Avoiding fragmentation with a rolling release

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at canonical.com
Sun Mar 3 14:18:18 UTC 2013

Hash: SHA1

Michael Hall wrote on 01/03/13 16:21:
> On 03/01/2013 12:34 AM, Martin Pitt wrote:
>> Michael Hall [2013-02-28 22:04 -0500]:
> ...
>>> Personally I don't think "target only LTS releases" is going to
>>> be acceptable to most ISVs, especially those writing consumer
>>> "apps", where you can go from nobody to the most downloaded and
>>> back to nobody in the span of 2 years (think of the rapid rise
>>> and fall of games like Words with Friends, or Draw Something).
>> How is that related to the platform they target? If anything, it 
>> seems to me that targetting LTS only is going to make things
>> easier for this kind of "ephemeral app" use case, as it
>> significantly reduces the required maintenance and porting of
>> those?

Exactly. The minimum OS requirement for even the latest version of
Words With Friends is a two-year-old version of iOS (4.3), or a
*three*-year-old version of Android (2.1). And similar for Draw
Something (4.3 and 2.2).

One can only conclude that if Zynga ported their games to Ubuntu,
they'd be quite happy with 90%+ of users using a nearly-two-year-old

> It depends on who is using the LTS and who is using the rolling 
> release. If a significant number of our users are on the rolling 
> release, or if an important demographic (say, technology leaders,
> or people willing to pay for the latest and greatest) are on the
> rolling release, then ISVs are going to want to target that.
> ...

That is impractical for several reasons. Ubuntu developers don't
control most of Ubuntu's APIs. Even for those we do, maintaining (or,
in some cases, reimplementing) old APIs alongside new ones would
multiply Ubuntu developer effort. And as you know, we barely even have
time to document the APIs in stable releases now,
<http://developer.ubuntu.com/?s=animation> let alone being able to say
"use this API if targeting the rolling release from October 4th to
February 21st, and this other API for later dailies".

So to provide a stable target for ISVs, it is vital that end users
stick to the LTS.

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