reflecting on first UDS session on "rolling releases"

Bryce Harrington bryce at
Wed Mar 6 15:45:53 UTC 2013

On Wed, Mar 06, 2013 at 02:19:52PM +0000, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Michael Hall wrote on 06/03/13 00:41:
> > 
> > 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:
> >> 
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> 
> 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.
> This was the argument System76's Carl Richell gave against two-yearly
> releases: "I don't think Windows or OS X or Chrome OS are going to
> release in such a long time. And I'd also look at 11.04, for instance.
> If we installed 11.04 on our computers, and used it for a week, is
> that how we would want Ubuntu represented commercially? Because that
> would be the result of a two-year release cycle."
> <>
> I don't understand the first part of that argument. Windows 7 and 8
> were, actually, both released two years after the previous version. OS
> X had 18-to-24-month releases for over a decade, switching to yearly
> releases only with 10.7 and 10.8. And Chrome OS has little UI or APIs
> of its own, so (I assume) it has less difficulty in keeping "stable"
> in any sense of the word.

He means not just the core OS but also the application ecosystem.  In
Windows the OS release is just the core OS, and then users manually
install newer versions of whatever applications they want.

(I would argue that any software project that has their act together
will have .debs for the LTS downloadable from their web site or a PPA,
or even via -backports, so in practice this isn't that different.
However, I believe that was the distinction he was drawing.)

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