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When deciding to install Tomcat on a Linux CentOS 6.2 server, I'm faced with a variety of releases to select from. See for example here. Regarding JDK releases, there are also are variety to select from (see here).

Which brings up the question... should one generally select the latest stable release (e.g. Tomcat 7.0.25, and JDK SE 7 update 2)? Or, should one install the last release from the last version (e.g. Tomcat 6.0.35, JDK SE 6 last update)?

What thought process do people go through in making this decision?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

When multiple versions are supported concurrently it's usually due to a code fork and lack of backward compatibility. Previous versions continue to be maintained for bug and security fixes only. If you are starting from scratch, I would suggest latest-and-greatest for the most modern API. Something else to consider, if you are working with a 3rd party application, the requirements may vary. Check the vendor for their suggestions.

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I generally download the stable release of the most recent version. Part of this is I hate having to upgrade repeatedly nor do I want to worry about whether or not changes will make it out of alpha/beta. However, the other portion of this decision is the requirements/restrictions for whatever I will be using said server for (does an app have a specific requirement, etc?).

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