reflecting on first UDS session on "rolling releases"

Scott Kitterman ubuntu at
Wed Mar 6 15:05:06 UTC 2013

On Wednesday, March 06, 2013 09:59:14 AM Rodney Dawes wrote:
> 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
> archive.
> It's not a release. It's a constantly changing archive, where we have
> some
> automated testing to try to prevent things breaking. Also, there is a
> history
> of Ubuntu's 6-monthly releases being perceived as stable, when they
> weren't
> 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
> while
> generally stable as in "things mostly don't break" they have had some
> rather
> large changes in them from the previous version.
> OEMs wouldn't ship rawhide, Firefox nightlies, Windows beta, etc… to
> their
> users, so why would they do it with Ubuntu?
> As far as what Ubuntu OEMs ship to users, System76 seems to be the
> exception
> more than the rule.
> If I were building hardware and shipping it with an OS on it, I'd ship
> the
> LTS and/or LTS point releases with HWE stack, rather than interim
> releases,
> and certainly not the rolling archive. With the rolling archive, they
> could
> ship hardware that works fine one day, and a kernel regression or
> something
> could slip in unnoticed, and then all their customers with that hardware
> might
> have a system that won't boot after installing updates the next day.
> It's
> just a bad plan all around to go that route. I understand they want to
> ship
> 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
> shipped
> to customers, then maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea for them to work more
> with
> the OEM team at Canonical to get things done, similar to how Dell and
> other
> OEMs do.

I'm sure it wouldn't be a bad idea for Canonical to have a new customer for 
OEM services.

I just checked and ZaReason (who also doesn't pay Canonical OEM services) 
offers both Ubuntu 12.04 and 12.10.  They also offer Kubuntu and Edubuntu 12.04.  

I don't know how many companies are shipping Ubuntu flavors based off of the 
public distribution, but of the two I know of, both offer the current release.

Scott K

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