Proposal for additional QA and localisation time on Dapper

Mark Shuttleworth mark at
Fri Mar 10 20:23:31 GMT 2006

Hi all

I'm writing to propose a six week delay in the release date of Dapper,
in order to do additional validation, certification, localisation, and
polish. I would like to call for a community "town hall" meeting on
Tuesday 14th March - once at 09:00 UTC (for the Aussies and Asian
communities) and then again at 18:00 UTC (for Europe and the Americas).
The meetings will be in #ubuntu-meeting on Based on
feedback at those meetings, we will ask the Tech Board and the Community
Council to take a view on the proposal, and announce the decision by the
end of the week.

Work towards our feature goals for Dapper is very much on target:

Having good tools to track our evolution has made Dapper our
best-managed release so far. We have deferred very few goals since our
Montreal planning summit, and have been able to land some unexpected but
very nice extra features.  The new installer is looking good, so we
could in fact make our target date of April 20 if we decide that is the
most important thing.

We have a very good track record of meeting our six monthly release
dates, and that reputation is not something I want to compromise.

However, in some senses Dapper is a "first" for us, in that it is the
first "enterprise quality" release of Ubuntu, for which we plan to offer
support for a very long time. I, and others, would very much like Dapper
to stand proud amongst the traditional enterprise linux releases from
Red Hat, Debian and SUSE as an equal match on quality, support and
presentation. We would like Ubuntu Dapper to be a release that companies
can deploy with confidence, which will be the focus of certification
work from ISV's and IHV's, and which will bring the benefits of Debian
to a whole new group of users.

That's certainly a new set of challenges, and I would like to give us a
few more weeks of work on Dapper in order to make absolutely sure that
we are, for a period at least (until Etch lands :-)), the very best
enterprise desktop and server release in the world.

I would like the Tech Board to determine, if we delay the final release,
what the optimal beta, release candidate and target final release dates
should be, based on the feedback that comes in during this discussion.

Here are the concrete things I think we can gain from a delay:

  1. Testing
  The Dapper user will likely be new to Linux, and working in a more
corporate environment than previous Ubuntu release adopters. They will
likely also be given Dapper to use, rather than choosing it for
themselves, as Dapper is deployed in larger-scale environments.
Additional testing time will shake out more bugs and give us a more
robust codebase to support.

  2. Certification
  There are a number of ISV's and IHV's who are in the process of
certifying Dapper as part of their solution, and the delay will give us
an opportunity to ensure that those are ready for the release. I am
happy to say that we are working towards LSB 3.0 certification of
Dapper, and the delay greatly reduces any risk of failure to achieve
that certification.

  3. Localisation
  After the Asia business tour I realised that we need to improve our
support for Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other Asian fonts,
translations, input methods and supporting tools. We are pulling
together a crack team to work on that next week, and I would like to
land their changes in Dapper. These countries are growing their adoption
of technology at a very high speed and it would be great to offer them a
compelling alternative to the traditional route of proprietary software.
I missed the importance of this in Montreal, I confess, and so did not
prioritise the work early on in our cycle. I would like to remedy that
now, rather than waiting two or three years for another enterprise-class
Ubuntu release.

  In addition, the extra time will help us ensure that all languages
have better translations available, for the installer and the whole
desktop environment. We have just done the import of Dapper into
Rosetta, so those of you with a talent for languages will appreciate the
extra time to add depth to your language packs.

  4. Polish
  You may have noticed this weeks theming and polish changes. No, we are
not newly sponsored by Orange :-). Of course, there is a lot still to be
done, and with some extra time I think Dapper can look beautiful for
Kubuntu, Ubuntu and Xubuntu users.

Speaking of Xubuntu,  there is a main inclusion report under discussion
to make Xubuntu part of main, and to publish ISO's of Xubuntu. The extra
time makes this a more reasonable proposition.

There are many groups that are working towards Dapper's release or
dependent on it in one way or another. For example, folks who are
writing books with planned release dates, or folks doing work on
derivative distributions and hardware that needs Dapper to be available.
I would like to hear from anyone who will be impacted by this potential
change to see if we can find a way that gives the best result for the
broad community. Please send me email, and join in on the meetings at
whichever time suits you best.

We would like to be able to announce 24x7 global technical support for
Dapper, both from Canonical and from the fantastic ecosystem of
companies that is growing up around Ubuntu. We would like to show that a
Debian-based distribution can deliver the same world class desktop punch
that you might traditionally expect from Novell or Red Hat. We will live
with Dapper for five years - so let's give it a few extra weeks now so
that it can be a real asset to the Ubuntu project for the full duration
of its lifespan.


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