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The openSuSE "Tumbleweed" Rolling Distribution

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Linux "Rolling Distributions" always sound like a good idea. You get the latest stable distribution, and then on top of that you get the latest package updates shortly after they are released, rather than having to wait for the next major distribution update. In practice, though, they have often turned out to be a bit problematic.

Keeping up with a lot of package updates is tedious and time consuming, and finding a good balance between rolling them into the main distribution quickly and making sure they are stable can be tricky. It is starting to look like openSuSE is doing a good job of this, with their "Tumbleweed" distribution.

Tumbleweed was announced with or shortly after their 11.4 release. I was a bit skeptical at the time, because of my experience with other rolling distributions, but I set up one of my netbooks to track the tumbleweed repositories, and the results have been quite good. Updates come through in very good time, and the overall system stability and reliability don't seem to have suffered.

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