Enterprise Linuxes usually are not very up-to-date, look for example at Suse Linux Enterprise and Freeradius. The Freeradius release included in the newest SLES is 3.0.3 (dated 2014). Currently, Freeradius is at version 3.0.13, and if you ask for assistance on e.g. their user's mailing list they'll laugh at you when you tell them you are using a version almost 3 years old, which is understandable.

Now why do you use an Enterprise Linux in the first place? Because you can pay for support and updates for the packages they provide. However, how far does that support go? I don't believe that the support people know the intricacies of a Freeradius configuration for example. They'd probably tell you to go buy additional consulting (duh).

In fact, does anyone have an idea how the commercial distros decide when the time has arrived to really give a certain package a general overhaul? What they currently do is providing backports for newer upstream bugs, if you ask (that is, if you manage to identify what's wrong in the first place). Now, to get things working you ideally don't want to run after potentially every bug fixed in the last few years.

So, if you decide to install an up-to-date version manually, you'd essentially void the distro's support (at least for that software). And you'd need to buy additional support from a company support that specific software. So you pay twice, which makes no sense either.

Any thoughts?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Thomas Dickey, Jeff Schaller, jordanm, Satō Katsura, GAD3R Apr 1 '17 at 21:47

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Enterprise distros focus on stable releases. They're out of date because being sure things work as expected is more important than bleading edge software.

If you find a bug with a package in an enterprise distro, take it to the diistributor, not the package creator. That's what the support is for. They will address bugs with other people's packages (or at least, thats the design of the relationship).

As for when they choose to update things, that depends on the distro, there is not a general rule I think.

  • 1
    I'd make a certain distinction between "bleeding edge" and "up-to-date" however. – Marki Apr 1 '17 at 12:10
  • @Marki That distinction only exists in very few software projects in the Linux ecosystem. – jordanm Apr 1 '17 at 14:42
  • Well, from what I see all they ever need do to with ancient releases is backport fixes from newer upstream releases from the same branch... – Marki Apr 5 '17 at 16:47

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