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I'm usually very concientious when it comes to updating for security-related issues and such (I've spent too long using Windows!). I have a hardware firewall/router through which I connect, and I have no services other than sshd accessible from outside the network.
Should I quit worrying and just run the old distro without updates, or should I really find the time to move to a properly-supported distro as soon as possible? Are there any real-world risks running such older software?
pretty much like Windows
That's enough for me to run away in itself! ;) I like my Linux like Linux, and anyway KDE is way too slow on my machine...
I'm decided on Debian after trying a dozen distros on a secondary machine. I don't want the flashy stuff, I just need a very stable base system which will run and run. Thing is, I just can't down tools for a day or three to spend installing and tweaking everything. I think I'm going to wait, and check the security mailing list advisories against the versions of my base system.
Of course, Yoper is based on Debian, but I much prefer stability over the latest features.
I was thinking about debian too, that was tempting, but I just don't have the time to deal with it, yoper is fast to install, 15 minutes or so, though the glitches ate up some time, but glitches ate up a lot of my time learning windows too so there's not much difference [only a few weeks ago I lost an entire weekend trying to fix a failed modem driver on w2k, I think that was what prompted me to start switching, if I'm going to lose a few days, I want to come out of knowing more than I did before.
Can't beat the debian developer community though I think.
But if you really feel that you need to re-install the comp why not try something like slack?
stable and secure and proberbly more so out of the box that say debian.
On the other note you'll never be complety safe once that box is connected to the web your vunerable.
Say you close all your ports other an 80 and sit behind a router with a firewall as well.
all with port 80 open serving a web site and say that site runs on PHP someone could use your PHP modules against you!
All things to think about.
But i much prefere the over-wrighting method myself because it causeds less disruption to my system.
This way i just have to configure one thing at a time as and when its needed and when i'm confendnt its secure
Because I have a strong preference for stability over features, but Woody is just too old (as you mentioned), I'm going to wait until Sarge is officially launched before switching to ensure I don't get any problems.
That said, Sarge has a pretty recent version of php, and it might have all the goodies you want. If you don't like it, you can always go sid. Quite possibly a lot of the current sid users, then, will also switch to sarge - I don't think I've met anyone on debian yet who uses a version other than sid.
I've read many times that debian unstable is more stable than windows : ), time to see if that's true, maybe go multi boot, throw in freebsd and suse, just to see what they look like.
One possibility that has come into mind today is Slackware. After trying out DeLi Linux [delilinux.berlios.de] on an older machine (DeLi Linux is based on Slackware 7.1), I was very pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of the install process and, for example, I discovered that Slackware uses BSD-style init scripts which are beautifully easy to understand, unlike the unfathomable Sys V stuff that goes on when most other distros boot. DeLi is just too lightweight for my primary machine, but Slackware 10.0 looks good, it should run well on my hardware (a 500MHz Celeron and 128Mb RAM). It has got all the latest stuff, too...
The one thing about it, though, is that unlike the heavy-handed dependency checking of Debian, the basic Slackware has no checking at all. This appears to be a disadvantage, but assuming that I do little other than update packages from time to time, and not add new ones very often, it might not be an insurmountable handicap. Also, I like my Linux to be UNIXy (if that's a word) rather than trying to be a Windows clone - simple text files for configuration are what I like best, and speed and simplicity are paramount.
So, does anyone have any feedback on using Slackware?
Whatever you do, go for the 2.6 kernel if you do linux, that's majorly optimized for the desktop environment, kde 3.3 is much much better than the earlier versions, I don't know which desktop you use, but there's a very large difference in quality, and that difference is going to get much more noticeable in all the distros very soon, they are all pushing pretty hard at the desktop doorstep, especially the novell owned suse systems.
Why don't you give freeBSD a try
FreeBSD would be good, but the trouble is I want to run CrossOver Office so I can run IE6 (and perhaps Word) - and the only way to do that in FreeBSD is to try it in Linux emulation mode and hope for the best. That's why I really need Linux in my case (cxoffice is Linux-only, and you get no support for FreeBSD).
I have to admit I'm pretty tempted by Slackware as a BSD-like Linux distro that is simple and fast - it's got the 2.6 kernel too.
I'm starting learn this Linux stuff, still raw newbie level, although with some background of course from dealing with bsd servers for years, but Yoper is starting to really convince me, the optimizations done on this package are very impressive, it's a little shaky right now because the main project developer is basically doing it alone, but he's got a winning package, support community is growing, I think he'll be quitting his day job at IBM soon, this is definitely the desktop I was waiting for, every single test I've been running on linux for the last 3 years that other distros failed, it's passing. Plus he's aiming for a commercial package, that means income, which is a good business plan as far as I'm concerned.
bakedjake recommended linspire, can't say I agree, there's no need to sacrifice I think anymore, this stuff is moving very very fast. KDE 3.3 is very good, KDE 3.4/4.0 is going to be even better, things that didn't used to work, or worked erratically, are now working more or less fine. Also curious about running a light windows manager like icewm, I have to learn how to get that configured and running..
More recommendations from my network admin buddies, install apache/php/mysql from source, dont' use package managers.