I recently performed a "do-release-upgrade" on one of my company's development machines to go from 11.04 Ubuntu Server to 11.10. The process actually downgraded a custom PHP installation and I had a heck of a time getting the dependencies right to recompile to the newer version. That said, I'm a little hesitant to perform the upgrade on our production machine. I then got to thinking, I want to keep up to date on software updates and security fixes, but do I really need to upgrade Ubuntu releases?
Wikipedia roughly describes a Linux Distribution as a certain kernel combined with a set of software packages. Now, if I run apt-get to manually do software and kernel updates (of which I can choose what to upgrade and what not to upgrade), how is it really any different? Only thing I can think of is that if new packages were added as part of a new version, I wouldn't get those by default. If I need them though, I can add them myself. Am I missing anything vital?
This also relates to a similar question I've had as to if there is any real advantage with using an LTS release. If a software package has an upgrade, how can you be stopped from upgrading to it? Thanks.