Let's Discuss Interim Releases (and a Rolling Release)

Bhavani Shankar R bhavi at ubuntu.com
Fri Mar 1 14:19:15 UTC 2013

On Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 6:42 PM, Stefano Rivera <stefanor at ubuntu.com> wrote:
> Hi Florian (2013.03.01_14:06:37_+0200)
>> > That means users could choose:
>> >  * The LTS release
>> >  * The rolling release updated daily or as frequently as desired
>> >  * The rolling release updated at least monthly
>> Neither of those choices fits my needs. I want new versions more
>> often than every 2 years, but I can't affort the time of monthly
>> upgrades.
> And we have to ask the question of what advantage Ubuntu is providing
> over Debian, without 6-monthly releases.
> Ubuntu has a few packages Debian doesn't. Including a desktop
> environment that people seem to complain about a lot.
> Of course, it would also be nice to see most of those in Debian
> eventually. Ubuntu would benefit from that too.
> After that, you're left with commercial support and certified hardware.
> Commercial support is of course available for other distros too, and the
> hardware certification work will benefit other distros eventually, as
> the changes go upstream.
> Most developers want to be developing on the latest libraries.
> Essentially, developing on their target. For open source developers,
> that could mean the latest Gnome/KDE, but for everyone else probably
> wants a rock-solid desktop environment.

Again agreed on the above points.

> Dare I ask what happens when we approach the next LTS? Does the rolling
> release freeze? From our current plans, I'd guess so.
> Isn't that exactly what people who like rolling releases want to avoid?
> The "debian-testing is frozen" problem?

How about something like this, Since it has been going around that
there will be vUDS every three months, how about a freeze every 15
days before the UDS starts/RR gets pushed publicly to have a final
test on that particular RR update (though emphasis will be on daily
quality as far as I can understand from the discussion happening) and
have a freeze period of say around 2 months when the LTS is about to
get released for a more extensive testing scenario,  (with focus being
on the LTS release at that point rather than a RR update) which
effectively makes way for stable freeze rather than an unstable pocket
freeze. And in the case of an RR update also even if the pocket
freezes for some duration of time, we can always have a
proposed/experimental pocket open for development.

Just adding some weight on here.

> I have a hard time seeing huge benefits for our users, from a rolling
> release. I only see the benefits for developers like us, and a reduction
> in stable-support manpower.

I'm divided here. from the desktop point of view I agree that there
could not be some sizeable benefits, but from a server admin point of
view (which is actually what I do to earn my bread) we would always
like LTS releases because we would like our production environment to
be stable enough and less risky and updates coming in (every month
preferably) to keep our systems upto date and switching to a rolling
release with emphasis on quality would provide just that I believe.

Please correct me if I have gotten the scenario and any expectations wrong here.


Bhavani Shankar
Ubuntu Developer       |  www.ubuntu.com

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