reflecting on first UDS session on "rolling releases"

Alex Chiang achiang at
Wed Mar 6 20:13:30 UTC 2013

* Allison Randal <allison at>:
> > On 06/03/2013 16:19, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:
> >> There are three parts to Rick's proposal:
> >> 1.  dropping non-LTS releases
> >> 2.  making the development version a "rolling release" stable enough
> >>      for enthusiast use
> >> 3.  introducing monthly snapshots.
> Also remember that, as the idea currently stands, the tiny set of
> "enthusiasts" are the only people who will get updated versions of
> applications. The majority of users will have a stale experience, and no
> reasonable alternative.

The stale experience comes because our apps are tightly tied to
our platform, delivered in one entity we call a "distro".

It is clear (to me) that the combined capacity of Canonical +
Ubuntu developers is hitting a ceiling in our ability to scale
distro development.

Combine that with Canonical's pivot (or expansion, however you
prefer) into the mobile industry where system/platform
requirements are quite different from traditional desktop and we
are seeing our existing development processes strained to
breaking point.

Proposals like moving to a rolling release are an attempt to
evolve our existing processes to new realities and requirements,
but I think we need to go one step farther and question why we
are so tied to our distro model, where apps and platform are
tightly bound.

I agree the distro model was good and necessary before Linux (and
Ubuntu) were popular platforms. In those days, we needed distro
developers to bring apps to the platform to entice users.

My claim is that we've since solved the chicken and egg problem.
We *have* an enticing platform that attracts app developers from
weekend hobbyists to giants like Valve.

Let's spend our time improving plumbing like making app backports
to the stable platform easy or enabling system updates on an
embedded device in a sane manner or maintaining library APIs
across stable releases.

Let's figure out how to decouple and disentangle our apps from
our platform. 

Let's stop trying to have (and do) it all.

We have built it. They are here. What now?


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