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I used Debian for my servers for several years now. I'm looking for stability only doing security updates. In the past I had some issues with Ubuntu after an update. Debian has always been rock solid for me.

Now I'm in the process of transferring some sites from Etch to something new. It's a droplet at Digital Ocean and they offer a premade LEMP stack, but only on Ubuntu. Plus the announcement of https://www.serverwatch.com/server-news/canonical-extends-ubuntu-18.04-lts-linux-support-to-10-years.html makes me think I finally make the switch.

I guess I'm losing a little performance with the bloated ubuntu kernel. But dont' see too much cons. Major issue for me is stability, 10 years sounds to good to be true! Any thoughts on this decision?

3 Answers 3

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10 years sounds to good to be true!

5 years LTS, plus 5 years if you buy Extended Security Maintenance from Canonical. Somewhat similar to the RHEL life cycle, it is a 5 year product that if you pay enough can last 10 years. Include the cost of ESM, plus the technical debt of being 5 years behind, in your considerations.

No particular guarantee that Digital Ocean LEMP template will stay on 18.04 until 2028. You can maintain an equivalent image, of course. But if maintaining your own software set, you could keep using familiar Debian if desired.

Citation needed on the Ubuntu kernel costing you performance, with data from your workload please. Definitely possible, but there are so many factors to performance.

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  • Thanks for the buying ESM link, smart way of Canonical to get extra bucks, didn't know that. Minimal performance cost is something I read during googling dunno where, more a general assumption because it is/was bigger (has more hardware support).
    – varta
    Jan 3, 2020 at 21:39
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I don't know what kind of performance needs you have, but I'm guessing any bloat in a Ubuntu server compared to Debian is negligible in most real-life conditions.

For some anecdata: I've been running Ubuntu LTS servers in production for at least five years with no security update related issues whatsoever. I did have to restore a test/lab environment from backups after trying to upgrade from one LTS release to the next, though. Since then I've always only deployed new servers instead of upgrading old ones.

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  • Thanks for your anecdata! Peformance is not a key issue. I also never upgrade, but deploy to a new server. So I just go for it and try to wash away the bad taste ubuntu gave me in the past. I guess it was more a 'religious' distaste for me.
    – varta
    Jan 3, 2020 at 15:29
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I was a Debian user and evangelist for a long time and it is a great GNU/Linux distribution. It has a great community, support, performance and stability, but I grew tired of having to add third-party repos to install backport software and so on, so I migrated to Ubuntu in the last eight years or so and I'm having a great time. Definitely recommend it.

About performance issues: no problems whatsoever.

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