Darryncosta's picture

Every now and them I use TurnKey Linux when I need to do quick tests but I dont want to setup an environment myself.

I have consider the use of TurnKey on production since it is basically ubuntu/debian. However it looks it is not updated very soon. Am I not gettting something or is TurnKey just for prof-of-concepts?

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Jeremy Davis's picture

We have literally thousands of users using TurnKey in production.

As you note, most of the components are Debian. So updating the packaged components (the main OS and most of the installed software) is as easy as running "apt update && apt upgrade". By default, at firstboot TurnKey asks if you wish to install security updates, they are automatically installed nightly thereafter.

Having said that, many appliances include third party software installed from upstream (i.e. the original software developers). Often this is because the software is not packaged in Debian, or relies on client side software (which is updated regularly and may not remain compatible with old versions) to be useful. In those cases, we try to update the 3rd party software relatively regularly, but sometimes do fall a little behind. We're a relatively small team so need to focus on the things that give the most leverage. It's also worth noting that updating that software would generally be required by the user anyway. So even in those cases, it can be fairly argued that the TurnKey applainces still makes a good starting point. FWIW we don't enable auto updating of 3rd party software because we can't be assured that it would work reliably and not damage existing user data. So the risk is too great.

Could you please elaborate on the particular appliance and/or software you are referring to with regard to your statement " it is not updated very soon"? Perhaps you are unaware of the backported security updates that Debian does? Debian packaged software versions are frozen at release time and any security issues are addressed via backported patches (and automatically applied by TurnKey servers nightly as noted above).

That means that whilst the versions may appear old, they are supported and stable. Actually, the concept of "frozen" package versions with backported security updates is what makes Debian stable (and other Linux distros that use a similar model) so stable! It means that your applications aren't going to suddenly stop working because the API for a particular piece of software has changed in an update! So whilst you don't get some new features, you also don't get any new bugs!

This model isn't unique to Debian, Red Hat (the most commercially successful Linux distro of all time, recently purchased by IBM for US$34 billion) has a similar model, although supports old software versions for 10 years (up to 14 years for "Extended Lifecycle Support" customers)! Other "stable" OS (e.g. Ubuntu LTS releases) use a similar model. FWIW, in the Linux world, thinking that you need the latest versions of software is often referred to as shiny new stuff syndrome.

Having said all that, I'd really love to hear more about your concerns and if you have any specific critique of TurnKey, please share. We love feedback from users and potential users, especially constructive criticism. :)

Darryncosta's picture

We have literally thousands of users using TurnKey in production.

As you note, most of the components are Debian. So updating the packaged components (the main OS and most of the installed software) is as easy as running "apt update && apt upgrade". By default, at firstboot TurnKey asks if you wish to install security updates, they are automatically installed nightly thereafter.

Having said that, many appliances include third party software installed from upstream (i.e. the original software developers). Often this is because the software is not packaged in Debian, or relies on client side software (which is updated regularly and may not remain compatible with old versions) to be useful. In those cases, we try to update the 3rd party software relatively regularly, but sometimes do fall a little behind. We're a relatively small team so need to focus on the things that give the most leverage. It's also worth noting that updating that software would generally be required by the user anyway. So even in those cases, it can be fairly argued that the TurnKey applainces still makes a good starting point. FWIW we don't enable auto updating of 3rd party software because we can't be assured that it would work reliably and not damage existing user data. So the risk is too great.  Speed Test  Scrabble Word Finder  Solitaire

Could you please elaborate on the particular appliance and/or software you are referring to with regard to your statement " it is not updated very soon"? Perhaps you are unaware of the backported security updates that Debian does? Debian packaged software versions are frozen at release time and any security issues are addressed via backported patches (and automatically applied by TurnKey servers nightly as noted above).

 

Thank you so much

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