[rfc] six-month stable release cycles

Michael Homer michael at e.geek.nz
Fri Jul 31 03:14:04 BST 2009

On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 1:36 PM, Martin Pool<mbp at canonical.com> wrote:
> 2009/7/30 Matthew D. Fuller <fullermd at over-yonder.net>:
>> On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 04:39:49PM +1000 I heard the voice of
>> Martin Pool, and lo! it spake thus:
>>> The Proposal
>>> ************
>> Speaking as the maintainer of the FreeBSD port (and just to be sure at
>> least someone isn't wholly in favor), this makes things a bit muddier.
>> 1) Package the biyearly releases.  This is an easy choice to make in a
>>   mature product, but in something still relatively young (and still
>>   making significant regular strides), that's kinda icky.  I mean, if
>>   I wanted to always run outdated versions of everything, I could
>>   just use Debian   ;)
>> 2) Package the monthlies.  This yields, in effect, exactly the
>>   existing situation, but will be harder for me to swallow and harder
>>   if necessary to justify, since now it'll practically always be
>>   called 'some.thing beta'.  Icky.
>> 3) Deal with two ports, using the existing for either the stable or
>>   monthlies, and creating a bazaar-ng-devel or bazaar-ng-stable port
>>   for the other.  Liable to get me lynched by people concerned over
>>   our dwindling supply of hyphens.  Does potentially ugly things to
>>   dependancies of depending ports.  And, well, icky.
>> 4) Resign maintainership, hop a flight to Tijuana, and forget
>>   computers exist.  Not so icky, but my email would get pretty backed
>>   up after a while...
> RIght, I think those are basically the choices you have.  Given that
> it's still possible to do #2, you are in a sense no worse off except
> that:
>  * some plugins may become less stable, if it turns out that plugin
> authors focus mostly on the stable releases
>  * you may as you say get flack that it's almost always a beta.
>  * you need to think or talk about which one to do
I am in a similar position as a packager and have about the same
concerns. None of them is a good option. I really can't justify
shipping something labelled "beta" all the time, even when it's
exactly the same release that would have been around anyway, but at
the same time I also share Matthew's feelings about outdated versions.
It starts to feel a bit like mplayer, which has made nothing but
prereleases for years, to the point that they're just abusing the
notation. I would prefer at least that they had real version numbers
unless they're proper, actual betas.

In all other regards it seems like a reasonable idea, it's just a pain
from this perspective. It is less of a concern for Ubuntu with the
usual six-month gap than it is for a rolling-release distribution.

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