Even long-term-supported Releases of Ubuntu® must evolve with major changes to their software sources. I started with a third-party flavor of XUbuntu® 7.10 on an Everex® TC2502; the TC2502 is still active in rebuilt form, under successive LTS Releases: Previously 8.04.x and 10.04.x, i386 Editions; as of April 2013, 12.04.2, AMD64 Edition.
Each LTS Releases of Ubuntu® packs software not possible to run under earlier Releases (even with PPA backports); in installing an upgrade, I save /home from the prior install to a USB memory chip prior to reformatting and repartitioning for the new install.
Gigabyte® GA-MA78GM-S2HP (AMD® Athlon 64® X2 5600+ MPU, RS780G NB, SB710 SB)
Audio: ASUS® XONARESSENCESTX/A (PCIe, C-Media® CMI-8788 via PCIe-PCI bridge)
Being a business user I can almost never get away with not using LTS. I need my Ubuntu OS to be stable. I can get away with using recent releases for personal computers but not for a business computer. I think it is all about what you look for in Ubuntu. If it is the latest software and new features then the newer releases are great, but if you just need your software to be stable all the time then LTS works great!
Forgive me for not reading this entire thread as what I am about to say has probably already been mentioned: There are many users that need stability in their lives. As a casual user who is primarily interested in basic word processing needs and media consumption, I found the six month upgrade cycle wearing. I got tired of having to fix bugs every six months and as a light Linux user, I wasn't particularly interested in tinkering.
Now I believe that the six month releases have their places and I am very thankful to the people who do like to tinker with their distro because it helps to make the long term releases that much more stable. Linux can and should be an OS that is accessible to the masses, not just computer science majors and hobbyists. The success of Android is proof that the Linux kernel has something to offer everyone. Whether Ubuntu is an OS that should maintain LTSes or not I cannot say. I know that I like them and would jump ship to Debian if they came to an end. It seems to me that the Linux community is plenty large enough for distros that focus on stability and are viable for business users and casual users and for distros that appeal to users who like to tinker and have all updates as soon as possible.
We're alike, me and cat. A couple of poor nameless slobs. -- Holly Golightly
So am I right that it kind of sounds like your only choices will be LTS or development? That's kind of scary.
Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. - Dr. Seuss
Well, it will be LTS or development (which is supposed to roll into each new version without upgrading) or 6 months releases as always but with 9 months of support instead of 18 months as it has been up to now...
A month or so ago I was asked to help advise on a project another IT dept in our organization was working on. They've got a 15-year-old in-house VB6+Access monstrosity that serves as a core application for about 3-4 departments; it utterly fails to run (and locks up the whole networked application) on Windows 7. Now that the tech staff have finally convinced mgmt that they can't run XP forever, they're faced with replacing it. Replacing it either means spending over half a million dollars (this is what a development shop quoted them) or spending an estimated 2+ years developing a new version in-house.
Guess who'll probably still be running XP in 2015?