How does openSUSE handle updating application to their latest major versions? Are apps updated to their latest versions by default on an on-going basis or are major versions only updates with each release?
I am a long time Ubuntu user myself and looking to migrate about a dozen family/friends over to Linux. However I do not think Ubuntu is quite right (user friendly/functional enough) for them since Staying up to date requires manually configuring PPAs in software sources to receive the latest application packages.
openSUSE releases are not normaly updated with newer (newest) versions of packages during their lifetime. Only security (and some recommended) updates are offered.
Of course when you need something strongly (or want to live dangerous) you can use the sveveral Factory, etc. repos at your own risk. But be warned that having to many of these repos can lead to a mess of dependencies.
Also read the stickies at the ** Information for New Users ** section on the main page of these forums.
What are factory repos? Do you mean repos by the app developers themselves? For example what would I do if I wanted to always have the latest stable version of Firefox in openSUSE? What steps would I have to perform?
Factory repos are experimental repos usually maintained by someone interested in that piece of software.
As hcvv explained, usually a distro release sticks with the same version of an app throughout its support lifetime. So you will not for example see Firefox in 11.2 upgraded from 3.5 to 3.6 in the update repo. You would have to get 3.6 from another repo. However if a version of a rapidly evolving app like Firefox goes out of support during the distro lifetime, e.g. Firefox 3.0 in 11.1, then usually one of two things happen: the distro developers decide to back port fixes to the old app version, or they push out a version update. And in fact the latter happened for 11.1, Firefox got updated to 3.5. (3.5 is still supported and still “stable”.)
So the short answer is no, you are not guaranteed to get the latest stable version of any app by using the update repo. But you will get the latest security fixes.
Also note that not all upstream updates will make it to the update repo. It’s enough work keeping up with just security updates, so non-critical updates won’t get pushed out automatically, but may pushed out along with security updates when that happens.
I’m familiar with how Ubuntu has PPAs as its experimental repos, what is the openSUSE counterpart? Can I have a look to see if such repos are available for the apps I use the most? That way I will know if I will be able to keep in step with their latest versions.
The unsafe-ness would be strongly dictated by the need of stability. If you are just playing around a bit on your system and it (or parts of) do not function for a few days and you do not mind or even like it to find out what, how and where it went wrong, what is unsafe?
But when you have a small business and would go bancrupt after an outage of 12 hours, that is something different.
You should decide how important “stable” is for you, weighted against some new feature (or just whistle or bell) in a product. We can’t. And there also no messurement such that somebody can say: the stability of this is 66.
Just the latest stable packages of apps. Basically like Windows, Android, iPhone OS, Mac OS X etc. That sort of app management experience. I think the closest to it that I can get with the mainstream Linux distros would be with custom repos (either PPAs in Ubuntu or Factory repos in openSUSE). If you have some other better way, do let me know.
I find the build service will provide this.
Lets say you have 11.2 and want the latest ‘Stable’ or thereabouts.
For mozilla products you have: Index of /repositories/mozilla/openSUSE_11.2
I have never yet had a problem, though sometimes it may be beta or RC versions.
In fact, since now one can browse the Build Service through the web interface without having an account, you can just go to https://build.opensuse.org/project/packages?project=openSUSE:Factory and see the full list of packages of openSUSE. Click on the one do you want and you will see a “This package is maintained in project XXXXX”. And that’s all… in XXXXX you will find the latest version of the app.