Wednesday, August 2, 2023

How we update our distributions


Many people have asked us; How often are your distributions updated?  Well we have two different ways we update our distributions.  One set of those distributions is for home and consumer use and the other one is our enterprise Linux distribution meant for businesses, schools, researchers and developers.

We base our distributions on Ubuntu's LTS release.  So we are just like Pop_OS, Linux Mint, ZorinOS and many more of your favorite community based distributions.  We take Ubuntu and strip out many of their default apps and add our own apps and features to the distribution.  We also strip out many of Canonicals own features that they add which includes; Ubuntu Advantage, SNAP's and much of Ubuntu's branding.   

While Linux Mint, ZorinOS and Pop_OS create distribution releases based on Canonicals non-LTS releases we stick with only LTS releases.

Our consumer and home distributions, Linspire and Freespire, follow every new LTS release.  So during 12 months after Canonical releases a new LTS release we go to work building the new releases and testing the new releases.  We also work with beta testers and partners to make sure we work out as many bugs as we can.  If we have to make any code changes they are submitted back to the proper channels.  So during every LTS release you can expect two distinct releases of Linspire and two distinct releases of Freespire.  Linspire is updated and released every 12 months with interim security releases "Service Packs" released every 4 to 6 months.  Linspire 12 and Linspire 14 are based on Ubuntu 22.04 and Linspire 15 and Linspire 16 will be based on Ubuntu 22.04.  We have been looking at basing our distributions on a different base such as Oracle Linux 9 or CentOS Stream 9 for right now we are sticking with Ubuntu.  Freespire is a distribution for Linux enthusiasts who dont want or dont need support.  It is totally free to use, deploy and redistribute on as many systems as you would like whereas Linspire you are paying us to support that distribution.  A new version of Freespire is released every 6 months.  Because those releases are so close together while we do monthly ISO refreshes those refreshes are not point releases or new versions.  Freespire 9 and Freespire 10 are based on Ubuntu 22.04, Freespire 11 and Freespire 12 will be based on Ubuntu 24.04 (Maybe Fedora 38 or CentOS Stream 9 depending)

Our enterprise distributions: PC/OS, Xandros Enterprise Linux and Xandros Community Edition are much much different.  We base these releases on every other LTS release as our business customers do not upgrade as often as our home and consumer releases.  You will get 4 distinct releases from these with new releases every 12 to 14 months and security updates every 6 to 8 months.  So while Xandros Enterprise Linux and Xandros Community Edition 2022.x, 2023.x, 2024.x and 2025.x are based on Ubuntu 22.04.  Xandros Enterprise Linux and Xandros Community Edition  2026.x, 2027.x, 2028.x and 2029.x will be based on Ubuntu 26.04.

Linspire and Freespire are supported for the entire life of that LTS release.  So Linspire and Freespire being based on Ubuntu 22.04 will be supported until 2027.  Our Enterprise distributions are supported for 10 years.  No more and no less.  So our Enterprise Distributions based on Ubuntu 22.04 will be supported by us until 2032.  We do this for all of our business class distributions.  We are one of the ONLY companies left that support our distributions based on Ubuntu 16.04 and Ubuntu 18.04. So how do we do this?  When an LTS release support ends from Canonical our distributions based on that LTS release enters maintenance mode.  There are no new distributions released based on that LTS.  We strip out all of Canonicals Ubuntu repositories and add our own which contains kernel bug fixes, recompiled kernels and updated browsers and other apps so in essence it becomes a franken-Ubuntu.  After that 10 years, it enters Archive mode which we strip out all repositories, updates stop completely and we keep images of that system for customers who still use it for whatever obscure reason.  We still have images for our Gentoo based distributions produced in 2006 and some of our Ubuntu distributions produced in 2008 and beyond and yes we still have some customers who request them.  

So this is how we release and maintain our distributions.  Our processes are unique and a lot of times people are surprised by how much work we actually do to maintain all of our distributions.

Welcome to PC/OpenSystems LLC

PC/OpenSystems LLC. is dedicated to providing top customer service including integration, providing Linux compatible hardware and enterprise desktop software solutions. We provide solutions tailored to your needs whether its building systems to suit your needs. Whether its a custom database solution, providing Linux powered PC and Server Solutions. Whatever you need you can rest assured that PC/OpenSystems LLC. will deliver a high performance and stable product

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About PC/OpenSystems LLC.

PC/OpenSystems LLC. is a small consulting firm and the only Linux retailer in NC for Linux PC's and custom systems located in Franklinton North Carolina. We specialize in hardware repair and we resell custom Linux based computers, software maintenance as well as custom application development.