have to check that you have a long term maintainance version.
When it comes to lifecycle then you should have a look at RedHat's lifecycle explaination https://www.redhat.com/security/updates/errata/ ; this is very similar on other distributions, but perhaps not as formalised. By choosing a product which is older than either 3 or 3.5 years you will get a vastly reduced package update rate. However, note that since you have chosen an officially maintained distribution, you don't have to do version upgrades to get bug fixes. The important ones will be back ported. At the point where you are using RHEL from four years ago, you will find that most updates are sufficiently critical that it is worth automatically updating them anyway.
Finally, you should note that the definition of "important ones" is something you might like to influence rather than just accept. At that point you will want a support contract of some kind. When you have one of these with RedHat, for example, they will do bug fixes specifically according to problems which are affecting your business.