Kubuntu LTS

Jonathan Jesse jjesse at gmail.com
Mon Dec 24 15:29:26 GMT 2007

On Dec 24, 2007 5:43 AM, Scott James Remnant <scott at ubuntu.com> wrote:

> Hi Luka,
> The Technical Board was not formally involved[0] in the decision whether
> or not to release Kubuntu 8.04 as an LTS.  "LTS" is a commercial support
> commitment provided by Canonical Ltd, who shoulder the financial and
> administrative burden of doing so; as such, it is entirely their
> decision as to whether or not they provide that support for a particular
> release.
> They make the decision on a purely commercial basis, determined by
> factors such as: the stability of the release in question; the
> supportability of the release; the commercial interest in the release,
> etc.
> Given that, and since the remainder are not technical in nature or
> resolving a technical dispute, the Technical Board cannot answer your
> questions.
> However since I was involved in the decision-making process at Canonical
> as part of my job as leader of the Ubuntu Desktop team, I will attempt
> to answer your questions as best I can.  The rest of this e-mail shall
> not be considered a reply from the Technical Board.
> Kubuntu 8.04 comes at a difficult time in the KDE release cycle, it
> arrives just after the dawn of a major new release of the platform which
> is a very significant new amount of work.  This is a new platform that
> is receiving a significant amount of attention, both from its developers
> and from its users.
> Questions that were asked:
> Will KDE 4 be stable enough to support for the term of the release?
>  I've not seen anybody who believes that this would be the case; a
> long-term supported release would have to be based on the stable KDE 3.5
> series.  This gives us the second question:
> Will a bug in KDE 3.5 receive upstream attention in March 2011?
>  In order for Canonical to make a commercial commitment to their
> customers, who have signed contracts and terms of service with them,
> they need to be sure that they can honour the terms of their agreements.
>  The KDE upstream position appears clear, KDE 4 is the focus of
> developer attention; KDE 3.5 will be supported as long as KDE 4 isn't
> suitable for support.
>  Given the attention being paid to KDE 4, it is difficult to believe
> that this will not be the preferred release in three years time.  Thus
> it is difficult to guarantee that upstream will still support the
> current stable series for the timescale required.
> Is the development community able to sufficiently test the new release?
>  Again, in order for the commercial commitment to be made, Canonical
> has to believe that the development community (which includes its own
> staff) are able to provide sufficient testing of both the new release
> and upgrades between older releases and the newer one.
>  This judgement is both based on the number of active testers for the
> previous release according to the ISO test tracker, and the relative
> popularity of the available packages/seeds.
>  The number of Kubuntu developers testing releases and recording their
> results is right now at an all-time low, this makes it difficult to
> guarantee sufficient test coverage of installs and most importantly
> upgrades.
>  Likewise the current download interest is entirely directed towards
> KDE 4 packages and CD images.
> I hope that provides some insight as to how this decision was made,
> expanding on the statements that Jonathan made in his announcement.
> As to your questions about the timing, method and discussion for the
> decision:
> The community's input was actually sought on several points, and many
> members of the Kubuntu community provided answers and insight that
> contributed to the decision.  It is difficult for this decision to be
> made by the community because the community's stake in Kubuntu is one of
> personal achievement and pride, whereas Canonical's is financial and of
> commercial commitments.  Had Canonical simply asked the community
> "should Kubuntu 8.04 be an LTS?", the answer would not be based on the
> same terms: instead more direct questions were asked such as "how long
> will upstream work on KDE 3.5?"
> The timing of the decision was simply based on when it was clear from
> the KDE release schedule that it was inevitable that KDE 4 would be
> released before Kubuntu 8.04.  Since the KDE upstream release schedule
> is not in alignment with Ubuntu's own, it is difficult to align such
> decisions to it.
> As to the unclear reasoning behind the decision, there is insufficient
> argument in your e-mail to answer that since you don't discuss where you
> feel the communication is unclear.  The announcement states that the
> reason is that KDE 4 will be released before Kubuntu 8.04, that it is
> the focus of user and developer attention, and that this upheaval is
> contrary to Canonical's requirements for an LTS.  This is the reasoning.
> Your other questions only have answers in further questions:
> Kubuntu will be suitable for an LTS when the KDE packages it contains
> are expected to be stable, maintained and supported for three years
> afterwards.  (This could be considered LTS requirement zero; 6.06 came
> at a perfect time, it is hopeful that KDE 3.5 will at least have some
> remaining support and maintenance for the next 18 months while it
> remains supported.)
> No claim or commitment has been made to how LTS upgrades will work; the
> intent is that one LTS is directly upgradable to the next, however this
> requires extensive testing on behalf of the development community.
> I cannot answer KDE 3.5 to KDE 4.x upgrade questions, those are
> technical.
> Scott
> [0] notwithstanding some of its members being involved as part of their
>    job at Canonical
> --
> Scott James Remnant
> scott at ubuntu.com
> --
> kubuntu-devel mailing list
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Thanks for the great response.  I think what got lost in the message was the
difference between the Technical Board and Canonical in this decision making
process. Thanks for the great email.

And now make it message 31 for deletion.

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