reflecting on first UDS session on "rolling releases"

Scott Kitterman ubuntu at
Wed Mar 6 01:01:50 UTC 2013

On Tuesday, March 05, 2013 07:41:23 PM Michael Hall wrote:
> On 03/05/2013 06:49 PM, Allison Randal wrote:
> > There were a few things that concerned me in today's session on cadence
> > of rolling releases:
> > 
> >
> > ease/
> > 
> > But, the biggest was at the very end when System76 said that two years
> > is too long between releases for their customers, but that they were
> > willing to at least *try* the new rolling releases. The reply was that
> > the rolling releases weren't expected to be stable enough to deliver to
> > customers. This surprised me, since "stability" is exactly the purpose
> > of rolling releases.
> > 
> > If the "rolling releases" really aren't intended for end-users, then we
> > should just drop the fiction, say the change is from a 6-month cadence
> > to a 2-year cadence, and be done with it.
> > 
> > Yes, it has all the problems we've come to know-and-hate with stale
> > applications. So, either allow SRU exceptions for more applications like
> > we do for Firefox, or start really supporting Backports for the LTS.
> > 
> > It's a waste of everyone's time and effort to rework the whole project
> > around talk of "rolling releases" when it's really just the same old
> > development release on a slower schedule. (Remember how we used to call
> > monthly images alphas and betas? That was ages ago, like 4 whole months.)
> > 
> > Allison
> I think different segments of the community have different ideas of what
> "stable" means:
> Distro devs & power users: "stable" == "things don't break"
> App devs, OEMS, NTEU: "stable" == "things don't change"
> I think what we're going for in a rolling release is a release where
> things change, but don't break.  While an LTS release is one where
> things neither change nor break.

Things are going to break.  I think the goal is for the development release 
(AKA rolling) to be stable enough that breakage is rare and not beyond the 
ability of advanced users to recover their systems.  I don't think it's a 
release in any normal sense of the word.

We also break things in stable releases sometimes too, but we attempt to 
provide a very low risk of this and a no regressions policy that causes any 
regressions post-release to be a very high priority to address.

Both are going to change, it's a matter of what kinds of change are 
appropriate to be applied with what level of risk.

Scott K

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