Which Linux Distribution to use next?

As a long term RHEL / Centos user, old software versions became the bane of my life (albeit with backported security fixes).

A while back I switched to Ubuntu and it was like a breath of fresh air.

The time has come to spin up another droplet, and I was wondering if to go for the latest version of Ubuntu, or whether to try a different distro?

I do a lot of WordPress and Laravel development and both platforms are now constantly trying to push you to the latest version of PHP, but I find upgrading to be a pain when you have to break free from the default system repos in order to do so.

Based on this, which would be the best choice? I have positive experience with Ubuntu but have never used Debian or FreeBSD.



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Finding packages and repos for CentOS is a hassle for me personally, so I understand where you are coming from. I had to hunt around for them.

I use FreeBSD and Debian for the exact reason(there are few tools that are missed out as they become *buntu only), usually FreeBSD has regular update cycle. You don’t need to upgrade to major release as long as its supported(but upgrade the minor releases!), as they package the current versions of all available software to ALL supported releases AND keep them updated!

Debian by virtue of its 2-3 year release cycle will have a bit older but relatively recent versions(even compared to *buntu) in stock and backported repos. But expect to update the OS once in 3 years to stay with the current stable versions. OS/package upgrades of stable are usually painless(as they fix the major release) and just couple of commands away.

To decide, I would recommend you to check out Freshports service of FreeBSD and Debian stable repos for the exact software you are looking for.

Or, better just search in the web for ‘freshports php’ and ‘debian php package’, you will most likely get direct hits to their respective pages, compare various versions and enjoy !

Hi @DigitalCarrot,

You’ll most certainly experience such small issues or inconveniences like using other repos for installing new PHP version on Ubuntu on other systems as well.

In my experience, CentOS and Ubuntu are the most stable ones with Ubuntu actually leading when it’s not an enterprise edition.

What I’ll recommend is to stick with Ubuntu but go for the latest version however play around with Debian and FreeBSD. Create a droplet with those OS and try to do some stuff to see how they feel. I think that then, you’ll decide to use Ubuntu on your own.

Regards, KFSys