Staying on GTK/GNOME 3.8 next cycle/for the LTS?

Tim darkxst at
Tue Oct 1 23:45:53 UTC 2013

On 02/10/13 03:45, Sebastien Bacher wrote:
> Hey everyone,
> I know this cycle is not finished yet, but in case some of us start thinking about next cycle, I wanted to start a discussion on the GNOME
> version to use for the lts.
> I think we should stick with GNOME 3.8 another cycle, here are the reasons why:
> - we (Ubuntu Desktop) are currently mostly happy with what we have
> - the focus for the Ubuntu Desktop team is likely to continue to be Ubuntu Touch/phone next cycle
> - due to the previous factor, we are going to be limited in resources to do desktop work
> - it's a LTS cycle, we should focus on bugs fixing if possible
> - GTK 3.10 deprecates several options, it would be good to stay away from those controverses for the LTS
> (see as an example of what is going to happen once we deprecate those options)
> - it seems like the next RedHat enterprise edition is going to be based on GNOME 3.8, if that's the case it would make sense for us to focus
> on bringing quality to the same version/share the maintainance work a bit
Right, from a support point of view it makes perfect sense to stick with 3.8, especially if there will be long term upstream support of the 3.8
branch, although I havent been able to confirm this, other than the obvious fact that RedHat will support it for their customers atleast.
> What do other things? I guess the Ubuntu GNOME Remix is going to want newer version, we should try to accomodate that need if we can. One way
> would be to do the "fork" of gnome-control-center we have been talking about for a while. Blocking GTK to 3.8 is likely to make hard to update
> GNOME components anyway, if we decide to go this way...
We have many users that want the latest and greatest GNOME, however we also do get quite a few requests for a stable LTS version. GNOME
development is heavily focused on gnome-shell and the GNOME apps right now, so while 3.10 brings lots of new features and improvents for Ubuntu
GNOME users, and I suspect most of our users are expecting 3.10 to come in next release. From an Ubuntu perspective I guess its really just a
huge number of bug fixes.

I guess we would settle for a 3.8 base, with select packages that are outside whats used in standard Ubuntu updated to 3.10, however blocking
GTK at 3.8 makes this largely impossible.

Either way some concerns I have
- Ubuntu will keep holding back on GNOME updates until QML/Touch stack is ready and then just dump it, making it really hard for us to catch up
again. Transitioning from 3.8 -> 3.12 would likely be a big nightmare, also if we end up with a 2 cycle divergance, mixing packages from
different releases will become much harder than it already is.

- We will most likely need to transition ubuntu GNOME to wayland at some point, however we can't really even start on that in an experimental
capacity until 3.10 is in the archives.

- There are a number of major bugs we have on the PPA's that are really outside of our scope to fix, but as long as they are PPA only packages,
no one cares to help fixing them. Things like the Software Center crash with updated Webkit plus a few new issues introduced with 3.10 such as
unity custom menus in GTK and the DisplayConfig needing to be implemented in Unity.

- Its really unlikely that we will be able to track 3.12 on a 3.8 base, we mostly get away with 3.10 since some of the core libraries in Saucy
did get updated to 3.10 versions, however there are packages we simply can't package on the PPA's such as glib, gvfs, cogl/clutter etc due the
massive list of rdepends. Right now we have had to revert a huge number of patches just to get gnome-shell 3.10 running on Saucy.

- If the PPA's end up a cycle behind and there is complete lack of wayland support, we will likely start loosing users to Fedora etc.

> What do others think?
> Cheers,
> Sebastien Bacher

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