reflecting on first UDS session on "rolling releases"

Allison Randal allison at
Thu Mar 7 19:03:33 UTC 2013

On 03/07/2013 09:40 AM, Steve Magoun wrote:
> Some observations from the big-OEM perspective:
> 1) The support lifecycle of the OS is important; an 18 month support
> lifecycle is too short for a product that may be manufactured for 3 years
> 2) Switching OSes in the factory is expensive and large OEMs like to do it
> infrequently
> 3) Stability is critical and the quality standards are high. Functionality
> like suspend/resume has to be rock-solid. To date, even the LTS releases
> need tweaks before they're stable enough to be delivered to OEMs.
> From that point of view, standardizing on the LTS releases is a clear win,
> and large OEMs are already pretty well insulated from the interim releases -
> we treat the interim releases as a series of technology previews.

Do you have a sense of what handset manufacturers will need, just in
general terms? I know that phones/tablets were mentioned as a motivation
for rolling releases. But, I haven't heard any mention so far of things
like the FCC approval process. The certification requirements on what
can be shipped as a phone are very, very different than those for
laptops/desktops. It seems likely that the OEMs for phones will also
prefer, or even be required by law, to stick to LTS + tightly controlled
updates to a few specific packages.

> That said, I recognize that other OEMs like System76 and ZaReason have
> different goals and constraints than the big OEMs. I find that refreshing
> and exciting, and I hope they continue to prosper as part of Ubuntu's
> growing ecosystem.

Meeting their needs is a core requirement in the choice between
alternate futures.


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