I don’t care whether or not you are thinking of using Vista, OS X or Linux. As a personal rule, I rarely upgrade until any release has been out for at least six months. Why is this? Flash back to the two issues (not patched, I believe) with OS X Leopard, the vast issues with Vista (mostly patched, again) and of course, distributions like Ubuntu that almost always have a laundry list of bugs until the next LTS (Long-Term Support) release comes out.
With this in mind, allow me to pass on some tips that have kept my household OS frustration-free for years.
Major Patches On Any System: Some Things to Consider. While this is not really as much an issue with OS X and Linux as it is with Windows, I want to be clear, there still are issues that pop up every once in awhile. In Ubuntu, for instance, kernel updates are notoriously confusing to beginners when they restart the computer only to see X crashing. All Ubuntu would need to do is issue a firm, noticeable warning that required an OK before installing the update. Asking for a sudo password is about as much of a disclaimer as Windows’ UAC, in case anyone was thinking of stating otherwise.
Let’s take a random service pack (SP) for Windows as one example. Yes, there is a lot of beta testing that goes into it before its release, but anyone with a semi-decent memory remembers how many past Windows service packs have caused issues in the past. To me, they are no different than a completely new release of the OS and I generally treat them as such. Unlike a full release, however, I will generally only wait a couple of months before upgrading; whereas, with an OS upgrade, I prefer to wait a lot longer.
By waiting with SPs and full OS upgrades, I ensure that any issues that are public and well known mare taken care of, rather than me being one of the lucky few who get to try them out for myself.
What Are You Really Losing? What are you really losing by waiting a little longer before upgrading? If you are a Windows user, upgrading from XP to Vista, security is a serious consideration for most people. However, with OS X and various Linux distributions, it’s more or less going to be features, and in some cases, hardware support improvements that might have otherwise been missed out on.
Can you get by without it and even more so, should you? I’d say yes to both. Unless there’s a driving cause for you to upgrade right away, I have always been a strong proponent of waiting.
What You Gain Far Outweighs Anything Else. Running a stable PC, Mac, whatever is what it’s all about. If XP or Tiger is working for you and there are no complaints, why rush to upgrading now? Give it some time and while others become Beta testers for big software, you enjoy an opportunity to allow it all to sail by. Remember, I’m not saying that you ought to continue running an OS until support for it completely runs out. But this knee-jerk upgrading because the latest release of [insert OS here] has hit the shelves is senseless.
If your computing appliance is key to your work life, give upgrading a backseat. You may find that you will be happier for it.
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