reflecting on first UDS session on "rolling releases"

Rodney Dawes rodney.dawes at
Wed Mar 6 14:59:14 UTC 2013

On Tue, 2013-03-05 at 17:06 -0800, Allison Randal wrote:
> On 03/05/2013 04:41 PM, Michael Hall wrote:
> > 
> > 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.
> It wasn't stated as "you might prefer the LTS, many OEMs do". It was
> stated as "you shouldn't deliver the rolling release to customers". And,
> really, that does seem to fit the discussion threads. It doesn't sound
> like it's possible to deliver a user experience in the rolling scenario
> that would be high-enough quality for System76 to ship directly to
> customers (and many of theirs are power users). Even people who are
> totally on board with "rolling releases" are still calling it the
> "development release".

I think the problem is the use of the word "release" for the rolling
It's not a release. It's a constantly changing archive, where we have
automated testing to try to prevent things breaking. Also, there is a
of Ubuntu's 6-monthly releases being perceived as stable, when they
necessarily. After LTS was introduced, they started becoming more of the
"shake things up a bit in between LTS" releases that we have now, and
generally stable as in "things mostly don't break" they have had some
large changes in them from the previous version.

OEMs wouldn't ship rawhide, Firefox nightlies, Windows beta, etc… to
users, so why would they do it with Ubuntu?

As far as what Ubuntu OEMs ship to users, System76 seems to be the
more than the rule.

If I were building hardware and shipping it with an OS on it, I'd ship
LTS and/or LTS point releases with HWE stack, rather than interim
and certainly not the rolling archive. With the rolling archive, they
ship hardware that works fine one day, and a kernel regression or
could slip in unnoticed, and then all their customers with that hardware
have a system that won't boot after installing updates the next day.
just a bad plan all around to go that route. I understand they want to
the new shiny, as early and often as possible, but I don't think it's a
feasible plan to do so. If there are certain things they think must get
to customers, then maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea for them to work more
the OEM team at Canonical to get things done, similar to how Dell and
OEMs do.

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